The dead, the crippled and the lost

The title of this post comes courtesy of Richard Burton. He says it at the end of The Longest Day. While we were away John and Darren were dismayed that I’d never seen the film. I was told to rectify the situation as soon as I could.

So naturally, being the sort of fellow who does what he is told, I downloaded it to my phone and started watching on the train home from Ashford. I finished it this morning on the way to Portsmouth.

It might be because I was just there, a tourist of the Normandy landings, but I thought that the film was superb.

I loved the depictions of the people and the events that really happened. Had I not known that these people were real I would have thought the performances were a bit cheesy. Particular John Wayne (who I’ve never liked much except as the Centurion in The Greatest Story Ever Told) but the guy he played, Benjamin H. Vandervoort, he fitted to a tee.

In a film with many, many terrific moments, a particular favourite for me was when the French soldier said he was going to get a tank. He managed to evade German bullets and bombs and returned in a tank with which he completely destroyed the casino in Ouistreham. I’m sure quite a few people would love to do the same.

I also loved Robert Mitchum’s ever present yet never lit, cigar.

So, thank you John, thank you Darren and, most of all, thank you Richard Burton for such a succinct definition of the pointlessness of war. I can only hope that Brexit doesn’t sink us back into a mire of murderous conflict that sees no winners.

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