D-Day the Sixth of June: Koster’s WWII Romantic Drama, Starring Robert Taylor and Richard Todd

Henry Koster directed D-Day the Sixth of June, a romantic melodrama set in WWII made by 20th Century Fox. Produced by Charles Brackett from a screenplay by Ivan Moffat and Harry Brown, it was based on the novel, “The Sixth of June” by Lionel Shapiro.

Just hours before D-Day, Special Force Six embarks to destroy a German gun emplacement on the Normandy coast. As the ship steams towards it, the officers and men recall the circumstances that brought them there.

Captain Brad Parker (Robert Taylor), an American paratrooper invalided because of a broken leg (from a parachute jump) is sent to the European Theatre of Operations in London.

At the Red Cross club, he meets and falls in love with Valerie Russell (Dana Wynter), a Women’s Royal Army Corps subaltern. Valerie is the daughter of a crusty Brigadier who’s been on sick leave since being wounded at Dunkirk. Valerie is already in love with Captain John Wynter (Richard Todd) of the British Commandos, a friend of her father.

Both officers are posted overseas, but later return. Parker has volunteered to join the Special Force Six, to be led by his former commander, Lt. Colonel Timmer (Edmond O’Brien).  However, Timmer goes to pieces and, moreover, is arrested whilst drunk and breaking security.

Wynter, now a Colonel, who has recovered from being wounded, is brought in to command the operation. The operation is a success, despite several killed and wounded. Wynter is killed when he steps on a mine, and Parker is badly wounded. In the hospital, and due to be repatriated, he sees for the last time Valerie, who does not tell him that Wynter has been killed.

The film was made on the Fox backlot with naval scenes shot at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard whilst the beach landing was made at Point Dume California.

Unlike many war films D-Day the Sixth of June presents the viewpoints of British characters and features Canadian troops in action.

The movie was not very popular at the box-office.

Robert Taylor as Captain Brad Parker
Richard Todd as Lieutenant Colonel John Wynter
Dana Wynter as Valerie Russell
Edmond O’Brien as Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Timmer
John Williams as Brigadier Russell
Robert Gist as Major Dan Stenick
Richard Stapley as David Archer
Ross Elliott as Major Mills
Alex Finlayson as Colonel Doug Harkens


Directed by Henry Koster
Produced by Charles Brackett
Written by Harry Brown and Ivan Moffat, based on Lionel Shapiro (novel)
Music by Lyn Murray
Cinematography: Lee Garmes
Edited by William Mace
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date: May 29, 1956
Running time: 106 minutes


TCM showed the movie on March 22, 2020.