D-Day the Sixth of June (1956)
A Different D-Day
40 minutes ahead of the main D-Day attack Special Force Six is sent ahead for a secret mission. Aboard the boat are two men Lt. Col. John Wynter (Richard Todd) and Capt. Brad Parker (Robert Taylor) who have an unusual connection, Valerie Russell (Dana Wynter). Valerie had been John's girl and then he was sent overseas to fight whilst she went to London to work with the American Red Cross. It was whilst there she met married American Capt. Brad Parker and despite trying to remain true to John started an affair.
"D-Day the Sixth of June" is a solidly shot wartime romance, nicely shot with an appealing cast but I didn't like it for a lot of reasons. Firstly there is the title "D-Day the Sixth of June" which to be honest is probably very clever in suggesting some sort of destination day for the love triangle between John, Brad and Valerie but makes it sound like a war movie about the D-Day landings. In fact it is very misleading if you are in the habit of watching movies without bothering to read reviews or plot lines prior to watching. Having said that the final 20 minutes features some solid war action, you just have to get through an hour and a half of romantic melodrama first.
Now as to that romantic melodrama well "D-Day the Sixth of June" is a movie which relies on us connecting with and feeling for the characters. We are meant to understand that Valerie and Brad ended up in each others arms as circumstances brought them together as two lonely people in London and feel for them. The trouble is that connection is never made, we don't fall in love with them and don't care about them enough so that when things do finally come to ahead and Brad and John find themselves together on the same dangerous mission we do not have a favourite we want to come out alive.
Part of the problem with this lack of connection is the acting and unfortunately whilst Robert Taylor is handsome and Dana Wynter is attractive there is no believable chemistry between them. And because the majority of the movie focuses upon them falling for each other Taylor is not than convincing as a soldier either. Fairing better is Richard Todd who having participated in the D-Day landings feels like he is drawing on personal experiences, unfortunately he is not in the movie that much.
But here is what really annoyed me about "D-Day the Sixth of June" because in theory it is a British war movie, set in Britain but made by Hollywood and full of Hollywood attitude. What I mean by that is at times it makes out the British to be idiots who hadn't got a clue and worse is the insultingly apologetic speech which Valerie gives to explain her father's attitude and dislike of Americans. It is simply too much and borders on the insulting.
What this all boils down to is that "D-Day the Sixth of June" just didn't do it for me and found it not only misleading but also insulting. I am sure back in the 50s it probably appealed to some but now it feels incredibly weak.
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