Jun 082019
 

The Longest Day

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PLOTShot in a docudrama style (with subtitles identifying the different participants), the film opens in the days leading up to D-Day, concentrating on events on both sides of the English channel. The Allies wait for a break in the poor weather while anticipating the reaction of the Axis forces defending northern France. As Supreme Commander of SHAEF, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower makes the decision to go after reviewing the initial bad weather reports and the reports about the divisions within the German High Command as to where an invasion might happen and what should be their response.

Multiple scenes document the early hours of June 6: Allied airborne troops being sent in to take key locations inland, away from the beaches, and the French resistance reaction to the news that the invasion has started. Also chronicled are important events surrounding D-Day: British troops' glider missions to secure Pegasus Bridge, the counterattacks launched by American paratroopers scattered around Sainte-Mère-Église, the infiltration and sabotage work conducted by the French resistance and SOE agents, and the response by the Wehrmacht to the invasion. Also shown is the uncertainty of German commanders regarding whether this is a feint in preparation for Allied crossings at the Strait of Dover (see Operation Fortitude), where the senior German staff had always assumed that the invasion would begin.

Set-piece scenes include the parachute drop into Sainte-Mère-Église, the advance inshore from the Normandy beaches, the U.S. Ranger Assault Group's assault on the Pointe du Hoc, the attack on Ouistreham by Free French Forces, and the strafing of the beaches by two lone Luftwaffe pilots. The film concludes with a montage showing various Allied units consolidating their beachheads before they advance inland by crossing France to eventually reach Germany.
1962Personal Rating80Rotten Critics87Rotten Audience90IMDb Rating78Combined Rating83.0

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Jun 052016
 

Carry On Sergeant

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PLOTNewly married Mary Sage (Shirley Eaton) is distraught when her husband Charlie (Bob Monkhouse) receives his call-up papers during their wedding breakfast. He travels to Heathercrest National Service Depot, meeting fellow recruit Horace Strong (Kenneth Connor), a terminal hypochondriac who is devastated at having been passed as fit.

The new recruits are assigned to Sergeant Grimshaw (William Hartnell). Grimshaw is retiring from the army and takes on a £50 bet with Sergeant O'Brien (Terry Scott) that his last bunch of squaddies will be his first champion platoon.

With beady-eyed inspection from Captain Potts (Eric Barker) and disgruntled support from Corporal Copping (Bill Owen), Grimshaw decides to use some psychology and treat his charges kindly rather than simply shouting at them. But basic training does not start well and he struggles to take his platoon through it. They include failure Herbert Brown (Norman Rossington), upper-class cad Miles Heywood (Terence Longdon), rock 'n' roller Andy Galloway (Gerald Campion), delicate flower Peter Golightly (Charles Hawtrey) and supercilious university graduate James Bailey (Kenneth Williams). His attempts seem doomed.

Mary is determined to spend her wedding night with her husband and smuggles herself into the depot to get a job in the NAAFI, a situation Charlie is eventually able to legitimise. Strong spends most of his time complaining to the Medical Officer, Captain Clark (Hattie Jacques). It is only the adoration of doe-eyed NAAFI girl Norah (Dora Bryan), which he initially rejects, that makes him realise his potential and inspires him to become a real soldier.

On the eve of the final tests, Grimshaw is in despair, but he is overheard bemoaning his lot to Copping. The squad decide to win the best platoon prize at all costs. On the day, they indeed beat the other platoons at all tasks and Grimshaw is awarded the cup for best platoon.
1958Personal Rating50Rotten CriticsNRRotten Audience50IMDb Rating63Combined Rating54.3

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