In 1944, director William Wyler flew with the crew of the Memphis Belle, a B-17 crew who flew over 30 bombing missions over Nazi Germany, on their final mission. Wyler and his crew filmed the final flight and the Memphis Belle's journey home in his documentary The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress. Years later, Erik Nelson took the fading 16mm film and remastered it. He traveled the country and interviewed the last survivors of the 8th Air Force who flew B-17's over Germany during World War II. I caught this film at the American Film Institute Film Festival in Los Angeles last week. It was Veterans Day and the crowd was filled with an air of respect.<br/><br/>The film recalls a youthfulness that, more often than not, died on foreign soil. Nelson and his crew remastered the colors and converted the 16mm footage to 4K so that the the film could be viewed in 16:9 widescreen. The original documentary footage had no sound, so Nelson flew on actual B-17s to capture authentic audio. The final product spins a tale that truly captures the fear and inhumanity witnessed by B-17 veterans. The throaty turbines rumble over the air while deep flack shreds both wing and wingman. The veteran interviewees' voices ring true. There is power in their voice despite the fragility of their age. These men truly were the greatest generation. Their tales will soon be all that survives.
The Cold Blue
The Cold Blue
In 1943, director William Wyler crafted 'Memphis Belle,' a tribute to the titular WWII bomber. Using footage from the National Archives shot by Wyler and his team, director Erik Nelson has created a new film, featuring narration from some of the last surviving B-17 pilots.
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