(as 'Widerstandneste 60')
Pluskat is shocked to see the invasion
A very impressive scène is when Major Pluskat (Hans
Christian Blech) the invasion fleet observes coming at
him through the morning haze. The unbelief that the
Allies has brought so much ships under his coast almost
makes you pity for the poor Pluskat. You feel more sorry
for him when his commander does not believe him, even
when he screams at him during the bombardment. The scène
was shot in a studio, but the scène outside are made
around the directionfinder casemat of Longues-sur-Mer . The real
location at Ste Honorine des Pertes was not suitable.
The Battery de Longues was also used as a complex near Caen, when that is ‘attacked’
by puppets (‘Rupert’) dressed as paratroopers and ‘loaded’ with explosives (squibs) who were dropped as decoy.
directionfinder casemat of the battery from
Ouistreham was completely rebuilt after the destruction in June 1944.
Everything had changed and the
production team moved to Port-en-Bessin to film the
battle for the casino over there.
What Zanuck not was told, the casino at the time was torn down
by the Germans, to have a clear field, where they dug trenches
and built bunkers. When Zanuck realized this mistake, he ignored it.
On the edge of the
harbour of Port-en-Bessin they built a construction that
represented the casino with a heavy gun in the basement.
The building was constructed in such a way that it would
collapse in three phases.
Casino as it was constructed in
The great scene, the attack
on the Casino in ‘The Longest Day’, was filmed from a helicopter. Several shots
were made, but not the one that ‘grabbed’ the moment. And all the while the people
of Port-en-Bessin had to stay indoors for various hours. When director Ken Annakin
stepped into the making of this scene, the shot was made in one go. The shot, which
lasts four minutes, is beautiful orchestrated. During the finally, the set of 12.000
English pounds was totally destroyed.
left was the 'casino', on the right the block of houses
with the commando´s
For a documentary, made a couple of years after the shooting of ‘The Longest Day’,
we see producer Zanuck return to Port-en-Bessin. Even now, he keeps the illusion up that
we are in ‘Ouistreham’. He even has a interview, in dreadful French, with the mayor of
‘Ouistreham’. The mayor also declares how magnificent everything was during the filming.
Commander of the Free French Commando´s,
was played by Christian
The part of the Free French Commando's Com. Phillipe
Kieffer, was played by Christian Marquand. Where the
Allied actors played gung-ho, and were mostly good
looking, the German cast were far more cliché Germans
and played often a caricature of an officer. For instance,
Heinz Reincke as Luftwaffe pilot Major ‘Pips’ Priller is really over the top.
were Hans Christian Blech as Major Werner Pluskat and
Preiss as Major Generaal Max Pemsel. But
nevertheless, they tried to give an honest image of the
drama of D-DAY. To make it more authentic, the actors
spoke in three languages, English, German and French.
Beside the drama there was some room for humour. Sean
Connery playes a 'walking tall' Scotsman: 'Flanagan is
as Flanagan,... 'he's back!'
But André Bourvil makes the most of his scene as a
hero of the resistance that listens at the radio and
learns that the invasion is imminent. In one take, he
listens to the radio, gets his soup, looks absent-minded
for his firemen's helmet, places the 'talking' radio in
the dresser and leaves his mother behind who listens
astonished at the door of the dresser. An other
unforgettable scene is with Gerd Froebe as 'sergeant
Kaffeeklatsch' on his horse. When he observes the
gathering of the invasion fleet and the first shot is
fired, he runs like hell, and an almost liberated
Frenchman waves like a lunatic his flag, a perfect
target to aim at!
Sergeant 'Kaffeeklatsch' (Gerd Froebe) will be
awake when he sees the Allied fleet.
Below is the
same house, it can still be found in Honorine des
A little lost area in 'The Longest Day', is UTAH
Beach, landing spot for the 4th Division. There is an introduction with
Henry Fonda, as Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who was supposed to land with
the first wave as Assistant Commander. Roosevelt was suffering from arthritis at this time
and was not fit, in the eyes of top brass, to lead his men into UTAH Beach. But Roosevelt
was determent and did not want to miss out on this show. So he gets the ‘go-ahead’.
(Roosevelt) gives the signal,… two more minutes
By coincidence, the first wave lands in an area of UTAH beach which
was less under German fire. Despite they have landed on the wrong spot, Roosevelt decides ‘to start the war right here’.
Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. realizes they have landed on the wrong spot
Were the scenes at UTAH Beach minor, to say the least, the Canadian participation
at JUNO Beach was completely ignored. Despite the fact that the Canadian troop had
moved the furthest inland at the end of June 6. There is a scene however, that took
place on JUNO, but was now reenacted at SWORD Beach. Beachmaster Commander Colin
Maud (Kenneth More) was directing the traffic from the beach. In the movie he has
as a sidekick a bulldog called Winston (in real life it was a German Shepherd).
Kenneth More loaned from Colin Maud his 'shillelagh' (a stick). With this ‘stick’
he hits a bonnet from unwilling Bren Carrier. Small detail,…
Kenneth More has four stripes (Captain) instead of the three, for Commander.
Beachmaster Colin Maud (Kenneth More)
With his 'shillelagh' and 'Winston'
'THE WRONG' BOOTS?
A returning ‘side-gag’ is of a German officer who
tries to put on his boots during the para landings in
the night. He struggles to get in those things, when he
sees that he has them the wrong way around! When he
steps outside with his boots still on the wrong feet, we
see a British paratrooper with his knife ready for the
‘kill’. At the end of the movie we see how it ended.
Richard Burton, downed and wounded RAF pilot Fl.Off. David Campbell, meets a
lost paratrooper, 'Dutch'Schultz (a roll by
Richard Beymer), from the American 82nd Airborne
Division. Burton points at the dead German officer and
tells the para of the boots on the wrong feet. This
raises the question,… who dropped the dead German
officer in the American sector? It is at least a distant
of almost a 100-km from the British sector.
The producers placed a German motorcycle near the dead German, but is still very unlikely
that this officer had by then not noticed the ‘wrong’ boots,…
David Campbell points out the 'wrong boots', to the para 'Dutch'Schultz
'IT'S A WRAP !'
After the location-scene's are 'in the can', one
filmcrew left for 'Studio de Boulogne' in Paris. Here 53
sets were built to shoot the final scenes. Another team left for
Île de Ré, a island beneath Brittany, near the town of La Rochelle, to shoot the final
sequence of OMAHA Beach. The beach was perfect with the original bunkers that once protected
the harbor of La Rochelle. Over a period of ten months the 4000.000 English
pounds costly picture was made. Three directors were
involved in making it all happen. For the American
scenes there was Andrew Marton, Ken Annakin did the
British scenes and Bernard Wick took credit for the
German scenes. And Zanuck himself did some directing
when it was needed.
see only big star actors!'
Some 50 star-actors and thousands of 'extra's were
cast (which took 350.000 pounds from the budget!). For
the special effects they burned 25.000 old tires and
fifteen tonnes of explosives were brought to detonation, 600.000 blank bullets and
not to mention the hundreds of thousands litres of fuel!
But it was well worth the effort, the special effects
got an Oscar. The cinemaphotography got an Oscar as
well. The picture was nominated for 'Best Picture', but
that one went to 'Lawrence of Arabia'.
Eddie Albert .... Col. Thompson
Paul Anka .... US
Arletty .... Madame Barrault
.... Group Capt. J.N. Stagg
Jean-Louis Barrault .... Father
Richard Beymer .... Private ‘Dutch’ Schultz
Hans Christian Blech .... Major Werner Pluskat
.... Mayor of Colleville
Lyndon Brook .... Lt.
Richard Burton .... Fl.Off. David Campbell
Buttons .... Private John Steele
Sean Connery .... Private
John Crawford .... Colonel Caffey
.... Private Harris
Ray Danton .... Captain Frank
Demick .... Janine Boitard
Fred Dur .... US Army Ranger
Fabian .... US Army Ranger
Mel Ferrer .... Gen.
Frank Finlay .... Private Coke
Fonda.... Brigadier Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
Forrest .... Captain Harding
Gert Fröbe .... Sergeant
Leo Genn .... Brigadier Gen.
Henry Grace .... General Dwight D. Eisenhower
John Gregson .... British Padre
Paul Hartmann ....
Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt
Ruth Hausmeister .... Frau
Paul Anka as
a US Ranger below Pointe du
Jack Hedley .... Briefing
Peter Helm .... Young GI
Michael Hinz ....
Werner Hinz .... Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Donald Houston .... RAF Pilot
Jeffrey Hunter .... Sgt.
Karl John .... Luftwaffe General Wolfgang
Curt Jürgens .... General Gunther Blumentritt
Alexander Knox .... Major General Walter Bedell
Simon Lack .... Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford
Peter Lawford .... Lord Lovat
Ledoux .... Louis
Wolfgang Lukschy .... Colonel General
Christian Marquand .... Commander Philippe
Dewey Martin .... Private Wilder
.... Private Morris
Michael Medwin .... Private
John Meillon .... Rear Admiral Alan G. Kirk
Mineo .... Private Martini
Robert Mitchum .... Brigadier
Gen. Norman Cota
Kenneth More .... Captain Colin
Richard Munch .... General Erich Marcks
O'Brien .... General Raymond O. Barton
Leslie Philips ....
Sian Phillips .... Wren
boy',... Robert Wagner
Wolfgang Preiss .... Major General Max Pemsel
Randell .... Joe Williams
Madeleine Renaud .... Mother
Trevor Reid .... Field marshal Sir Bernard L.
Heinz Reincke .... Major ‘Pips’
Georges Riviere .... Sergeant Guy de Montlaur
John Robinson .... Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey
Rossington .... Private Clough
Robert Ryan .... Brigadier
Gen. James Gavin
Tommy Sands .... US Army Ranger
Schroder .... General Hans von Salmuth
George Segal ....
US Army Ranger
Jean Servais .... Rear Admiral
Heinz Spitzner .... Lieutenant Colonel Hellmuth
Rod Steiger .... Destroyer commander
Stuart .... Lieutenant General Omar N. Bradley
.... Major John Howard
Tom Tryon .... Lieutenant
Peter Van Eyck .... Lieutenant Colonel
Robert Wagner .... US Army Ranger
.... British Soldier
John Wayne.... Lt.Col. Benjamin
Stuart Whitman .... Lieutenant Sheen
Georges Wilson .... Alexandre Renaud