Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

DVD Review: The Longest Day

November 9, 2011

[Bill]

Film review: The Longest Day

Release date: 1962

In memory of the Living and of the Dead on Armistice Day

Last month I was shelving a DVD and it made me think that if you are of a certain age let us say 50 + years you will have almost certainly have seen this film. It is not a good film, but it is a great and epic one. It is a who’s who of 50’s and 60’s actors. It is based on a book by the same name from 1959. The film was released in 1962. It is not in stereo, it is in black and white and it is almost three hours long. So who cares? Millions of elderly and dead Allied Servicemen did and do, because this is the story of the greatest amphibious assault in history and only one from Britain to land in France, Normandy actually.

The film is taken from the book by Cornelius Ryan “The Longest Day”. It is the story of one day, the day of the Allied invasion of Nazi occupied France, specifically of Normandy on 6 June, 1944. We now know that by themselves the British Empire, The United States and The Soviet Union were not strong enough to defeat the enemy that would devour them all in turn. But in one of the most unholy alliances in history, these three diverse allies defeated the most monstrous degeneracy that humanity has ever brought forth into the world.

This is not the story of the preparations or of the various battles. But it is the almost minute by minute story of that one day, all 24 hours of it. It is a story of one half million men, 5000 ships [that is not a typo, 5000], tens of thousands of USAF and RAF airplanes, a veritable United Nations of soldiers, sailors and airmen [for so they then were]. All intent on one thing, the liberation of Europe and the death of the messianic madman, the WWI ex-German army corporal of whom we need say no more here and of the absolute destruction of his “Thousand Year Reich” of hate and death and slavery.

The scenes of frenzied activity as officers of the German Army try to determine the location and day of the invasion are interesting and reveling. As are the blasé indifference of Hitler’s cabal to ignore what is actually happening. The sloth, hubris and downright stupidity are almost beyond belief, yet they are true. There is actual film taken on the Normandy beaches on “D-Day”. It is grim. It is supposed to be. There is death. It happened. There is doubt from Eisenhower, Tedder and Montgomery and there is certainty too. You will enjoy literally a cast of thousands, each with a story to tell. And although acting each story is based on a real event. Some are heroic, futile, stupid, humorous and even unbelievable.

But why the “Longest Day”? German Field Marshal Rommel was the man in charge of the defense of the “West Wall” of Nazi Germany, directly under the senior and very correct, if elderly, Prussian Field Marshal von Rundstedt, overall in command of the Western front. One day on an inspection of the beach defenses, Rommel was heard to say to an aid: “Believe me Lang, the invasion, when it comes, will be for the Allies, as for Germany the Longest Day, the Longest Day”. Watch our DVD, read the book or buy your own copy. Do not enjoy this, it is not meant to be enjoyed. But remember. Always.

bill littlefield,

11/8/11