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Memphis Belle

The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress is a 1944 documentary film which documents the last (25th) bombing run of the B-17 bomber Memphis Belle. The shots of the actual battle, as they happened, were done by cinematographer First Lieutenant Harold J. Tannenbaum[?], under the direction of William Wyler.

Although the movie was made under the auspices of the First Motion Picture Unit[?], a branch of the United States Army Air Corps, this is not a rah-rah paean to patriotism. It just shows the everyday courage of the men who manned these planes in wartime. The crew included:

  • Robert Morgan (pilot)
  • Captain Vincent B. Evans (bombadier and chin turret operator)
  • Technical Sergeant Robert J. Hanson (radio operator)
  • Arthur Kennedy (crewman) (probably the other waist or the tail gunner, as these 2 positions are unfilled)
  • Captain Charles B. Leighton (navigator)
  • Technical Sergeant Harold P. Loch (engineer and top turret gunner)
  • Staff Sergeant Casimer A. Nastal (waist gunner)
  • Staff Sergeant Cecil H. Scott (bottom(?) turrett gunner)
  • Captain James A. Verinis (co-pilot)

A fictionalized version of the story was made as Memphis Belle in 1990. It stars Matthew Modine[?], Eric Stoltz[?], Tate Donovan[?], D.B. Sweeney[?], Billy Zane[?], Sean Astin, Harry Connick Jr.[?] and Reed Diamond[?]. It was written by Monte Merrick[?] and directed by Michael Caton-Jones[?].

In 2001 the United States Library of Congress deemed the original version "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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