June 6, 1944. 150,000 soldiers, 5,000 ships and 11,000 airplanes. One man's decision. The D-Day invasion - the largest military operation of World War II and the beginning of the end - marked Dwight Ike Eisenhower as one of America's most powerful military leaders. IKE: COUNTDOWN TO D-DAY follows the 90 terrifying days leading up to the invasion as Eisenhower decides the fates of thousands of soldiers while managing complex strategic relationships with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, American General George S. Patton, Britain's Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery and French President Charles de Gaulle. It was a time of no guarantees and certainly no second chances. In this climate, one man, Dwight Eisenhower, pulled the world's leaders together for one of history's most infamous battles.
Tom Selleck gives a restrained yet powerful performance as General Dwight D. Eisenhower in Ike: Countdown to D-Day. This made-for-cable feature focuses on the solemn, brilliant but plain-speaking Ike as he fine-tunes, over 90 days, tactical and political concerns involved with the Allies' imminent D-Day invasion of Normandy, i.e., America and Britain's long-awaited joint assault against Nazi-occupied Europe. A strong cast--James Remar as General Omar Bradley, Timothy Bottoms as Ike's assistant, Walter Bedell "Beetle" Smith--anchors the film's mesmerizing, blow-by-blow account of Eisenhower's leadership under the shadow of many uncertainties (predicting the weather for D-Day becomes a suspenseful refrain) and pressure from conflicting egos (Montgomery, DeGaulle, Patton). Ian Mune is a delight as a wary, darkly bemused Churchill, who encourages Ike's strategy of supreme leadership and low-key diplomacy. The script by Lionel Chetwynd (DC 9/11: Time of Crisis) captures the unbearable tension of commencing the invasion--and awaiting the results. --Tom Keogh