The longest day
Filmography of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy
Trailer for the film The Longest Day
The film The Longest Day, directed by Darryl F. Zanuck, Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki and Gerd Oswald, is the first film about the Normandy landings.The title is inspired by a phrase uttered by General Rommel, commander of the German B Army group in northwestern France during the Normandy landings.Many critics have labeled this film as hyper-realistic compared to the "D-Day" story.
Time to get this straight: No, The Longest Day movie isn't entirely faithful to the historical reality of D-Day, no, The Longest Day movie isn't the best movie.Of war never waged, for the reasons I shall explain below.But then, why was it so successful, despite many historical mistakes?How could one "legend" the landings in Normandy?
All the scenes in the film are not wrong with the story.Obviously, one has to acknowledge that this 3-hour-plus feature film is the only one that portrays the Normandy landings in their quasi-globality.It is unfortunate that, despite the presence of veterans in the ranks of military advisers, certain scenes were filmed too revealingly in relation to historical events.This film chronicles the Normandy landings but sadly disrespects the story.
As part of my research into the Normandy landings, I met Maurice Chauvet, a veteran of the 1st Marine Battalion (the famous Kieffer Commando) who landed at Sword Beach on June 6, 1944.As part of our exchange, we talked about D-Day movies and he explained to me how this feature film was made.As a military adviser (along with other June 6, 1944 veterans, including Philippe Kieffer, leader of the French Commando), his job was to brief filmmakers and actors on the film's historical and military detailsOperation Overlord.But considering that the film crew didn't respect the details of the story enough, he decided to leave the film crew before the theatrical release.
In search of historical truth in detail, I wish to present these errors on this website in order to restore certain facts that could be misconstrued as historical realities.These are some of the flaws in the movie The Longest Day.
The history of the French commandos reinvented
On Tuesday, June 6, 1944, at dawn, the Free French troops commanded by Commander Kieffer and the 1st B.F.M. One of the tasks of Commando No. 4 is to liberate the town of Ouistreham in the Sword Beach sector. Maurice Chauvet joins the attack in the K-Gun section. In the film, French soldiers land on French soil at the same time as Lord Lovat's famous bag master, Bill Millin, from the United States.LCVPLanding craft from most of the 1960s.In fact, the French soldiers in Normandy disembarked from barges equipped with two retractable ramps launched at the bow of the ship, typeLCIs.
On the left an LCI ship used by the Kieffer Commando insword beach, on the right an LCVP ship (still "ACVthat's another type of landing craft) used in the movie The Longest Day.
Arriving on the beach, the French commandos must take the casino, once a large luxurious building, but which the Germans destroyed before D-Day to create a real fortress under a casemate.The casino was never a multi-storey building, as you can see in the film: it is a concrete bunker protected by machine guns and anti-tank guns up to three or four meters high.
In the film, during the attack on the casino (which was filmed in Port-en-Bessin), the nuns come close to combat and begin treating the troops during the battle.But at that time and at the site of the attack, there were never any nuns.
Maurice Chauvet recalled: "The casino was actually a blockhouse that the Germans came out of and there was never a big 80 meter high barracks or sisters in the middle of the battle.The Germans destroyed the casino and poured concrete in its place. Today this log house is destroyed.„
Photograph of the casino bunker attacked by French commandos at Ouistreham Riva-Bella on 6th June 1944.
In the early hours of Tuesday, June 6, 1944, when airborne troops from the 82nd and 101st US Divisions parachuted into Normandy, many units landed in the wrong place, sometimes more than forty kilometers from their base objective.For example, US paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division found each other nearbypoint of the hoc).Some units parachute over Sainte-Mère-Eglise, and the film The Longest Day immortalized John Steele hanging from the church's bell tower for nearly four hours.
In this passage of the film, dozens of American paratroopers are dropped in the town square and then engage in horrifying hand-to-hand combat with the Germans.In reality, however, the number of paratroopers who fell on the town square can be counted on one hand: most parachutists land in gardens or alleys in the immediate vicinity of the church grounds.We are once again witnessing a dramatization of D-Day history, and even in this case, a dramatization of events.
The Master's Career
The landings are shown very unrealistic. Specially inOmaha-Strand, the men only seem to be stopped by a concrete wall (much more imposing than their actual size).The first waves of attacks were eliminated by more than 90% in the first minutes of the attack.
When two Luftwaffe planes attacked the beaches oforjJunoIn the film, Allied soldiers advance inland without being stopped.In fact, the Anglo-Canadian troops were hit by extremely heavy fire which delayed them and the Allies inflicted heavy casualties on D-Day, particularly at Juno Beach.
Saleccia beach in Corsica, where Omaha beach became a jetty for the longest day
Most of the barges used in the film are 1960s US Army landing craft, modern barges at the time of filming (shot on Saleccia beach in Corsica) and have a large number of differencesthe landing craft used during the Normandy landings in 1944.
Symbols more than realism
What lessons can we learn from this film?It should be remembered that it conveys symbols rather than exact photographs of the events of June 6, 1944: the obstacle of a wall that, once breached, would destroy all of Omaha Beach andThe evacuation of troops symbolizes the American difficulty in this place, but does not testify to the harsh reality."The Longest Day" summarizes iconic phrases, key moments and memorable moments of the Normandy landings in images to give a general idea.
It is also necessary to see in "The Longest Day" a work inscribed in its time: 1962. In the midst of the crisis in Cuba, a symbol of the Cold War, America is trying to regain confidence and the memory of a just war wake up ,He won with the help of his allies.The filmmakers deploy the heavy artillery of American cinema: Richard Burton, John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Robert Mitchum: charismatic symbols of a victorious America when it needs them most.Historical fidelity takes a back seat: victories, allies, and obstacles (like Omaha Beach) must be emphasized, the emphasis must be on the courage of men in adversityOutside.
In terms of developing the violent scenes of war, this film bears little witness to the cruelty of war compared to what we are used to seeing on our screens today.At the time of filming in the 1960s, the film's fight scenes are considered difficult, while our contemporary viewer's eyes are used to much more violence.The absolute realism principle of war film emerged in the late 20th century in the 1990's. The two main examples areThere Soldier James Ryanjband of brothers: These films depict a cruel and violent war that makes cutsBreathing.From now on, historical realism comes to the fore, immediately followed by the fight against realism, which was not the case during the shooting of the film "Le Jour le Long".But it took perhaps more than 50 years before the consensus on seeing WWII in cinemas raw and unvarnished was reached.
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