My list says that the subject for this week is cinema. Given I’m a bit of a movie freak, I’ve been looking forward to this one. The agony is having so many great movies to choose from.
I’ve decided to start with The Longest Day, the 3 hour epic that tells the story of the D-Day invasion. Based on Cornelius Ryan‘s book The Longest Day: June 6, 1944 D-Day, this movie was filmed in black and white using a documentary style. With admirable accuracy for Hollywood, it tells the story of D-Day from both sides and is the first movie I saw to do so with anything from WW II. It’s also the first English language movie I ever saw that had non-English speakers speaking in their language with English subtitles. I think this adds to the feeling of authenticity.
Further adding to this feeling is the long list of actual WW II veterans from both sides in the cast and the filming on the actual locations of the action, such as the Pegasus Bridge. Really, the attention to historical detail in this film is simply astounding. Doing the research for this post I was continually amazed to discover small plot points in the movie that were based on actual events of the invasion.
The Longest Day was released in 1962 by Fox Studios and went on to become a box office success, being the #1 movie for that year. Re-released in 1969, it was the number one grossing movie on its release weekend, with a total of $2,846,627, or $20,545,123 in our currently debased currency. It was released on LaserDisc in 1989 and on DVD in 2001.
It’s a good thing you can’t actually wear our a DVD, or I’d have bought this one twice. And it is the movie taught me one of the 4 letters I know in Morse Code: “V” (dit-dit-dit-daaah). Four down, 22 to go.