- The Longest Day (film)
name = The Longest Day
image_size = 220px
caption = original movie poster
Ken Annakin"(British & French exteriors)"
Andrew Marton "(American exteriors)"
Bernhard Wicki"(German episodes)" Gerd Oswald"(parachute drop)"
Darryl F. Zanuck "(uncredited)"
Darryl F. Zanuck
writer = Book & Screenplay:
John Wayne Henry Fonda Robert Mitchum Sean Connery Curd Jürgens Richard Burton Peter Lawford Rod Steiger Irina Demick Gert Frobe
cinematography = Jean Bourgoin
editing = Samuel E. Beetley
20th Century Fox
released = 25 September fy|1962 "(France)"
4 October "(US)"
23 October "(UK)"
runtime = 178 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English / German / French
budget = US$10 million "(est.)"
gross = US$50 million "(worldwide, thru 12/1963)"
imdb_id = 0056197
"The Longest Day" is a 3-hour-long fy|1962
war filmwith a very large cast, based on the 1959 history "The Longest Day" by Cornelius Ryan, about " D-Day", the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, during World War II.
Darryl F. Zanuck paid the author of the book,
Cornelius Ryan, $175,000 for the screen rights to produce the film."Operation Overblown". - "TIME". - October 19, 1962. - Retrieved: 2008-06-23]
The film was adapted by
Romain Gary, James Jones, David Pursall, Cornelius Ryan, and Jack Seddon from the Ryan book. It was directed by Ken Annakin(British and French exteriors), Andrew Marton (American exteriors), Gerd Oswald(parachute drop scene), Bernhard Wicki(German scenes) and Darryl F. Zanuck(uncredited).
Many of the military consultants and advisors who helped with the film's production were actual participants in the action on D-Day, and are portrayed in the film. The producers drew them from both sides; Allied and Axis. Among them are
Günther Blumentritt(a former German general), James M. Gavin(an American general), Frederick Morgan (Deputy Chief of Staff at SHAEF), John Howard (who led the airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge), Lord Lovat (who commanded the 1st Special Service Brigade), Philippe Kieffer(who led his men in the assault on Ouistreham), Pierre Koenig (who commanded the Free French Forcesin the invasion), Max Pemsel (a German general), Werner Pluskat(the major who was the first German officer to see the invasion fleet), Josef "Pips" Priller (the hot-headed pilot) and Lucie Rommel (widow of Erwin Rommel).
One thing that sets the film apart from most films set in the
Second World Waris that all characters speak in their own languages, with subtitles in English wherever the characters speak either French or German. A separate version exists, shot simultaneously, where all the actors speak their lines in English, which is why the trailer has the Germans delivering their lines in English. This version saw limited use during the initial release, but saw extensive use during a late 1960s re-release of the film. The English-only version was featured on the "flip side" of an older single disc DVD release. The usual Nazi stereotypesare avoided, and most German characters are portrayed as human beings. The words " Sieg Heil", for instance, are not uttered even once in "The Longest Day", although they are seen written on a bunker wall in Ouistreham.
The film, one of the very few
1960sepics made in black and white, features a large ensemble cast including actors, such as Kenneth More, Richard Todd(who took part in the actual invasion), Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Red Buttons, Leo Genn, Peter Lawford, Gert Frobe, John Wayne, Irina Demick, Curt Jurgensand Robert Wagner. Several of these actors played roles that were virtually cameo appearances.
*Academy Awards for Best Art Direction (1962): (nominated)cite web | title = The Longest Day (1962) Awards | publisher = Turner Classic Movies, A Time Warner Company | url = http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=81774&category=Awards | accessdate = 2008-04-30]
*Academy Awards for Best Cinematography (1962): Jean Bourgoin (won)
*Academy Awards for Best Cinematography (1962): Walter Wottitz (won)
*Academy Awards for Best Editing (1962): Samuel E. Beetley (nominated)
*Academy Awards for Best Picture (1962): (nominated)
*Academy Awards for Best Special Effects (1963): (won)
The music, written by
Paul Anka, is the authorised march of Le Régiment de la Chaudière, the Canadian Parachute Centre, and the former Canadian Airborne Regimentof the Canadian Forces.
*Sergeant Kaffeekanne's name is German for "coffee pot", which he always carries.
*It is a common misconception that
Bill Millin, the piper who accompanies Lord Lovat to Normandy with his bagpipes, played himself in the film. He was actually portrayed by Pipe MajorLeslie de Laspee, the official piper to the Queen Motherin 1961. [cite web|url = http://www.pegasusarchive.org/normandy/bill_millin.htm|title = Piper Bill Millin|accessdate = 2007-11-01|publisher = The Pegasus Archive] [cite web|url = http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=81509|title = D-Day Piper - Bill Millin|accessdate = 2007-11-01|date = 2006-08-03|publisher = The Miniatures Page]
Sainte-Mère-Église, Private John Steele from the 82nd Airborne(played by Red Buttons) has been memorialised by the local population with a dummy hanging from a parachute from the church tower on which he accidentally landed.
Richard Todd, who played Major John Howard, leader of the British Airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge, took part in the real bridge assault on D-Day. Todd was offered the chance to play himself, but thought the part would be too small, so he asked to play the part of his former commanding officer. Shortly after the British have captured the Ornebridge in the film, one of the soldiers tells Todd that all they have to do now is sit tight and wait for the 7th Parachute Battalion to relieve them, to which Todd replies dismissively that the Paras are always late. This was a private joke, as Todd had been the adjutant of the 7th Parachute Battalion on D-Day and did help relieve the forces on the bridge. During the scene of Todd as Howard awaiting relief from the beachhead, an officer in a Para beret next to Todd is an actor playing the real Richard Todd.
*Joseph Lowe landed on
Omaha Beachand scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hocon D-Day. He repeated the climb for the cameras 17 years later.
Curd Jürgensportrayed the German General Blumentritt who muses on the incompetence of his superiors. Jürgens himself was actually imprisoned by the Nazis in his youth.
*As well as featuring 007 himself (
Sean Connery), this film boasts two James Bondvillains: Curd Jürgens, who played the lunatic industrialist Karl Strombergin "The Spy Who Loved Me", and Gert Fröbe, who played Auric Goldfingerin "Goldfinger".
* Former U.S. President
Dwight D. Eisenhowerwas considered for the role of himself in the film, and he indicated his willingness. However, it was decided that makeup artists couldn't make him appear young enough to play his WWII self. The role of General Eisenhower went to a set decorator with no acting experience, but who had been in the film industry since the mid-1930s. He was a dead-ringer for the younger Eisenhower, though his voice differed. His role in this film was his only acting credit.
* The role of Lieutenant Colonel
Benjamin H. Vandervoortwas actively sought by Charlton Heston, but the last-minute decision of John Wayneto take a role in the film prevented Heston from participating.
*While everyone else accepted ten thousand dollars as payment,
John Wayneinsisted on a quarter of a million dollars to punish Zanuck for an earlier negative remark in the press about Wayne and his Alamo film. [cite book | last = Willis | first = Garry | title = John Wayne's America: The Politics of Celebrity | publisher = Simon & Schuster | date = March 10, 1997 | isbn = 0-684-80823-4]
*Acclaimed British actor
Christopher Leeauditioned for a role, but was turned down because he did not look like a military man, even though he had served in the Royal Air Force as an Intelligence Officer. However, some film books incorrectly credit him with a role in the film.
*During the filming of the landings at Omaha Beach, the American soldiers appearing as extras did not want to jump off the landing craft into the water because they thought it would be too cold. Robert Mitchum, who played General
Norman Cota, became disgusted with their trepidation. He jumped in first, at which point the soldiers had no choice but to follow his example.
*The "Rupert paradummies" used in the film were far more elaborate and lifelike than those actually used for the decoy parachute drop (
Operation Titanic), which were actually just canvas or burlap sacks filled with sand. In the real operation, six Special Air Servicesoldiers jumped with the dummies and played recordings of loud battle noises to distract the Germans.
*At $10,000,000, this film was the most expensive
black-and-whitefilm made until 1993, when " Schindler's List" was released. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056197/trivia "The Longest Day": Trivia] . - IMDb]
*In the scenes where the
paratroopersland, the background noise of frogs croaking "ribbit ribbit" was wrong for northern French frog species and showed that the film likely used an American recording of background night noises.
The Longest Day- other uses
Authorized marches of the Canadian Forces
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