Monday, July 30, 2018

'Saving Private Ryan' Premiered 20 Years Ago This Week

Here's an excellent, I mean really excellent piece, at LAT, "'Saving Private Ryan' at 20: How Spielberg's vivid D-Day story changed war movies forever":

The Omaha Beach sequence was naturally the most challenging scene in the film. Baby boomer audiences had previously seen the 1962 version of the battle in Darryl F. Zanuck’s “The Longest Day.” However, it was shot from a distance, and Spielberg was determined to put his cameras right in the surf as the men came ashore.

Before shooting began, the director spoke with author Stephen E. Ambrose, considered one of the top World War II historians in the country. Says Spielberg, “Stephen Ambrose gave me contact information for some of the veterans who had actually stormed Omaha and Utah Beach on June 6th — he had interviewed a lot of them for his book ‘Citizen Soldiers’ — and I met with a couple of them.

“I remember one of the guys telling me the entire charge up the beach was a blur — not a blur to his memory, because he still remembered every single grain of sand when he had his face buried in it from that fusillade raining down on them from above. But he described how everything was not in focus for him. And he described the sounds, and he described the vibrations of every concussion of every 88 shell that hit the beach, which gave some of them bloody noses, rattled their ears. The ground would come up and slam into their faces from the concussions.”

Also, Kenneth Turan's original movie review, "Review: Spielberg's 'Saving Private Ryan' is a raw and powerful work that overcomes a conventional script."