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D-Day the Sixth of June

(1956 c 106')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Based on Lionel Shapiro’s novel, a British colonel is in love with a Red Cross worker. When he is off fighting, a married American captain falls in love with her too. Both men attack the French coast on D-Day.

         Special Force Six is on a ship that will leave before the half million men who are ready to go on June 6, 1944. Lt. Col. John Wynter (Richard Todd) urges his men to be bold and wishes them good luck. Captain Brad Parker (Robert Taylor) gives an order to Sgt. Tom Brooks about the landing. Brad asks John if she told him, and he says she did. John thinks back to 1942.

         A driver drops off Captain John Wynter, who tells him to get a beer. John is welcomed by Brig Russell (John Williams) and by Valerie Russell (Dana Winter) with a kiss. John says he broke out of a convoy. He volunteered for a company that is going off soon. Brig Russell says he is waiting for a division. John asks permission to walk with Valerie to a pub. They hear a German bomber. As they walk, Valerie tells John she has been ordered to London. He says he will need her while he is gone. She says she needs him too just as much. They kiss. She is glad there is a moon, and he tells her to look at the same moon as he will. John gets in the car and is driven off.

         On the ship at sea Col. Wynter walks up stairs. Brad is asked how long he has been in England, and he says two years and three months. He remembers too. He had a staff job in London and a pretty wife back home. He hears an air raid siren but does not see any planes. Raymond Boyce (Jerry Paris) tells him in daytime it does not mean much more than one plane. They hear the all-clear, and Raymond takes him to headquarters of the European theater of operations, United States Army, his new home. Brad reports to Lt. Col. Alexander Timmer (Edmond O’Brien), and he meets Col. Cantrell. Timmer asks Brad if he can keep his mouth shut, and he says he can. Brad says he is staying with Boyce, and Timmer warns him not to tell him anything. Brad takes a taxi. Brig Russell asks for the names of some Americans he disapproves of, and a soldier hits him.

         In an office Major Mills (Ross Elliott) gets a call and tells Brad to go with him. Mills tries to find out who hit the old man, and he sends the group of air men back to their base. Mills takes Brad into the home of Brig Russell, and he offers his regrets and says they will charge the man. He offers to pay any claim. Brig asks him why his men are allowed to use vile language in their village. Brig Russell says he hit the man first. Brad says he is an air man there to fight. They decline a glass of sherry, and Brig Russell asks them to leave. Outside Valerie Russell apologizes for her father, who was wounded at Dunkirk. She says he has been through two wars. She says most of them want to make them feel welcome. She asks the Major not to punish those men.

         Brad sees Valerie on a crowded train. She says she is working for the American Red Cross, and they sit down. He thanks her for what she said yesterday. She asks if the Americans like to be liked. He offers her a cigarette, and three others ask for one too. She asks if he thinks they are green with envy for the Americans, and he says you do not respect us, which is ugly. He asks her to call him Brad, and she asks him to call her Valerie, not Val, which someone else calls her. He says he is married, but he has no children. He invites her to dinner, and she says he is kind.

         At her desk Valerie tells an American to enjoy the show. Brad arrives and takes her to a nice restaurant with a man playing violin. She tells him the steak was horsemeat. She tells Brad she likes him, and he asks her to dance. He asks her what is the matter, and she asks him not to call her “Honey.” As they say goodnight, he asks to see her again on Friday, and she agrees.

         At home Raymond asks Brad if his wife expects him to be faithful. Raymond says he runs around with women there, but he will go home to his wife. A pretty woman comes in and embraces Raymond.

         Brad and Valerie drink beer by the harbor and wonder where a big ship is going. She asks about his wife, but he apparently does not want to talk about Janie. He asks her why she mentioned her, and she says it makes her feel safe. They see a newspaper, and she is concerned that John may have been killed. He notices the moon, and she hopes he will be looking at it. Brad says he will be back in a couple years. They hear an air raid siren, and she asks to go home. In her house she pulls down the shades, and she asks him to go because he is not a stranger anymore.

         At his desk Raymond tells Brad to call her. Timmer tells Brad he expects work out of him. Brad goes to the Red Cross center and asks for Miss Russell. She smiles and says she had wonderful news. He says that now they can trust each other not to see each other, he invites her out, and she accepts. At his office Timmer tells Brad they are going on a trip, and no one must know. Brad asks if he can cancel his dinner date, and Timmer says no. They go in a car, and Timmer asks if he knows about Operation Jubilee. They are officially going on the assault as observers, but Timmer is going in with the Canadians. Timmer is hoping to get promoted. They meet Col. Harkens. Timmer puts on a helmet and boards the small boat that is going to France. Brad looks at his watch. Valerie is in her office.

         Brad looks at the casualty list. A woman asks Valerie if her boyfriend was on the Dieppe raid. At a dock Brad tells Col. Timmer he is glad to see him. They get in a car. Timmer says he never got on shore. Their boat was hit, and the men were mashed up. He says the artillery was deadly, and they were being machine-gunned. They stop for a drink. They are only allowed one each, and Brad gives his to Timmer, who says he was at Dieppe. A reporter asks where he works, and Brad suggests they go.

         Valerie calls and asks for Captain Parker. She asks Raymond if Brad was on the Dieppe raid. She asks him to give Brad a message. Valerie is in bed and hears a car. She gets up, puts on a robe, and goes downstairs. Brad is there. She says she is glad, and they kiss.

         Brad arrives at the office, and Raymond reads an article that mentions Timmer. Brad asks to see Timmer and asks him for his back leave. Brad hopes the news will not do any harm. Timmer says the story does the army good. Timmer says no one gets leave yet. Col. Canter comes in, and Timmer congratulates him. After the North Africa invasion, Brad gets leave.

         Brad and Valerie are told they have no adjoining rooms, and their rooms are on different floors. They walk by the ocean where she used to live. They embrace and kiss in the rain. They run under a roof and sit on a bench. She asks if they are sinners, and he says she is the most beautiful sinner in the war. She says she is cold, and there is a fire in her room. They notice the North Africa invasion went well, and he says John volunteered.

         Timmer tells his men that the team is busted up. They get their orders, and Raymond says he is in London. Timmer says he is in movement control to be buried. Brad says he is going to Allied force headquarters in Algiers. Brad asks if he can get transferred into combat; but Timmer says Brad has limited service because he broke his leg jumping.

         At home Brad gets a call to leave that day, and Raymond tells him to leave her a note. Brad stops at the Red Cross office, and he is told that Valerie’s father killed himself because he was turned down by the war office.

         In Algiers mail is given out, and Brad gets a letter. Valerie wrote that John was wounded and is in a hospital in London. Brad meets his old friend, Dan Stenick (Robert Gist), and he notices he is a major. Brad says he wants to get back to London, and Stenick tells him about a force under Timmer.

         Valerie meets Brad at the train station, and they embrace. He says he is home and does not have to report for ten days. At her home he says he dreamed of being there. Valerie asks him if she knows, and he says she does not mention it in her letters; but she knows. She asks him to kiss her.

         John is on a plane with the wounded that is landing in London. Brad walks into a party, and Raymond says he is the guest of honor. Stenick asks Brad when he reports to Timmer. Brad says he has four more days. Valerie arrives, and Raymond tells Stenick that both are overboard.

         Lt. Col. John Wynter comes into the Red Cross center and asks for Miss Russell. A woman says she went out with her boyfriend Brad. John says not to bother her, but a woman calls her. At the party in Boyce’s apartment Valerie takes the call and learns that John left. Valerie tells Brad she has to go to him. He offers to take her, but she says no. He asks her what she will tell him. She kisses Brad and leaves.

         John is walking on the street, and Valerie finds him. She asks why he did not wait. She says she will take him home in the taxi. He says he loves her.

         Brad is training for combat under Timmer, who is glad he reported for duty early. He tells him to come to an officers meeting. He shows them a map of the coast and says they must take the high ground before the main body of ships arrive. In a car Timmer says they can crack the nut at Angel Point. They are going to an intelligence meeting in London. They are told the place is well fortified. Timmer tells Brad to meet him at 21 hundred.

         Brad finds Valerie and embraces her. She says they can go to the tea shop for a few minutes. He says when they are away, he sees her face. He says he will always remember her. He says he does not want to give her up after the war. She says she is with John now. He has been waiting for her for two years. She tells Brad to go home. He does not believe this is how she wants it. He says he loves her and will come back; he will not give her up. He pays the waitress.

         Brad learns that Timmer was picked up for talking about the operation with details, mentioning Angel Point. The officers order Brad to say that Timmer was stricken with appendicitis.

         Lt. Col. John Wynter comes in and tells Brad and the others that he is in command of the operation. He meets Major Stennick, Captain Parker, and the others.

         They are on the ship, and landing craft are being lowered. The five boats head toward the coast at dawn. They cut barb wire on the beach, and German soldiers hear a warning and prepare. They climb up a steep hill, and the Germans begin shooting at them. They use mortars. Brad sees a machine gun and sends a message to Col. Wynter that they are pinned down. Wynter sends Brad with men around to the right. They throw hand grenades, and then Brad orders them to go. He shoots several Germans and then is shot in the stomach. Wynter orders some men to advance and then orders firing. He is shot in the left arm but continues shooting with his right hand.

         Valerie hears planes and sees many in the sky. Brad is laying on the beach and is told he had his war. Stenick is dead. The medic gives Brad a shot and says he will be home soon. He asks about Col. Wynter, who is going home too. Wynter stops the stretcher and tells Brad it was good work. They wish each other good luck. A soldier warns Wynter to watch out for mines; but he keeps walking, and a mine explodes under him.

         Brad arrives on a stretcher, and he asks a woman to take a message to Valerie that he and Wynter were both roughed up.

         At home Valerie is told about John. At work she gets a call. She goes to see Brad in a hospital. She says they are shipping him home. He remembers how she said he would be happy going home. He says she was right. He was talking to John and says it is right. She says she is grateful. He says she will be happy with John. He asks how he is, and she says he is still wonderful. She tells him to shut up. He says he will always remember her eyes. A doctor says he has to change bandages. She says goodbye and kisses him before she goes. She walks away alone.

         This romantic war drama portrays an English woman in love with an English officer; but while he is off fighting, she cannot help falling in love with an American officer. Though both are being unfaithful to their partners, somehow the war situation makes it seem understandable.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

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