In 1943, Hollywood director and now Major William Wyler and his team shot nineteen hours of aerial combat footage obtained over five combat missions in World War 2 from which of the famous movie “The Memphis Belle” was created. That movie used approximately forty- four minutes of that collected film. Ultimately, all of that film was placed in storage at the National Archives and Records Administration and over time, faded in quality.
In 2018, documentary film maker Erik Nelson in cooperation with NARA remastered that film using 4K technology and applied that to a remastering of the original William Wyler “Memphis Belle” movie. Realizing that there was wealth of information and history in the residual outtakes, Nelson conceived another documentary using not only some of the remastered film but also veterans of that conflict to appear and do voice overs for the film. This resulted in enlisting ten veterans who served in each of the B-17 Flying Fortress crew stations who would amplify and complement the narrative of the original “Memphis Belle” movie. Their sense of loss of comrades is easily felt. Both films show the horror and emotions of men in combat that serve as a lesson for any period in time.
The Cold Blue is available to view on HBO Max.