This is a movie blog, so we’ll pay tribute to those who fought on the beaches of Normandy via color stills from The Longest Day (1962, which is in glorious black and white CinemaScope), itself a tribute to the many sacrifices that helped push World War II toward its end.
Here’s the crew hard at work recreating the events of June 6, 1944.
Richard Burton (as Officer David Campbell) and Richard Beymer (as Private Dutch Schultz). Burton took time off from Cleopatra (1963) to shoot his scenes. Cleopatra was bleeding 20th Century-Fox dry at the time, which had a huge (negative) impact on Darryl Zanuck’s budget for The Longest Day.
Robert Mitchum as Brigadier General Norman Cota.
Richard Todd as Major John Howard. Todd’s voice is one of God’s great gifts to mankind — I would listen to him (or Richard Burton, for that matter) read the phone book.
John Wayne as Lt. Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort.
From the Army’s website: “The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.”
To quote John Wayne in an entirely different movie (John Ford’s She Wore A Yellow Ribbon): “Lest we forget.”
Lets all take a minute to remember the brave Americans who’ve given their lives for their country.
This is a detail from the Japanese poster for The Green Berets (1968), John Wayne’s tribute to the men and women serving in Vietnam. As a kid, I’d get lost in Frank McCarthy’s incredible poster art (click on it and it’ll get a lot bigger), absorbing all the rich detail he packed into it. Wonder where that art is now?
John Wayne visiting the 7th Marines at Chu Lai, June 1966.
Wayne’s movie still gets people stirred up. But honoring our military folks isn’t about politics, it’s about gratitude. We owe them all so much.
Filed under 1968, John Wayne
I’ve always loved Bonnie And Clyde (1967) — and always been fascinated by how it all came about.
Here’s Arthur Penn, Gene Hackman and Warren Beatty — obviously shooting the scene where Buck Barrow gets shot.
This one spares me the trouble of writing anything.
This is the scene where Bonnie and Clyde meet C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard).
The real Bonnie and Clyde robbed the bank in Ponder, Texas. The Ranchman Cafe ran this ad after the movie people came to town. The cafe is still there — and they claim John Wayne ate there, too.
One of the great achievements of Bonnie And Clyde, as I see it, is how well it captures the rural Texas way of life. My grandparents lived in Strawn — not far from the National Guard Armory in Ranger, robbed by Bonnie and Clyde. Aside from all the shooting, the movie feels a lot like my summer visits to towns like Strawn, Breckenridge and Albany.
It (and The Beverly Hillbillies) also introduced me to bluegrass.
Directed by John Ford
Starring Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed, Ward Bond, Jack Holt
If you ask me, and you didn’t, John Ford’s They Were Expendable (1945) is the greatest war movie ever made. It’s inspiring, exciting and heartbreaking — all at the same time. Ford and George Montgomery both served in the Navy (Montgomery on PT Boats), and the picture has a grittiness to it that seems so real it’s uncomfortable at times. And Donna Reed in a t-shirt and ball cap is more stunning than in the nicest dress she ever wore in her TV show. She’s just terrific in this.
Folks, They Were Expendable is as good as movies get. I’m sure Joseph H. August’s cinematography will be stunning in high definition. Thanks to Warner Archive for putting this one together. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
(February 18, 1925 – February 28, 2016)
George Kennedy, one of Hollywood’s finest, and busiest, character actors, has passed away at 91.
Kennedy made so many good movies in the 60s and 70s (he was plenty busy in TV, too), it’s hard to keep track of them. Charade (1963). The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965), in which he and John Wayne execute one of the most perfectly-timed hits in all of cinema — as Wayne smacks Kennedy in the face with the spoke of a wagon wheel. Cool Hand Luke (1967, above), as Dragline — which landed him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The Dirty Dozen (1967). And a personal favorite, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot (1974).
Directed by Allan Dwan
Starring John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara, Forrest Tucker, Wally Cassell, James Brown, Richard Webb, Arthur Franz
With Allan Dwan’s Sands Of Iwo Jima (1949), Republic got out of the B picture business. They spent over a million bucks on this one, an excellent story of the training and combat experiences of guys who’d fight at Iwo Jima. For their million, they got a little recognition: it was nominated for several Oscars, including one for Wayne.
It’s coming on DVD and Blu-ray from Olive Films.
L-R: Forrest Tucker, John Wayne, Allan Dwan, unidentified and Major General Graves Erskine.