The Longest Day (1962)
Reviewed on 2011 January 13
Here we have not an epic, but an EPIC, account of D-Day.
The Allied Forces are going to storm France to end the Nazi invasion once and for all, and the Germans know it. The first problem is the unusually nasty June weather stirring up the English Channel. The other problem facing the Brits, Americans and non-Vichy French is the cunning of the Nazis, anticipating the obvious choices of where the Allies will invade and then preparing for the opposite. The Nazis may be crafty but their overconfidence will be their undoing: Rommel (Werner Hinz) and Major General Gunther Blumentritt (Curd Jurgens) seem to be more aware of what’s about to happen than the other goose-steppers, and it’s up to the Allies to make the most of it.
I like how this shows the German strategy of the war while honoring all the Allies, starting with the pretty Resistance fighter Janine Boitared (Irina Demick) who distracted the testosterone-addled guards. And of course, Rupert. In terms of sheer star power there’s a bunch from either side of the Atlantic, including Sean Connery and (in the have-some-irony department) Henry Fonda. I think the best part was how it summed up the strength and determination of the Allies, with Robert Mitchum’s Norman Cota calmly fishing a fresh cigar out of his jacket after storming Omaha Beach.
Four chocolate morsels.