The Light of Dawn - the Normandy Landings

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Ramiles, Feb 14, 2016.


What did you think?

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  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Not sure completely what to make of this, so I'd be interested to hear if any one else has seen it and has views?

    All the best,


    Ps. If you didn't "catch it" - it was on "Yesterday" (the channel that is ;) ) so there will no doubt be a repeat :P someday...

    Recently shown on UK "Yesterday" TV. So originally I assume a French TV production with an overdubbed British commentary.

    The Light of Dawn the Normandy Landings (in 2 parts)

    The story of the origins of the Normandy Landings, in summer 1941 – from when Churchill and Roosevelt first touched upon the issue – until touchdown on 6 June 1944. It also recounts the strategy Hitler used to prevent and thwart the landings. In addition to broaching military strategies, it also recounts this pivotal point in World War 2 from a geopolitical angle as well as from an economic angle.
  2. FreebirdUK

    FreebirdUK Member

    I found it very interesting, a little more about the French point of view. More footage of British and Commonwealth troops too which I like to see.
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I rather liked seeing a French perspective too :)

    I would like to see the "original" French version too - without the British commentary (i.e. subtitles) - as I wasn't sure if the British commentary was a direct translation of what the original documentary had said ;)

    Some of the maps (to me?) seemed to leave a bit to be desired. I will have to watch it again though to get a more "fuller" feeling.

    I did get a sense I was seeing some things I had not seen before, as well as hearing some things new (to me).

    Mostly archive, little (if any) new interviews with veterans etc. or the people who were there, which is increasingly hard to find these days I guess.

    Does make me wonder though how long a comprehensive documentary chronicling the subject would be - probably not enough time to cover the events from the Summer of 1941 until touchdown 6th June and beyond...

    ...but it seemed like a fairly "good effort" though ;)

    Here are some French (google translated) links:

    Le Monde

    6 juin 44, à la lumière de l'aube (Version in French)

    All the best,

  4. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    It was very watchable, with some interesting asides about how the cameramen operated in the battle zone.

    I didn't know, for instance, that the oft-shown footage of the Canadians landing on D-Day (where one soldier pats his mate reassuringly on the back as they line up to exit the landing craft) was shot by a fixed camera.

    I also thought the colourised film, although disliked by some, was excellent. How do they do that?
  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Having watched (much of the 1st part of) the version in French now it seemed to me that plenty of the original documentary had been directly translated into English, though the maps to me seemed to have been remade (and some of the detail there may have been lost in the “translation” so to speak).

    Some “interesting things (I think!) I picked out…

    Tanks on a train at 16mins.

    Tanks parked at 27mins.

    29mins – seemed to be discussing De Gaulles discontent re. the allies printing French Francs prior to D-day.

    Very poignant re. remembering the photographers and film crews actions there.

    31.54mins “wading” tanks passing MP’s.

    32.50 reversing on to the LSTs (tanks and trucks, jeeps etc.)

    c35mins – filming of life on the LSTs

    43.43 map (differed between the French and British versions?)

    53.50 map (differed between the French and British versions?)

    54.50 the fly past of allied planes – for the purposes of recognition etc.

    After that the filmed sections of the landing etc. (quite a different impression from "Saving Private Ryan") - a lot of people barely crouching, just walking along while shots and explosions are occurring fairly nearby.

    Lots of very rough seas too, and De Gaulle stupendous, a great actor, ignoring the camera and really dwarfing everyone else.

    Re. the colorised film - I guess a lot of colour film (from that era etc) is /was made with black and white film and sets of filters, before the result was painstakingly overlaid, via a technicolor process etc. so although they "had" colour film back then it was uncommon though not unheard of. Partly due to its expense and the bulkiness of the camera system and the amount of entailed processing that it required etc.

    Re. making entirely black and white as colour this is done these days with a computer (no more painstaking hand painting as in Lumiere* etc.) and a lot of effort telling the computer what exactly to do, and knowing basically what colour things should actually "be". It can sometimes make what might seem like a pretty flat 2d thing come more to "life" but sometimes it just makes things look more unreal - a bit like the "effect" in the Wizard of Oz. It still doesn't seem to do a particularly "great" job of flames and explosions etc. (IMO) and the colourised effect on Monty's cap badges looked a bit "unreal" - at least to me ;) and they seemed to have had one or two problems getting the colours in the Union Jack quite "right" at times :lol:



    Ps. "Playing darts with Hitler" at about 1hr 17mins was good ^_^
  6. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Just viewed the two parts of The Light Of Dawn (The Normandy Landings) and listened for mentions of Gold Beach (1) and 50th (Northumbrian) Division (0).

    However, there were shots of 50 Div at Pre-Embarkation Camp in the New Forest, on a ship on their way to 'Sword Beach' and two good clips of them 'entering Caen' from the east to finally capture/liberate the city. Well somebody had too.

    It is clear that they couldn't have been at Gold Beach as the Canadians were there and the latter obviously took Bayeax. The 50 Div obviously didn't (even though they did on D+1) as they took Omaha Beach/area (Saving Private Ryan obviously). This is all clear from the maps on display.

    So, thanks to this film we know that 50 Div landed on Sword Beach then captured Caen, even though they were in the area of Omaha Beach - none of which is correct - and yet again another so called 'historical' film that reduces Monty's reputation to zero'.

    Didn't think much to it at all as a historical piece, albeit the film footage was good...


  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Wasn’t too sure about the “history” in it either – hence my confusion on first seeing the British narrated version I guess.

    Another thing that struck me was that the British version appeared to be a bit more sanitised than that shown to the French, with some pretty gory scenes (mostly of animals actually) removed from the show as subsequently portrayed on UK tv. Might have been a watershed decision though, to get it into a format that they (Channel "Yesterday") could show at will during their usual programming i.e. so from midday and later evening repeats.

    It does convince me more and more though that history is made by those that chronicle it though, which is why it is all the more persuasive that different voices have to be heard, and the “facts” have to be debated and looked at from different points of view.

    In the British version (i.e. as narrated I guess from the French?) at one point it said something like Monty delayed the Armoured divisions for two days and that the British lacked "Bite"... :eek: :wink:

    i.e. when Monty “arrives” at about 1hr 3min 30secs in, so I was listening for the French translation of "lacks bite" - "manque de mordant" I guess? which I think they use at about 1hr 4mins in.

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