The trailer for The Longest Day calls this one of the most ambitious films ever made and I think that is still true today. It would take multiple posts to write about everything there is to write about with this film. Instead, I am going to write about a few of my favorite performers in the film (look at that cast list; it’s insane!). You can read a lot about the production of the film here. I used to love this movie when I was a kid and was lucky enough to see it on the big screen at the TCM Film Festival in 2012 (first thing in the morning, too!). If you ever get a chance to see it on the big screen, don’t miss it! It’s amazing. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two: Best Film Editing, Best B&W Art Direction, Best B&W Cinematography (won), Best Special Effects and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were: The Music Man, Mutiny on the Bounty, To Kill a Mockingbird and winner Lawrence of Arabia.
The 1956 film Giant is one of my favorite films of all time. George Stevens won the Best Director Oscar that year and the film was nominated for a total of nine awards – Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design – Color, Best Art Direction – Color, Best Supporting Actress – Mercedes McCambridge (she won the award for 1949’s All The King’s Men), Best Actor Rock Hudson, Best Actor James Dean (this was his second posthumous nomination in a row) and Best Picture. It lost to Around The World In 80 Days. I recently watched that film and I would say there is no way it is a better film than Giant. The other nominated films were Friendly Persuasion, The King and I and The Ten Commandments. Last week I also watched Gigi which beat Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in 1959, another year where the winner is in no way as good as some of its competition. I think the reason 80 Days won is because it’s a giant Technicolor travelogue, and 60 years ago it was filled with images that many people didn’t get to see in everyday life, whereas today all you have to do is flip to the Travel Channel. But if you compare the stories and the performances and the lasting power of the films, Giant is a classic in every definition of the word and is just as compelling now as it was in 1956 and 80 Days is most definitely not.