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Memories of War [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Interactive menus
  • Scene index
  • Digitally mastered

Synopsis

The Memphis Belle
Filmed in color, The Memphis Belle has long been held up as a "model" wartime documentary. In a terse, exciting 41 minutes, the film assembles footage from several allied bombing missions into one single representative flight of the famed Flying Fortress known as The Memphis Belle. Though both the crewmen and the filmmakers take considerable pride in the fact that the Belle has completed 25 successful missions, there's no phony heroism, no grandstanding, no flagwaving. As calm-voiced narrator Ed Kern explains, the Belle has a job to do, and it does it, and that's all. The danger facing these Flying Fortresses is underlined, but never overemphasized, by brief glimpses of those doomed ships that didn't make it back. Memphis Belle was directed by William Wyler, who also flew several missions with the crew, manning the camera himself at considerable risk. The overall excellence of The Memphis Belle is even more obvious when compared to the hokey fictionalized 1990 movie version of the Belle's 25th mission. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Prelude to War
Prelude to War was the first entry in the US War Department's Why We Fight series, a group of seven morale-boosing documentaries supervised by Lt. Col. Frank Capra. As brilliantly assembled as any of Capra's "populist" Hollywood films, Prelude demonstrates how the diplomatic and political blunders made in the wake of WW1 led inexorably to WW2. Especially culpable are those complacent citizens of the USA who were led to believe that the problems of the rest of the world had no bearing on their lives. While America sleeps, Japan and Germany slowly and methodically build their armies and launch their plans for global conquest. Throughout the film, the lies of fascisim and totalitarinism are contrasted with the ideals of Democracy. Unlike most other War Department efforts, the 53-minute Why We Fight was shown to both civilian and military audiences. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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