The Memphis Belle (April 13, 1944)
Released on April 13, 1944:Fly and Fight with the Crew on an Actual Bombing Mission Over Germany! This is a short (45min) documentary about the 25th and final bombing mission of the Memphis Belle, a 'Flying Fortress' B17, on November 7, 1943. All of the cast are actual soldiers, except for Eugene Kern, the narrator.
Directed by William Wyler
Written by Jerome Chodorov and Lester Koening.
The Actors: Jacob L. Devers (Commander of the European Theatre), Ira C. Eaker (Commander of the 8th Air Force), Haywood Hansell, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), Technical Sergeant Robert J. Hanson (radio operator on the Memphis Belle), Captain Charles B. Leighton (Navigator on the Memphis Belle), Technical Sergeant Harold P. Lock (Engineer and top turret gunner on the Memphis Belle), Staff Sergeant Casimer A. Nastal (19 year old waist gunner), Staff Sergeant John P. Quinlan, Staff Srgeant Cecil H. Scott (turrett gunnner and oldest crew member), Captain James A. Verinis (Co-pilot of the Memphis Belle), Staff Sergeant Clarence E. Winchell (waist gunner on the Memphis Belle), and Stanley Wray (group commander).
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This is a film made by the U.S. Department of War in 1944, at the height of World War II. It follows actual soldiers in the midst of battle on November 7, 1943. All of the cast are actual soldiers, except for Eugene Kern, the narrator. We follow the real, final combat mission of the Memphis Belle, a B-17 'Flying Fortress' bomber. If a bomber was able to complete 25 combat missions, it's crew had been deemed to have 'had enough' of the war, and they were allowed to quit the war and go home as heroes.
This is a fascinating, if sobering, look at the way war was waged almost a hundred years ago. Well worth the investment of 42 minutes of your time this day.