The Longest Day: seven things to know about the cult film with John Wayne

France 3 is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Landings by focusing on a great classic this evening.

Two Oscars (for best cinematography and best visual effects), a Golden Globe for best cinematography, a David di Donatello for best foreign film… In 1963, The longest day won a handful of prizes highlighting the quality of a work highlighting a part of our history: the Allied landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944. An event that we rediscover via several sequences revealing different places and operations.

Before finding this evening on France 3 this film bringing together among others Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, John Wayne And Robert Mitchumreturn to the key points of this Longest day, rebroadcast just before the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Note that at the same time, TF1 Séries Films will offer We have to save the soldier RyanSteven Spielberg's equally celebrated film (1998).

Saving Private Ryan returns to the cinema for the 80th anniversary of the Landings

A big budget

10 million dollars. This is the estimated budget of the film shot between Corsica, the studios of Boulogne, Paris, or even Caen and Sainte-Mère l'Eglise. If today this budget does not rival those of Hollywood blockbusters, it is particularly high for the time. If the studios have thus put their hands in their pockets, it is to set in motion a great big production with around thirty filming locations, 10 months to put the film in the can, 23,000 actors embarked on the adventure as only soldiers and a nice handful of officers who played advisors including General Eisenhower.

Multiple directors at the helm

Several filmmakers took part in the filming of the film. While the scenes devoted to the German army were canned by Bernhard Wickithose highlighting the Americans were produced by Andrew Marton while Ken Annakin And Darryl F. Zanuck were responsible for the British sequences. Elmo Williams for his part coordinated the fighting.

A special colorized version

Although the film was shot and released in black and white, it ended up being colorized years later. It was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Landing in 1994 that color made its debut in the film broadcast immediately by TF1 before being put on sale in this colorized manner.

20th Century Fox

The ten star cast

If Brigitte Bardot And Marina Vlady successively refused to play a resistance character ultimately played by Irina Demick, big stars gave the green light to play in this film. And this while the fees were as low as possible. John Wayne is the only actor to have managed to negotiate a slightly higher salary than his little comrades, many of whom were already famous.

On the British side, we recognize for example Richard Burton or Sean Connery, the Americans can count on Henry Fonda and Robert Mitchum, once disembarked, the French Arletty, Bourvil or even Jean-Louis Barrault welcome the surviving soldiers…

Beautiful extras

If real soldiers played the extras, French actors also agreed to play small roles in The longest day. While Paul Ankawho wrote the only song in the film – the music was composed by Maurice Jarre – slipped into the shoes of an American ranger, George Wilson, Guy Marchand And Daniel Gelin also played extras in The longest day… but not all of them survived the editing!

A film based on a book

For The longest daythe directors and screenwriters adapted the eponymous book by Cornelius Ryan, an Irish-American journalist and author who took part in the Landings as an aviator.

A disrupted filming

Darryl F. Zanuck was forced to leave the film for a while in order to save the filming of Cleopatra that 20th Century Fox threatened to stop due to an exploded budget. He was therefore forced to make a return trip to New York to defend this project and take over the reins of the company he had created.

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