Thursday, May 17, 2007

Your History event of note for the day...

1943 : The Memphis Belle flies its 25th bombing mission

On this day in 1943, the crew of the Memphis Belle, one of a group of American bombers based in Britain, becomes the first B-17 crew to complete 25 missions over Europe.

The Memphis Belle performed its 25th and last mission, in a bombing raid against Lorient, a German submarine base. But before returning back home to the United States, film footage was shot of Belle's crew receiving combat medals. This was but one part of a longer documentary on a day in the life of an American bomber, which included dramatic footage of a bomber being shot out of the sky, with most of its crew parachuting out, one by one. Another film sequence showed a bomber returning to base with its tail fin missing. What looked like damage inflicted by the enemy was, in fact, the result of a collision with another American bomber.

The Memphis Belle documentary would not be released for another 11 months, as more footage was compiled to demonstrate the risks these pilots ran as they bombed "the enemy again and again and again-until he has had enough." The film's producer, Lieutenant Colonel William Wyler, was known for such non-military fare as The Letter, Wuthering Heights, and Jezebel.

A fictional film about the B-17, called Memphis Belle, was released in 1990, starring John Lithgow, Matthew Modine, and Eric Stoltz.

Big ups to the men that flew in WWII. Big freakin ups. When I was in college, one of my favorite professors flew the B-24 in WWII. Damn that man had some great stories to tell. They were truly unique. You will never see a total war like WWII again where there are 2500 bombers and fighter escorts in the air at a time. It's all precision this and laser guided that from here on out. And thats cool cause it saves lives. These guys did it the hard way, with bullets and flak pounding their asses every minute they were over target. Big freakin ups.

I watched the Memphis Bell when it came out. Not a bad flick. Check it out if you get the chance. As far as war movies go, its not so graphic that you can't watch it with your girly. Plus Harry Connick Jr sings in it and probably has one of the better supporting characters in a war flick. Just what you think a Naw'lens dude would be like.


FOB = Friend of Salisbury (bury) said...

Good Morning WIT,
I'm stealing your HTTPS: so I can keep up with you easier.
Nice piece on the Memphis Belle. All those boys who flew B17's had much larger nuts than Albero will ever have!

Pat said...

I'd say the 1990 version was somewhat graphic. They did have that nasty windshield scene. But then there was the part where the guy falls out of the front of the plane next to them, and that was one of the most faked-looking special-effects I've ever seen. Like someone pushing an action figure off a little ledge.

The original = definitely better.

FOB = Friend of Salisbury (bury) said...

I agree, but movies are just that movies.
Ask the few that are left about the truth of what happened over the skys of Germany. You'll get that real far away stare. It's eerie.

Historical Wit said...

I would have to agree Pat, but at the same time, it wasn't like Saving Private Ryan or Platoon. I usually try ot avoid war flicks with attached date. I like to reserve that time to me alone. I will bet money they will remake that sucker with better effects. I have not gotten the chance to see Flyboys yet, but the WWI air battles are the best in my book, next to the Mig Alley over Korea. Those were the best dog fights.

FOB = Friend of Salisbury (bury) said...

Saving Private Ryan was worth seeing if only to watch Tom Hanks. Then right after watch The Longest Day, amazing what difference in effects and what is allowable over the years isn't it.

Wit, what is your favorite all time War Movie? Better yet break it down by war!

Historical Wit said...

hmmm good one...first I usually break down my war flicks by era. As for ancient war flicks go, I love Gladiator, but have to give props to Sparticus. There is an old made for tv movie I have to give props to, Masada and I will mention 300, but must say I have not seen it yet, but I only mention 300 because it was origianlly done by Frank Miller and hes the shit. Plain and simple. As I move past 1000 AD I seem to be caught on mostly movies from like the 1800's on up. But will have to say Braveheart was a great flick.

One of my favorites is Master and Commander. It does a real good job of showing what life was like sailing the high seas in the 1800's before sail went the way of the dodo. Great sound effects. And on a totally diferent subject, there needs to be a Stephen Decatur movie made. Or is there and I haven't seen it? Let me know. SD was the shit.

After that, there are to many to mention. THere are some black comedy skits from Britian called Blackadder that are great. Like I say, I want to see Flyboys. I dont think WWI has been touched enough. More I say. All Quiet on the Western Front, and of course A Farewell to Arms. THe best would probably be Lawrence of Arabia, and while I know some people argue that Lawrence is not about WWI, but it is.

WWII? Too many to list. But I put Patton up there. The Thin Red Line was a great book, the movie is alright kinda. The Guns of Navarone, The Longest Day, Schindlers List, and Das Boot.

Korea? MASH. The original Manchurian Canidate.

Vietnam? Platoon. The Deerhunter. Apocalypse Now. Full Metal Jacket. Good Morning Vietnam. Killing Fields.

Grenada? What was the Clint Eastwood flick with Mrio Van Peebles?

1st Gulf War? Three Kings.

Somalia? Black Hawk Down.

But there are many great films out there that were not released. Old movie news reels are great. I got some DVD collections about WWII battles that is great.

But off the top of my head, thats about the best I can come up with.

FOB = Friend of Salisbury (bury) said...

You and I should be brothers.
Can I add Gary Cooper in Sargent York or James Cagney's Grand old Flag.
Television, MASH, Combat with Vic Morrow, 12 oclock high,
Wow there is a long and distinguished list.
My favorites that I never pass by:
The Great Escape,
Master and Commander
We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson was, in my homble opinion great.
In harms Way
Tora Tora Tora Not the new love story one either.

I haven't seen 300 yet either, I usually wait for the DVD, cheapskate I guess.

FOB = Friend of Salisbury (bury) said...

Oh and I almost forgot Clint.
Where Eagles Dare.

And Gene Hackman.
Although Danny Glover is off my too see list because of his political shenanegans.

How about music, "Road to Moscow" by Al Stewart,

FOB = Friend of Salisbury (bury) said...

Darn you've got me going now.

Tears of the Sun with Bruce Willis, heart wrenching flick.

Not necessarily total war but one of my all time favorites is Hunt for Red October. Sean Connery is the man!