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D-Day the Sixth of June

D-Day, the Sixth of June

We start off right in the middle of a battle. One of the men seem a little distracted, thinking about his girl back at home. This man is the American colonel John Wynter, who's engaged to Valerie, but was forced to leave for battle. Then we cut to another man, Brad Parker. As it turns out he has a connection with Val as well, having an affair with her while John is away. Who will be able to keep Valerie's heart in their hand at the end?

This movie has gotten some flack due to not really having much to do with D-Day, despite what the title suggests. However, since I had read up on this beforehand I was willing to give the movie a shot just as a romance drama instead. How well does it work?

To start with the positives, Dana Wynter has a delightful innocence to her that makes her very charming. Robert Taylor is all right. Not a groundbreaking performance, but he and Wynter have a solid chemistry together.

My favorite scenes however involve Col. Alexander Timmer. He's a fascinating blend between bravado and a sense of underlying anxiety, trying to put on a hard, cocky surface while having to deal with sheer horror every time he's out on the battlefield. It's hinted that he might be an alcoholic since he always mixes vodka in with his coffee. The banter between him and Brad is enjoyable, and although his exit from the film is rather underwhelming I still got to develop a good deal of empathy for this guy.

John Williams as Val's father Russell doesn't have much screentime, and his development is told more than it's shown, but he has a solid presence with the little material he gets.

The tone is generally pleasant and light despite the background of a brutal war, with a romance that doesn't seem to contain much conflict. And that's where the problems start.

While this makes for an easy watch the story really would have benefited from some higher stakes. Brad and Valerie are both married, yet from how little they fret about the nature of their relationship you never feel any tension through most of it. Dana seems completely enamored with John at the beginning, yet later on she says she's just with John to make him feel secure, suggesting she doesn't love him deep down. This doesn't make much sense. If we had been shown earlier that the relationship between them is flawed this would've been easier to buy into.

WARNING: spoilers below
What's worse is that Brad is married himself, yet we never see his wife at all. The only thing we learn is that she becomes aware at some point he's cheating on her. I feel like they made his wife a shadow figure so he wouldn't come off as unlikable, but it also makes his character more shallow.

When John eventually returns home you think things are finally gonna get dramatic as he finds out about Val cheating on him, but the filmmaker seems unwilling to focus on his feelings too much as we only get a mild shocked expression on his face, even becoming friends with Brad by the end.

These nagging issues take away from the emotional impact when Valerie makes her choice to stay with John instead of Brad. It's a shame since Wynter does a great job at depicting her inner torment having to make such a difficult decision. It highlights how much more heartbreaking this could've been if the story would've had a bit more depth throughout.

Overall, I end up having mixed feelings about this movie. If your standards are not too high and you just want a good ol' cheesy romance this might do the trick, and for the most part I can still say I had a decent time watching this. Still, it's hard not to think about the opportunities missed.