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Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 01:04 PM
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The Story Behind Saving Private Ryans Epic Omaha Beach Scene


Steven Spielberg is often accused of being too sentimental, but that notion is pretty much obliterated by Saving Private Ryanís opening scene, a half-hour crucible in which we witness Allied soldiers storm Omaha beach on D-Day. Spielberg cedes little of the screen to acts of heroism or bravery, instead submitting viewers to an uncomfortably realistic barrage of bodies falling, drowning, blowing up, or otherwise being torn apart. Itís perhaps the most lauded scene of his career, and the latest installment of CineFixís ďArt of the SceneĒ series supplies some key insights as to how the director and his crew crafted such an epic set piece.

Maybe the biggest takeaway here: Spielberg didnít storyboard the scene. Thatís out of character for the director, and especially peculiar given how intricate the sequence is, but it also explains much of what makes it so good: The improvisational method allowed Spielberg to find the shots that most accurately evoked the brutality of war.
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