|The British invasion
Watching this film, it became suddenly apparent to me that I didn't really know anything about D-Day at all. Indeed, I'd confused it in my mind with the Dunkirk evacuation, and couldn't have told you where or when it was, except that it involved British boats and continental Europe, and was a big deal for the second world war. The film, then, was a revelation.
|He got up so quickly that he put his boots on the wrong feet
It helps, I think, that the four nationalities' stories - the French, British, German and American parts of the film - were all made separately, with each part assigned a director from the relevant country. This, then, is four films, weaved into one. Such a thing could be an appalling mess, but the style and flavour, the drama and humour, is consistent enough that it all comes together properly. Among the film's advisors were the generals who plotted the invasion and those who masterminded the defence, meaning that the film has historical merit, and takes all the sides seriously.
|John Wayne, who I usually can't abide, is actually very good in this.
It's an exciting and interesting film, as the large number of small storylines means we get all of the highlights and skip past the padding. The ridiculous cast of the famous and the soon-to-be-famous is one that's rarely been matched, and all do what they do best. There's a lot of fun had, with soldiers on all sides seen as plucky, good humoured and occasionally very eccentric. It's all the more alarming, then, when they come to fight against one another, and we see vast numbers mown down with machine guns in almost every location.
|Hey, it's that mime from 'Les Enfants du Paradis' (1945). That was a great movie.
P.S. Tune in next time for 'Stalker' (1979), a Russian film that I still don't really understand.
...and here it is, if you'd care to watch it. You might well find it as excitingly educational as I did.