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Tue Dec 25, 2012, 07:46 PM

Holiday viewing: ‘The Memphis Belle’ follows the famous U.S. bomber

Even for a film designed to be a morale-booster, William Wyler’s 1944 documentary The Memphis Belle won unusually high praise after its’ release; the New York Times published a glowing review of the film, calling it “a story that every American should know.”

The documentary follows the crew — officially part of the U.S. Air Force’s 324th Squadron, 91st Heavy Bomber Unit — through not only its preparations, but actual bombing missions, thanks to Wyler installing cameras at various points on the aircraft. The Belle‘s pilot, Col. Robert Morgan, wrote in his memoirs that it was also at least a year in the making, since Wyler had first proposed the idea of filming his crew’s missions in 1943, after it completed its eighth bombing run.

Morgan and his crew would go on to complete 25 missions in Europe, a first for American heavy bombers. And the Times got its wish: Not only was the Memphis Belle the subject of a 1990 feature film, but Wyler’s effort was deemed “historically significant” by the Library of Congress in 2001, and placed in the National Film Registry.

Watch the documentary, as posted at the Internet Archive, below.

Raw Story (http://s.tt/1xDkp)

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Reply Holiday viewing: ‘The Memphis Belle’ follows the famous U.S. bomber (Original post)
Playinghardball Dec 2012 OP
liberal N proud Dec 2012 #1
aint_no_life_nowhere Dec 2012 #2

Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 07:48 PM

1. I will have to share that with a friend who loves this stuff

Thanks

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 10:21 PM

2. My father couldn't watch it more than once

My dad was a B-17 copilot whose plane was strafed and shot down over Germany. His plane was the Mary Ruth, personally covered by John Steinbeck when he was a war correspondent in England and mentioned in Steinbeck's book of war memoirs Once There Was A War. The plane caught fire and several crew members were trapped in the rear section as the plane went down. My dad tried to get them out but the plane was about to blow up. He parachuted out and landed on and went through the roof of a barn, breaking both legs. German soldiers then arrived and shot him in the hip as he dangled from his harness. He was taken to a prisoner’s hospital for surgery where they put pins in his legs and then to POW camp Stalag Luft III. The bones in his thighs and hips never healed and he had to wait until after the war to get an operation that let him walk again.

My dad had terrible nightmares many of the nights of his life where he cried out “no, no, no” and screamed. It was really bad after he watched this documentary on the Memphis Belle that I talked him into watching. He didn’t like to talk about it but once he mentioned that some nights he was back in his B-17 taking bullets from passing fighters and feeling his burning skin and lungs as the plane caught fire and started going down. He could hear the screams of some of the crew getting burned alive. Most of the time he avoided war movies, air museums, and conversations about his experience.

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