8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Canadians Present?
The Longest Day was a great epic film, but it's hard to believe that no Canadians of influence in Hollywood at the time could have leveraged a small part of the film to depict Canada's contribution on D-Day. Someone should take the film now and insert a Canadian segment using CGI or whatever they did a few years ago to creat those commercials with John Wayne or Bogart in...
Published on June 8 2008 by Cap
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Canada's Participation Almost Completely Ignored
Yes, this is one of the finest war movies ever made. However, I have to shake my head at those who talk of the film's accuracy when the Canadian participation is almost completely ignored. Virtually no mention is made of Juno beach. The film certainly doesn't mention that Juno was the second bloodiest Normandy beach, behind only Omaha. In spite of that, the Canadians...
Published on July 23 2003 by Allan W. Goodall
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Canada's Participation Almost Completely Ignored,
Yes, this is one of the finest war movies ever made. However, I have to shake my head at those who talk of the film's accuracy when the Canadian participation is almost completely ignored. Virtually no mention is made of Juno beach. The film certainly doesn't mention that Juno was the second bloodiest Normandy beach, behind only Omaha. In spite of that, the Canadians succeeded at their objectives better than any of the other participants in the landings. Stephen Ambrose dedicates a chapter of his book _D-Day_ to the Canadians. Surely this film could have at least _mentioned_ them.
A complete view of D-Day, showing participation by all forces, is long overdue. This film comes close, but it is still short of the mark.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Canadians Present?,
This review is from: The Longest Day (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (DVD)
The Longest Day was a great epic film, but it's hard to believe that no Canadians of influence in Hollywood at the time could have leveraged a small part of the film to depict Canada's contribution on D-Day. Someone should take the film now and insert a Canadian segment using CGI or whatever they did a few years ago to creat those commercials with John Wayne or Bogart in them. Strictly for the Canadian market of course. Wouldn't want to offend American sensibilities.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the D-Day invasion of Europe, June 6, 1944,
The first time I saw "The Longest Day" in a movie theater they got a couple of the reels mixed up. The only way I knew this was that every time a major figure shows up in the film we are told their name, rank and unit. This mistake did not hurt the film all that much because this sprawling story of the D-Day invasion sixty years ago today was so huge and complex that it had four directors: Ken Annakin (British scenes), Andrew Marton (American scenes) Bernhard Wicki (German scenes), and the uncredited Darryl F. Zanuck. Granted, the realism of the opening scenes of "Saving Private Ryan" make the storming of Omaha Beach in this 1962 film look like a walk on the beach in comparison, but "The Longest Day" remains along with "Battleground" one of the most realistic portrayals of what it was like for the infantry in World War II from what we will know have to call the old school Hollywood and which ended with "A Bridge Too Far" in 1977.
Based on Cornelius Ryan's celebrated book of the same title, "The Longest Day" is almost three hours long and has one of the largest all star casts every assembled (42 international stars according to the poster), albeit with big names like John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchem, Richard Burton, and Rod Steiger playing supporting roles because, to tell the truth, there is nothing else to play in this film. If you are telling the story of D-Day, no single figure is going to emerge as the star, which is the point (Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, played by an uncredited Henry Grace, has one scene). Sean Connery was about to become famous as James Bond in "Dr. No," and familiar faces include Red Buttons, Curt Jürgens, Edmond O'Brien, Kenneth More, Robert Ryan, Robert Wagner, Eddie Albert, Roddy McDowell, Peter Lawford, George Segal, Gert Fröbe, and Jeffrey Hunter. The idea of throwing in teen idols like Paul Anka, Fabian, Sal Mineo and Tommy Sands makes sense because a generation earlier they would have been storming the beaches of Normandy. However, you might have a hard time picking up the likes of Richard Dawson and Bernard Fox in the crowd. Several minor players in the film were involved in D-Day, and the piper playing as Lord Lovat's commandos storm ashore is the man himself, Bill Millin. The key thing is that the story being told is so big that it gobbles up all the stars.
The film shows events on both sides of the English Channel both before and during D-Day. On the side of the Allies there is the bad weather, troops tired from being on constant alert for several days, and the sheer size and importance of what is about to happen. Meanwhile the Germans are confident the Allies will attack at Calais and certainly wait for better weather, which explains why the key commanders are away from the front. One of the strengths of this film is that it also tells the story from the German's side. Not only do we get necessary exposition and explication concerning German troop movements before and during June 6, 1944, but there is also the human element of Maj. Werner Pluskat (Hans Christian Blech), the guy sitting on the Atlantic Wall who looks out one morning and suddenly sees the Allied invasion fleet when the fog lifts and we hear the "da da da daaah" of Beethoven's 5th (it is also Morse Code for "V," used to denote "Victory" by the Allies). It is Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (Werner Hinz) himself who calls the coming battle "the longest day." There are also the efforts of the French Resistance ("Wounds my heart with a monotonous languor") and French troops in helping to free their own country as well as the British efforts, so this is not just the Americans versus the Germans.
There are several sequences that stand out, most notably the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne landing directly into Ste. Mère-Eglise and being butchered by German troops. The shots of a a terrified and helpless Red Buttons stuck on a church steeple are probably the most memorable in the film, as is the reaction of John Wayne's colonel when he sees the carnage and orders the bodies be cut down. The assault on the cliffs at Omaha also stands out, with Mitchem sending a series of men off to their deaths trying to blow a hole open to get the troops off the beach. Again, there is not the bloody carnage of Spielerg's "Saving Private Ryan," but the scene still retains an emotional power even by contemporary war movie standards.
"The Longest Day" was the most expensive black & white film ever made until "Schindler's List" in 1993 and in both instances not using color works; after all, our "memory" of World War II is based on black & white images. The DVD has some solid extras, with "Hollywood Backstory: The Longest Day" providing a 25-minute documentary on the making of the film, focusing primarily on Zanuck and a 50-minute documentary on "D-Day Revisited," while offers the rather strange sight of Zanuck telling strangers about D-Day and providing historical commentary mixed with clips from the film. In addition to the trailer for "The Longest Day" you get those for "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (certainly a comparable film), "Patton," and "The Thin Red Line."
Certainly "The Longest Day" is one of the best World War II films, even if now have to talk about it as representing the old school of that genre. At some point, given the success of "Saving Private Ryan" and the early chapters of "Band of Brothers," I would expect that someone is going to again try and do the macro view of D-Day. But clearly the next time around it is going to take a mini-series or limited series format to come up with something grander than this 1962 film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional,
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This review is from: The Longest Day (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (DVD)
So many stars in this movie made it fun to watch, it explained different sections of the American conflict for D-day, the only thing I wish was that it had more British and other Allies info , but riveting to watch
5.0 out of 5 stars Longest Day & Pvt. Ryan both accomplish goals!!,
Just a quick note here in responce to the "spotlight review" by sixtiesuniverse.
In correctly praising The Longest Day, you saw fit to critize Spielbergs Pvt.Ryan. I find the claim that Ryan lacked substance almost laughable,and that TLD was loaded with substance not very accurate.
First, we really shouldnt compare these two films as they are very different, not only in the technology but in their messages and goals. Yes some of both seep over to the other, but not for a fair comparison.
TLD was not as much a movie of deep substance as it was a grand reinactment of a very historical battle. Zanuck decided to tell the whole story of D-Day in much the same manner as Cornileus Ryan had written the history. This he did brilliantly, and the film to this day is a marvel to watch and a great national history lesson.
SPR on the other hand was about the very personnal sacrifice, and answer to the call made by the young men who hit those beaches and jumped into that night sky. Yes, Spielberg had great EFX, and used them well in the harrowing opening of the film, as well as all the other battle scenes. But the fact that there was rarely a dry eye in the theatre at the end, tells me his emotional goals were met, and we got a little better understanding of the sacrifice.
Brilliant....this word applies to both of these great achievments in film making and in departing history to those of us not old enough to remember.
5.0 out of 5 stars "This will be the longest day....",
D-Day, June 6, 1944, indeed turned out to be a long day for many soldiers from many nations as the Allies landed on the beaches at Normandy. The scope of the invasion was incredible: 5,000 ships of all sizes (ranging from battleships to landing craft), 200,000 assault troops from 4 Allied countries, 11,000 planes, 13,000 paratroopers, and as Brig. Gen. Norman Cota (Robert Mitchum) says early on in this very expensive film, "God knows how many gliders," participated in history's greatest amphibious operation.
Darryl F. Zanuck's The Longest Day, based on the book by Cornelius Ryan (who wrote the screenplay), takes its title from a quote by German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (Werner Hinz), "Believe me, gentlemen, the first 24 hours of the invasion will be decisive. For the Allies as well as the Germans, it will be the longest day...". It has a huge cast, including 48 major stars from four different countries, and until Steven Spielberg's 1993 Schindler's List, it was the most expensive black and white movie ever made at a cost of $8,000,000 (in 1962 dollars). Additionally, 23,000 soldiers from three NATO countries were used as extras for the huge battle scenes.
The Longest Day covers the events of June 5-6, 1944 as the Germans and Allies prepare for the long awaited invasion of France. We see the Germans desperately fortifying the northern coast of France with mines, obstacles, pillboxes, and lots of barbed wire to prevent any Allied soldiers from setting foot on the beaches. They also intercept the coded messages from Britain to the French underground that will alert the Resistance that the invasion is 24 hours away. However, they don't know where the landings will take place; their logic tells them that the Allies will attack at the Pas de Calais, the closest point between England and the Continent.
Little do they know that even as Rommel heads back to Germany to spend leave with his wife and son (June 6 was Frau Rommel's birthday), thousands of British and American paratroopers, including Lt. Col. Benjamin Vandervoort (John Wayne) are preparing for a risky night drop to secure the flanks of the five beach invasion area. The invasion has already been postponed once and the weather is looking pretty gloomy. But fortune smiles on Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (Henry Grace) and conditions improve just enough to allow Ike to say, "I don't like it, but there it is. I don't see how we can do anything else but....Go."
At this point The Longest Day really gets going, switching narrative gear from talky buildup and exposition to the more action-oriented (yet still talky at times) recreation of the events of June 6 (the capture of the Orne River bridge, the scattered airdrops of the American paratroopers, the desperate struggle for Omaha Beach).
The Longest Day features one of the biggest all-star casts assembled for one film, including Eddie Albert, Paul Anka, Richard Beymer, Bourvil, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda (as Brig. Gen. Teddy Roosevelt, Jr, who, upon seeing that the U.S. 4th Infantry Division is landing on the wrong part of Utah Beach, says, "We'll start the war from right here."), Gert Frobe, Curt Jurgens, Roddy McDowall, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, George Segal, Rod Steiger, Richard Todd (who had actually fought on the Orne River bridge on D-Day), and John Wayne, who not only got a separate credit but also was paid more than his fellow actors.
Although its battle scenes, particularly the airborne drop and the seaborne landings, are somewhat dated and tame by today's standards, the movie still manages to convey to modern audiences the scale of the Normandy invasion (which, if we counted the follow-up divisions that were based in Britain, involved 3,000,000 troops in addition to the initial 200,000 assault troops). The use of black and white -- which was still prevalent in 1962 -- not only kept costs from rivaling Cleopatra (which 20th Century Fox was filming at the same time -- but allowed the three directors (Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, and Bernhard Wicki) to seamlessly blend footage shot in different French locales and stock documentary footage. And although D-Day veterans point out that Ryan and the other screenwriters (including novelist James Jones) made some gaffes (the soldiers didn't scramble off the landing craft and onto the beaches yelling like banshees; they were too seasick and tired), this is still one of the best war movies ever made.
5.0 out of 5 stars Spielberg may have better FX but this one's got substance,
This epic 1962 film about the D-Day invasion has got a lot to it. First the all star cast. Henry Fonda portrays Teddy Roosevelt's son, John Wayne as a Lt. Colonel, Richard Burton as a paratrooper, Robert Mitchum as a Brigadier General, and lesser roles from George Segal, Eddie Albert, Sean Connery, Edmunt O'Brien, Rod Steiger, Roddy McDowell, Robert Ryan, Sal Mineo, and many more. We get D-Day from the German's point of view (In German with subtitles) as well as the French, British, American, and even Irish (Connery's line "yeah, it takes an Irishman to play the pipes).
There's some good humor here as well as realism, even if you don't see much blood and gore. But though Saving Pvt. Ryan had more gore, it had much less substance and aside from the 25 minute beginning was less realistic than this. This one really sets the whole day of June 6th, 1944 in a way that you really feel the importance of it. The license they took with some of the facts doesn't detract from it's realization of one of the most important days in history. And this of course was one of the few wars where the US fought on the right side (though pre-war US corporate-Nazis ties are a whole other discussion).
The 3 hour film has a few scenes with Rommel (Werner Hinz)as well as the beautiful Irina Demick as a French resistance fighter. I didn't like Richard Beymer's (West Side Story) scene with the card game thing because it was just dumb...Getting rid of $2000 just for some superstition. And he spoke his lines overly dramatically, and when he has a scene with Richard Burton it's like Davy and Goliath in terms of acting. Watch for a bit part with Richard Dawson.
This film remains a great tribute to those who risked and gave their lives to save Europe.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Film,
By A Customer
"The Longest Day" seemed aptly appropriate, as it has become a classic cornerstone of epic film-making about the war, having done something never before accomplished in its time, namely attempting to render, in one film, the grand scale of that first day of the D-Day landings, June 6, 1942. the film suitably shows the preparations made before the landings, effectively building the story just before that famous day in history, and follows a tremendous cast of formidable actors as they portray critical characters in that fateful day's events. The implication of the film is obviously not to tell the tale of the whole war, or even to develop any one character, which is discussed further later. Rather, the film-makers seem to have intended to portray both the sheer magnitude of human achievement as well as loss associated with the invasion of Fortress Europe by the Allies in their attempt to wrest control of the continent from Germany and its Axis allies.
"The Longest Day" is unquestionably an historically accurate film about the events leading up to and including D-day. It includes vignette depictions of the Allied soldiers waiting to be deployed, after having been put on standby several times. It illustrates the day-to-day lives of the occupying Germans who did not expect the invasion. In fact, the landing of such a large force was considered unlikely and even impossible considering the weather at the time. The stories of the Glider Troops, Paratroop drops, the beach landings, and the actual land invasion itself all come together to weave this immense tale.
Something of great value about this film, essentially a macro view of that fateful day in 1942, is the film-maker's decision to present the plot from multiple perspectives. Wisely, these points of view include the Allies (mostly Americans, British, and the Free French), the Germans, and even a bit of the French Resistance. It effectively portrays the attitudes of the soldiers, commanders, and large groups like divisions and armies through the dialog and actions. The audience even gets to see some of the personal moments of that day. The story deftly follows several individual's exploits whose historical significance may or may not be great, but who are nevertheless part of the fabric of that momentous date. There is little character development, and rightly so, because it focuses on The Day and its events, which are, in essence, the main characters more so than the actors. However, the characters are still very intriguing, and deep due to the magnificent performances by an ensemble cast including, to name a few, John Wayne, Sean Connery, and Richard Burton.
This remarkable movie has amazingly large, almost panoramic, scenes. Shot with an eye and fell for the enormity of the moment, the director of photography created several scenes where the camera pans back to show an immense battlefield filled with thousands of extras. Given an bird's eye view of the struggle, the audience cannot help but be awed by the size of the engagements depicted. The sets are also notable because of the high quality and sheer volume of period artifacts, vehicles, uniforms and equipment. In all fairness, where Steven Spielberg expertly used computer generated graphics (CGI) and matte painting to stage the enormity of D-Day, "The Longest Day" employs literally employs a cast of thousands, and what appear to be thousands of acres of movie set. Simply put, some scenes are awesome and worthy or rewinding.
It is interesting to explore a social context of this film, and place it in perspective with its release date. Unlike modern war films, "The Longest Day" lacks gore and death. Some modern day critics have denounced this, and it may be wholly unjustified. If one considers that the film was made in 1962, a time when the typical audience was filled with people who not only knew what World War II was like, but may have been personally involved in it (the war had been over for only 15 years), the significance of this takes on a different meaning. If average World War II veterans were, let us say, approximately fifty years of age, their memories were still clear and most likely still impinged somehow by those memories. "The Longest Day" did not, nor did it really need to include the horrors of war to help sell it. On the contrary, if "The Longest Day" had the sort of gore associated with "Saving Private Ryan," the movie might not have sold, because the public would have thought it to be unnecessarily graphic. It is notable to recall that many modern audiences believed "Saving Private Ryan" to be overly graphic. In fact, it became a selling point for that film. If today's public, desensitized by not only the passage of time since the war's end, as well as the accustomed violence of modern films thought "Ryan" was too violent, "The Longest Day" would have been considered utterly distasteful in 1962 had it been filmed with the same sort of graphic depictions of carnage. While "The Longest Day" was not intended for children, there is no content that would be deemed objectionable for them to see, minus perhaps the situation to which the movie pertains.
It is noticeable that the Allies' story is favored. More of it is portrayed that that of the German side. This could be because there was more information available about the Allied operation, and because the film was meant for an American audience. It was gratifying to see people from both sides of the story being depicted as human, even when it is discovered that Hitler had just taken an untimely sedative, was resting, and was not to be disturbed, even as the invasion began!
Overall, "The Longest Day" is an inspiring film, which should be watched with the understanding of someone who might have lived through the war, even if it is imagined. Likewise, it should not be compared to modern movies, because the point trying to be made would be missed.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Film.,
By A Customer
"The Longest Day" is a historically accurate film about the events leading up to and including D-day. It includes the Ally soldiers waiting to be deployed after being put on standby several times, the Germans not expecting the landing of the large force, the glider and paratroop missions, the beach landings, and the land invasion. This film, like any present situation, only hints at what might happen later. The movie is told from multiple perspectives including the Allies (mostly Americans, British, and the Free French), Germans, and even a bit of the French Resistance. It effectively portrays the attitudes of the soldiers, commanders, and large groups like divisions and armies through the dialog and actions. There is little character development, and rightly so, because it focuses on the day and its events which are, in essence, the main characters more so than the actors. However, the characters are still very intriguing and deep due to the magnificent performances by an ensemble cast including, to name a few, John Wayne, Sean Connery, and Richard Burton. This incredible movie has amazingly large and almost panoramic scenes. In some scenes, the camera pans back to show the large battlefield and thousands of extras which help depict the size of the engagements. The sets are also notable because of the high quality and sheer volume of period artifacts.
This epic film, unlike modern war films, lacks gore and death because it was made in 1962 when people still knew what World War II was like. "The Longest Day" did not include, nor did it need to, the horrors of war to help sell it. ... If today's desensitized public thought "Saving Private Ryan" was graphic, it would surely have been insensitive to the public. While "The Longest Day" was not intended for children, there is no content that would be deemed objectionable for them to see, minus perhaps the situation to which the movie pertains.
There are a few awkward bits in the film. When some briefings are given, only one man responds to the commander's questions. In addition, the air cover on the beaches seemed limited. It is possible that there were only two German aircraft, but that seems unlikely. It is noticeable that the Allies' story is favored and more of it is portrayed that that of the German's. It could be because there is more information available about the Allied operation, but I postulate that it is because it was released to an American audience. ...BR> Overall, "The Longest Day" is an incredible film, which should be watched with the understanding of someone that lived through the war, even if it is imagined. Likewise, it should not be compared to modern movies because the point trying to be made would be missed.
3.0 out of 5 stars Longest Cameo Day,
The Longest Day was one of the most anticipated films ever when it was about to hit the theaters over forty years ago. A lot of people really love this film, and don't get me wrong, this isn't a terrible film, but I don't love it and I don't see what makes it so special. The Longest Day is a long movie, which is a given, but the movie is a one time watch. After seeing it for the first time, I know for a fact that I doubt that I shall want to see it again. Again, it's not because it's a bad movie, or I don't like historical war films, it's just that it does very little as far as entertainment value and progression of the characters.
I gave it three stars because it is historically accurate, it is pretty easy to follow (the battle of Normandy I mean), and it does use some live footage that helps enhance its realness. This earned it three stars, but there is more to a movie than just realness or accuracy. There are things like character development, or main characters at that. Also, there is something called a consistant storyline, something within the plot that tells of a story. These things lacking reduces the star count to three and no more.
Let's talk about the missing consistancy in the story. Now, what is a consistant story? It's a story that has a beginning and an end, a conclusion. There is no one single consistant story in this film. The movie is about the Landing at Normandy, but it has a bunch of scenarios that kinda pop up during the film. These are the storylines, but they aren't consistant. For example, within the first hour of the film the story of the French Underground prior to the Landing is told. But it goes for say 20-30 minutes and then it just quits. The film doesn't go back to it, it just leaves it and its characters that they were shaping kinda out in the dark, forgotten about. This is a no no in story telling. You don't introduce characters, tell a story with them in it, but never go back to them. But rather just introduce new characters in new situations and scenarios. This isn't a consistant storyline, it's bouncing from one scenario to the next, shuffling characters and sub-plots around like some talent show.
Let's talk about the character development, or the characters in general. Most of the characters in the film are historically true. But like the storyline, it shuffles the characters in and out like a talent show. In fact this movie really is more talent show than movie. The reason why I say this is because this film has no real main character or even primary characters. Because it has so many scenarios, and different characters within those many scenarios, no character or characters emerge as a focal point.
However, this isn't a bad thing necessarily. Take a film like Tora! Tora! Tora! and this multi-scenario/lacking main character(s) chemistry works. But it doesn't work with the Longest Day. Why? Well in Tora! Tora! Tora! the cast consisted of nobodies. There really isn't an actor in that film that one would expect to take a leading role. In the Longest Day, there is an arm full of actors that you would expect to be the focal character. Not to mention, the characters and scenarios in Tora! Tora! Tora! didn't just vanish like they do in the Longest Day.
The Longest Day is not a film with an intent to tell an entertaining story, with characters you can follow. No, it is rather just a cameo movie. Think of it, would this film have the reputation, the prestige, the admiration if it didn't have an all-star cast? It is because it has an all star cast that people like this film, primarily. It's a cameo film. In this cameo film is where none of these "famous" actors really play a leading role, they just kinda poke their head into the film, supposedly play the role of a historical figure, and that's all there is to it. Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, these actors and more only have like 15 minutes in the film each. So it's quite clear that this is nothing more but an all-star, cameo movie. And because it lacks a consistant storyline, with consistant characters who last the whole film, the only way this film could get the admiration it desired was to plug in big names in small roles.
I see the Longest Day as more of a tribute film than a movie. It's intent was to round up big names and put them in historical roles, although minor roles mind you, and tell the story of June 6th, 1944 in a condensed form. And this isn't a bad thing, again, necessarily. It's a film worth seeing once, you'll learn something of the battle of Normandy. But with me, I like characters that last, I like a storyline that doesn't jump from scenario to scenario leaving sub-plots unfinished, untold. Not to mention, the ending of this film is for the pits. Apparently, they were spending too much money for these big name actors that they ran out of budget to end it right. The abrupt ending is just another black mark against this film. And it is indeed the Longest Cameo Film ever.
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The Longest Day (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) by John Wayne (DVD - 2006)