Saturday, April 10, 2021

Realistic War Movies Are Hard For Me to Not Watch

All sorts of good stuff is on YouTube for free.  I had forgotten had good Tora! Tora! Tora! wasI have tread enough of the history of the war to recognize how much it was effectively a docudrama. 

I just finished watching The Longest Day (1962).  While not as gritty as The Big Red One's unflinching portrayal of D-Day it has the same docudrama accuracy with good guys going down in combat, and the confusion and decision errors by the Germans that turned what might have been a devastating defeat of the greatest seaborne invasion in history into a victory for civilization, which America is now doing its best to destroy. 

The cast is a who's who of American, British, and German actors of the time, some not yet well-known such as Robert Wagner and Sean Connery.  Already famous: Peter Lawford; Richard Burton; Richard Widmark; John Wayne.

Some of the surprises were Red Buttons, mostly a comic actor at the time, and one real life WW2 hero: Eddie Albert who received the Bronze Star at the Battle of Tarawa.  Curiously, he toured Mexico as a clown before WW2 working for Army Intelligence.

I started out wondering went a 1962 film of this budget was filmed in black and white.  Part way through it became clear: they integrated real D-Day footage into the film and the U.S. military was not farsighted enough to film in color.  Tremendously well done and entertaining.  It really makes you appreciate the courage and self-sacrifice of so many Americans, Canadians, Britons, and Free French.


  1. Funny, I just finished The Big Red One. Some scenes still hit me in the feels.

  2. Interestingly, the US Navy filmed their combat footage in WWII in color...the Army decided that they had already invested in the film and processing for Black and White and didn't want to change.

  3. I am under the impression that during WW2 that color film storage and processing required refrigeration, which the US Navy could do on ships and the US Army did not want to transport in the NATO and ETO.

  4. I don’t think Eddie Albert could have photographed German U-boats in Mexican harbors. The Germans didn’t send U-boats into the Gulf of Mexico until April of 1942.

    1. No attempts to make friends with Mexico like during World War I?