Along with the account of the significant historical event, the picture spins an extremely moving wartime love story, distinctively done by a finely performing cast. While the atmosphere and threat of war are always present in the topnotch Charles Brackett production, it isn’t until near the end that actual fighting is shown in all of its frightening detail.
Footage opens with the sailing of the forerunners of the invasion fleet, then sets its characters and tells its story through the medium of two flashbacks, skillfully handled in the first-rate scripting from the Lionel Shapiro novel, before coming back to the June 6 date and the days immediately following.
There are a number of fine masculine performances by such as Robert Taylor, Richard Todd and Edmond O’Brien, but it remains for the sensitive, tremendously compelling work by Dana Wynter to give the real point to the drama and make the love story a valid thing.
The plot, simply, tells of an English girl (Wynter), virtually committed romantically to a British soldier (Todd), who meets and falls deeply in love with a married American officer (Taylor), and how this triangle is worked out in the overwhelming upset of war. There’s a bitterly ironic note to the ending.
O’Brien creates a sock portrayal of a rank-bucking American officer who eventually cracks under the force of his own drive and the strain of war. John Williams is an embittered oldline brigadier who resents being sidetracked in this war.