Many of the military consultants and advisors who helped with the film's production were actual participants in the action on D-Day, and are portrayed in the film. The producers drew them from both sides; Allied and Axis. Among them are Günther Blumentritt (a former German general), James M. Gavin (an American general), Frederick Morgan (Deputy Chief of Staff atSHAEF), John Howard (who led the airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge), Lord Lovat (who commanded the 1st Special Service Brigade), Philippe Kieffer (who led his men in the assault on Ouistreham), Pierre Koenig (who commanded the Free French Forces in the invasion), Max Pemsel (a German general), Werner Pluskat (the major who was the first German officer to see the invasion fleet), Josef "Pips" Priller (the hot-headed pilot) and Lucie Rommel (widow of Erwin Rommel).One thing that sets the film apart from most films set in the Second World War is that all characters speak in their own languages, with subtitles in English wherever the characters speak either French or German. A separate version exists, shot simultaneously, in which all the actors speak their lines in English, which is why the trailer has the Germans delivering their lines in English. This version saw limited use during the initial release, but saw extensive use during a late 1960s re-release of the film. The English-only version was featured on the "flip side" of an older single disc DVD release. The usual Nazi stereotypes are avoided, and mostGerman characters are portrayed as human beings. The words "Sieg Heil", for instance, are not uttered even once in The Longest Day, although they are seen written on a bunker wall in Ouistreham.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Front page of the New York Times, June 6, 1944
Today on the 65th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion (June 6, 1944) I thought it was appropriate to post the following assorted images and historical accounts to honor those who bravely fought and died to help defeat Nazi fascism.
German Propaganda Video
In addition to the above videos you can view D-Day photos and other documents at the Navy Historical Center. You can also read an eyewitness account from a French citizen here. And you can read about another eyewitness account from 89 year old veteran Bob Winer, one of the few surviving veterans from the D-Day invasion.
For a history of the Normandy Invasion you can go here.
You can also watch the excellent film The Longest Day. Here is the movie trailer.
Here is part of the Wikepedia description of the movie, The Longest Day.