It’s Monday again and only two more days of March left! I can’t say I’m sorry to see it go; March weather always gives me a headache with its “snow today, sunny tomorrow, windy the next,” etcetera ad infinitum. I really do have a headache, which sucks. It started last night, and was still here when I woke up this morning. That’s never good. So I think the blog post is gonna be short today; it’s just too hard to concentrate when my skull is throbbing.
Have y’all kept busy this weekend? For myself, I spent it reading and surfing the Interwebz, looking for good material to share with you. I found more than you might imagine, enough to keep me busily typing right up into summer. I think this is a good thing. Your mileage may vary.
So anyway, let’s move on to the last installment on my WWII frenzy. Now some of you may think this is a strange recommendation. But I’m gonna talk about a rather obscure little TV movie called “Ike: Countdown to D-Day.” This little flick starred Tom Salleck as General Eisenhower, and was produced for the American A&E channel in 2004. It was generally well received by the public; there was some quibbling about historical errors (which ships actually took part in which part of which landing, that sort of thing. There’s a brief list of them here).
You know the basic story. This follows General Dwight Eisenhower for the three months leading up to D-Day. It starts with him being appointed Supreme Commander by Winston Churchill, and ends the night of the first day of the landing at Normandy, after the first waves of soldiers have hit the beaches, and the battle is engaged. It’s not about shooting; not a gun goes off through the whole movie. It’s about what happened behind the scenes, so to speak: the alliance between Eisenhower and Churchill, an alliance they had to have to make this happen; the political maneuvering that is inevitable when you have half a dozen generals, all of them as full of ego and confidence (arrogance? maybe) and opinions that are part and parcel with rising to such a high rank in the military; the dirty, difficult decisions that had to be made.
I know, I know. There are lots more movies out there that deserve my attention more than this little flick that nobody’s heard of, probably. But I like this one.
Lookit, stories are always about people. Any chapped-ass monkey with an internet connection can pull up the facts about the landing on D-Day. Who landed where, how many soldiers, where were the Germans, blah blah blah. But what I want to know is, what did Private Joe Jordan from Crapdoodle, Arkansas feel as he saw the beaches and heard the shooting? What did the Lieutenant Bob Berkeley from Bristol do when his little landing craft was hit by shelling and started to founder? What went through the mind of the Major Alvin Albright do when he sent a company of men into hell, and knew that every death was his responsibility?
That’s what I like about this movie. They do a great job of depicting Eisenhower and the decisions that he had to make, how it must have weighed on him. I was never a big fan of Tom Salleck. I didn’t have anything particularly against him, but I think I only saw two episodes of Magnum PI (not really my speed), and the one movie I saw him in (Quigley Down Under) I didn’t like. But in this movie he blew me away. He was GOOD. The idea is to sympathize with the character, right? To feel his pain along with him? Yeah, you feel it with Tom as he plays General Eisenhower. You feel the weight he is carrying, you hurt for him with every death, every blow to their plans, knowing that he’s carrying a terrible responsibility. In this movie, he’s not just some guy you read about in history class; he’s a real person, who makes jokes and has arguments and is forced to make the most difficult decisions of his life, sending thousands of men to their deaths.
I told you it was gonna be short today. I think I’m going to leave off here. You know the routine: share, comment, tweet. If you wanna talk, or you have a recommendation for Fun Friday, give me a shout at ajwriter-at-ajclarkson-dot-net. And I think that’s it. I’ll see y’all on Wednesday. Until then, be good, and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught!