A documentary account of the allied invasion of Europe during World War II compiled from the footage shot by nearly 1400 cameramen. It opens as the assembled allied forces plan and train ...
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Erich von Stroheim,
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A documentary account of the allied invasion of Europe during World War II compiled from the footage shot by nearly 1400 cameramen. It opens as the assembled allied forces plan and train for the D-Day invasion at bases in Great Britain and covers all the major events of the war in Europe from the Normandy landings to the fall of Berlin. Written by
THE TRUE GLORY (Garson Kanin and Carol Reed, 1945) ***1/2
This is one of the best-regarded of the classic wartime documentaries another Academy Award winner, as it happens and, in retrospect, among those that has stood the test of time reasonably well. Co-incidentally, its viewing followed that of THEY WON'T FORGET (1937) starring Claude Rains, who is featured here as one of several uncredited narrators! With this in mind, while one understands that such films were made as collective efforts for morale-boosting purposes, it feels odd to realize who may or may not have been involved only while watching it or even after the fact (I was not aware, for instance, that the script was by Paddy Chayefsky)! Anyway, its enduring qualities over more dated similar efforts has much to do with the film's very structure not only the various nations involved in the Allied cause taking turns to provide 'first-hand' commentary throughout, but its detailing the progress towards the end of WWII (from D-Day to the fall of Berlin).
It was interesting, to be sure, to watch real footage of a number of famed battlegrounds which would later be fictionalized as star-studded spectacles by the commercial cinema the Normandy invasion itself in THE LONGEST DAY (1962), the BATTLE OF THE BULGE (1965), the entry into Berlin following the capture of THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN (1968) and the ill-fated Allied maneuver at Arnhem in A BRIDGE TOO FAR (1977). Other points worth mentioning here are the fact that this was 'presented' by U.S. Supreme Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower (indeed, it is said that the gold statuette on Oscar night was delivered to him personally!), later the 34th American President, and the early harrowing depiction of the realities behind German concentration camps which, as stated in the film itself, removed from one's mind any notion of the futility for such a conflict.
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