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Four new home video releases commemorate D-Day

Reviews of ”The Longest Day,” ”D-Day: The Sixth of June,” ”Patton,” and ”Twelve O’Clock High”

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Four new home video releases commemorate D-Day

Few dates were more pivotal in fixing the fate of the world in this century than June 6, 1944 — the day the Allies began the invasion of Normandy, the most mammoth land, sea, and air operation in history. To commemorate (and cash in on) the 50th anniversary, Fox has remastered four long-popular (and just plain long) movies relating to D-Day for home video.

The incredible scope and sweep of The Longest Day place this three-hour film far ahead of the others despite some script clich´s and character stereotypes. Its parade of dramatic vignettes (featuring John Wayne, Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda, Rod Steiger, and many, many more stars) is fast-moving, dramatically on-target, and searingly realistic during the battle scenes. In addition to the original black-and-white epic, Fox is releasing for the first time an exceptionally well-done colorized version. B+

D-Day: The Sixth of June has its original color, along with taut invasion action and lots of war-movie heroics, but the story line spends too much time on routine romantic flashbacks involving star Robert Taylor. C-

The seesaw battles right after D-Day figure in the last quarter of Patton, appropriately subtitled ”Lust for Glory” for foreign showings. George C. Scott’s Oscar-winning portrait of the megalomaniacal warrior general is still the glue holding together this blunt study of war as the ultimate human (and dehumanizing) game. B

While not specifically a D Day movie, Twelve O’Clock High focuses on the dangerous air missions that helped cripple Germany in the years before the invasion. Gregory Peck commands this hardheaded depiction of the high human price of wartime glory. B+