Author Topic: The Longest Day (1962)  (Read 1383 times)

Offline Antares

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The Longest Day (1962)
« on: April 23, 2010, 12:06:22 AM »
The Longest Day

Year: 1962
Film Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck Productions, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre: War, Action, Drama
Length: 178 Min.

Ken Annakin (1914)
Andrew Marton (1904)
Bernhard Wicki (1919)

Cornelius Ryan (1920)...Screenplay
Cornelius Ryan (1920)...Book
Romain Gary (1914)...Additional Episodes Written By
James Jones (1921)...Additional Episodes Written By
David Pursall...Additional Episodes Written By
Jack Seddon (1924)...Additional Episodes Written By

Elmo Williams (1913)
Darryl F. Zanuck (1902)

Jean Bourgoin (1913)
Walter Wottitz (1911)

Maurice Jarre (1924)...Composer

Eddie Albert (1906) as Col. Thompson
Paul Anka (1941) as U.S. Army Ranger
Arletty (1898) as Madame Barrault
Jean-Louis Barrault (1910) as Father Louis Roulland
Richard Beymer (1938) as Schultz
Hans Christian Blech (1915) as Maj. Werner Pluskat
Bourvil (1917) as Mayor of Colleville
Richard Burton (1925) as Flight Officer David Campbell

       Darryl F. Zanuck’s big budget epic of the D-Day invasion would be one the boldest enterprises in the post war film era. Films of this scale and scope had flourished during the silent film era, when no expense was spared to bring about the realism necessary to tell a story, but now were considered too risky for modern day productions. To bring his cinematic vision to fruition, Zanuck would incorporate a standard practice of the silent era; he would not shoot the picture in a closed studio, but at the actual location of the battle. Zanuck’s gamble would pay off handsomely as The Longest Day would be hailed at that time, as the greatest war film ever made.

       But as time passed by, the war film genre underwent a metamorphosis from portraying war as a glorious endeavor, to a more introspective look into the day-to-day hardships of the common soldier. With this change, films like The Longest Day would appear dated and would be looked upon as anachronistic. The films main weaknesses now appear to stand out quite brilliantly and detract from the viewing experience. In the first hour we are deluged with a mini-soliloquy by every one of the major characters in the film as to why this venture will be the greatest event of their life and times. Heaped on top of this is an overabundant amount of clichéd dialogue that seems to have been lifted from every previous war film made. By the time the invasion takes place we are grateful to be finally exorcised from this tedious and unnecessary build-up. The one saving grace in the film is the actual invasion, which benefits from Zanuck’s gamble of shooting on the actual location. It would lend a true sense of realism to the battle scenes, and although interspersed with more tired dialogue, would keep the film from sinking under the weight of a poorly written screenplay.

       As I stated earlier, this was considered a truly great film in its time, and would win Oscars for Best Special Effects and Best Cinematography. If you are a fan of the war film genre then it is worthwhile to see this film, if you are not, then I would probably steer clear of it. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, it’s a respectable relic of the Hollywood ‘Epic’ period, but it’s not of the caliber of say Patton, Platoon, or Das Boot.

Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:17:05 PM by Antares »