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 ... See full summary »
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
This fantastic documentary released by the United States Government and co-directed by the great and smart writer-director Garson Kanin and Michael Powell opens with DDE telling us that we are going to see the events as occurred as told by the men and women who were involved and there. This is no talking heads documentary. It essentially covers the journey from the moment the allies land on Normandy till they take Berlin. All the while, a series of voice-overs obviously scripted details the action as they talk. Be it English, American, Canadian, Czech, Russian, female paramedics, black soldiers we are given the whole she-bang. The voices change as randomly as the scene changes. There is a problem though. The dialog is scripted and can sound corny and a bit rah-rah and flag-waving. Everything is optimistic in this cinematic dairy so to speak. Scenes of allies being killed end with voice-over lines "We lost 3,000 but we moved on" and the editors will jump away to scenes of the army defeating or bombing Berlin. They do not linger or failure or tragedy except when it matters at the concentration when we see the dead bodies and survivors. That said, all sides of the human behavior are covered. We see soldiers who would rather shoot the Germans than capture them. You can feel the anger behind the voices of the soldiers as he chants racist mantras at the POWS. Anger, happiness, futility, fear, and foremost of all optimism is covered and the ending tells us that we can together and be one. The sea of flags ending might seem corny but it was made after the Great War. It has a right to be.
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