Darryl F. Zanuck achieves a solid and stunning war epic. From personal vignettes to big battles, it details the first day of the D-Day Landings by the Allies on 6 June 1944.
The savage fury and sound of war are ably caught on film. It emerges as a sort of grand scale semi-fictionalized documentary concerning the overall logistics needed for this incredible invasion. It carries its three hour length by the sheer tingle of the masses of manpower in action, peppered with little ironic, sad, silly actions that all add up to war.
The use of over 43 actual star names in bit and pivotal spots helps keep up the aura of fictionalized documentary. But it is the action, time and place, and the actual machinery of war, that are the things.
The battles [coordinated by associate producer Elmo Williams] ably take their places among some of the best ever put on the screen. A German strafing the beach, Yanks scaling a treacherous cliff only to find that there was no big gun there, British commandos taking a bridge, Yanks blowing up a big bunker, the French taking a town, all are done with massive pungent action. The black and white and CinemaScope screen help keep the focus on surge and movement.
1962: Best B&W Cinematography, Special Effects.
Nominations: Best Picture, B&W Art Direction, Editing