Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6: Allies Invade Normandy

Seventy years ago today, the Allied forces landed at the beaches of Normandy.

Ten years ago today, I started keeping track of dates that show up in movies.

On June 6, 2004, I heard a piece on CBC radio. Three film critics were talking about war films in general, and D-Day films in particular. Which gave me the idea of watching one that evening.

The film was good - I'd never seen it before - and so was the experience of seeing that day's calendar date echoed in the events onscreen.

Which got me thinking. It would be interesting to try and come up with a calendar of films containing events on specific dates. Not just historical films, but also - even especially - fiction.

In those days I was an active member of an online movie conversation board called Arts & Faith, so I started a thread asking people to add a post whenever they saw a specific date in a film. The date might be spoken, or shown onscreen. Or no explicit date is given in the film, but events can be dated by reference to historical events, or in relation to other known dates in the film.

Four years later (July 15, 2008) we had a film title for every date of the year - even February 29 and February 30! The list continued to be refined, with fiction films (or fictionalized treatments of historical events) replacing documentaries. In November 2009, John Drew set himself the task of creating a calendar where each date was represented by a different film.

I knew I wanted to do something with all those dates - maybe use screen captures to create a coffee table book, a day-timer, a blog, a wall calendar. But it wasn't until late in 2012 that the obvious idea occurred to me - why not capture the clips themselves and do something with them?

So I began the task of collating all the posts on the A&F "Movie Calendar" thread, adding other dates I had noted on random slips of paper, or found in books or articles. And searching the web for more. Then sourcing the videos. Then finding the specific clips that mention or show the date. Then ripping the clips. And now...

Ten years after the whole thing began, here we go! A clip a day, for the next year. Starting with something from the movie I watched a decade ago, on the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day.


Doug Cummings said...

Quite ambitious!

Ron Reed said...

Indeed. But thank goodness, they pulled it off!

Do you recognize the film, Doug?