'Twas the night before D-Day. One ship, carrying Special Force Six, leaves ahead of the main invasion on a dangerous mission. On board are British Colonel Wynter and American Captain Parker, who each, in flashback, reminisce about their separate involvements with beauteous Valerie Russell. Will the coming battle (confined to the film's last fifteen minutes) determine which one comes home to her?Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A parachutist during World War II, Richard Todd actually took part in the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944. He later played his former commanding officer Major John Howard in The Longest Day (1962), another dramatisation of the Normandy landings. See more »
At about one hour,one minute and 17 seconds into the film a panoramic view of Tangiers is shown but it's the present-day modern city of Tangiers, complete with high-rise modern hotels and harbor rather than the 1940s wartime Tangiers. See more »
Capt. Brad Parker:
[of the British]
Who do these characters think they are anyway? They were licked in '40 and they're still taking a walloping. They won't admit they're dead pigeons, that's the trouble with 'em. They need us inferior Americans who've got no manners but a lot of power and know-how...
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Despite the imposing title D-Day the Sixth of June which might lead one to believe it is an account of the Normandy invasion. It is in fact and old fashioned war romance. For Robert Taylor this was a throwback picture, back to the kind of romantic stuff he did in his early days of being MGM's number one pin-up boy.
Dana Wynter has Richard Todd as her steady beau who's gone to war just as America's gotten into it via Pearl Harbor. Todd goes missing in action and Wynter in her best British stiff upper lip style goes to help in the war effort herself as the Nazis loom perilously close to the island kingdom.
Robert Taylor gets to be one of the first American officers assigned over in Europe and Wynter and he meet via an altercation her father, John Williams, has with some bumptious GIs. Wynter diplomatically smooths things out and she and Taylor develop a relationship. It can't really go anywhere because Taylor's married. But they're both in need of each other at the moment.
Curiously enough this does parallel the situation of the Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower who carried on an affair with his British driver Kay Summersby. Ike of course was married and Kay was a war widow.
Todd does make it back and that does complicate matters. All this in the shadow of the impending cross-channel invasion.
Richard Todd had a promising career during the 1950s. He became well known to American audiences via his appearance in some Disney films and other American productions. Strangely enough it seemed to halt in the following decade and the international stardom that beckoned never came to fruition. He was a fine player capable of a wide variety of roles, even being a villain in a Hitchcock film. But I personally like him best as a hero.
And a genuine hero he was. He was actually at D-Day as a British Commando and won a whole slew of medals. Bob Taylor also was in the Armed Forces in World War II, he did three years in Uncle Sam's Navy in the Pacific.
Dana Wynter I've always thought of as a British version of Ava Gardner. And she had the talent to match. She also should have had a bigger career. I would say her beauty is regal and lo and behold she actually made that statement true when she portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in a film about Charles and Diana.
For war picture fans there's still enough action to satisfy. The only other role of real significance was Edmond O'Brien as Taylor's boss at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. Another reviewer said his role was not developed well. I wish it had been myself. But it probably would have taken away from the romance.
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