250Andrew Crampton and Marcus PowerMuch debate about SPR’s authenticity centred on scenes of the Omahabeach landings that opened the film in a 25-minute avalanche of gruesomemayhem, disorientation and death. Spielberg shot these scenes with a hand-held camera with overexposed film stock where the frames jitter about inimitation of actual WWII footage and with blood splattered on to the lensthe audience is made to feel the cameraman’s fear of being caught in thecrossfire. The intention was to draw the audience into the film, to take themto Omaha Beach, and let them experience warfare from a soldier’s perspec-tive. In filming these scenes Spielberg claims he ‘decided to play the role ofcombat cameraman more than a director’ and was ‘trying to get as close as Icould to the experience of what a combat soldier at Omaha Beach mightexperience’.31The result is certainly disorientation for the viewer and thecasualness and randomness of death is heightened by the fact that audi-ences had not yet been introduced to a single character and lack an ‘anchor’through which to view the unfolding carnage.32The sense of claustrophobiacreated here and the frenzied praying, vomiting and shaking (amongst thesoldiers on the beach) further underline this impression.With assistance from cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, Spielbergdesaturated the colours of the film in order to emphasize the pale greens ofthe uniforms and landscapes, the blue-grays of the water and skies and theflesh tones of the characters, whilst the red of blood leaps out of this con-text for stark contrast. Interestingly the audience’s own visual memories ofevents relating to WWII will have been largely drawn from newsreel foot-age of the times and so Spielberg finds his ‘authenticity’ by re-animating thatfootage in new ‘modern’ ways resulting in a kind of ‘ersatz documentary’style.33Spielberg has also said that he took inspiration from Robert Capa’sphotos of Omaha beach:There was terror in each frame … Each frame was blurry, shaky andmessed up, chaotic. They’re frightening to look at, horrifically kinetic,and each photograph told the entire story of what it was like to be incombat. I thought, Well, if I could do something like that at twenty-fourframes a second, that would be interesting.34As combat photos and archive newsreel footage have become theiconic symbol of the D-Day landings since the end of the war, Spielbergconforms the images of his film to fit our visual knowledge of those eventsand our own frames of reference, which come to audiences partly throughnewsreel and documentary footage. The effect of this strategy in the film ispowerful as the movie seeks to touch and align itself with the patriotic col-lective imagination.