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.”
Major John Smith (Richard Burton): “Broadsword calling Danny Boy… Broadsword calling Danny Boy.”
Brian G. Hutton
(January 1, 1935 – August 19, 2014)
As an actor, Brian G. Hutton appeared in a couple of outstanding Fifties Westerns, Gunfight At The O.K. Corrall (1957) and Last Train From Gun Hill (1959). About 10 years later, he directed my all-time favorite movie, Where Eagles Dare (1969). I hate to report that he’s passed away at 79.
Hutton never had many nice things to say about his films, and he didn’t like dealing with studio suits. So, he walked away from movies in the Eighties and got into real estate.
As a kid, I was completely obsessed with Where Eagles Dare and have seen it over a hundred times (slightly embarrassed to say I stopped counting at 100, decades ago). I always hoped to have a chance to thank Mr. Hutton for the hours upon hours of enjoyment I’ve gotten from his work. If you haven’t seen it, the last 45 minutes or so—from the intermission to the end credits, play out as an extended, perfectly-orchestrated series of action sequences (courtesy of 2nd unit director Yakima Canutt) as Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure and Ingrid Pitt try to create enough mayhem to escape the few Nazis they haven’t already killed. It’s terrific.
Thanks Stephen for the news.