Airmen of all nations often gave her aircraft names of her friends. As famous as Miss Margaret Polk, this one became beautiful from Memphis after which his B-17 has Captain Robert Morgan called Memphis Belle but the adored hardly anyone. In a film about her and her crew the old mills fly again, too.
The fame the B-17F Memphis Belle is due to the fact that she was the first Flying Fortress of the U.S. 8th Air Force which could end her 25th mission over occupied Europe without losses. The crew flew back after this to the United States and attracted there with hers legendary DF-A s/n #41-24485, and the morals of the Americans were fortifying for the drawing of war loans. The last mission of the Memphis Belle is the topic of the film. The target on May 17th, 1943 was called Lorient in France. In the Mmovie it’s Bremen, target: Focke-Wulf aircraft plants.
Minutioes and detail-faithfully we experience the start preparation also, life-genuinly filmed. We become acquainted with the B-17 as exactly as we it probably still never seeing, feel nearly the physical tightness for the on-board contactors of the ball tower under the fuselage or cold weather in the machine, which pulled by the open side windows into all corners. Tightening the Flak west, drawing the steel helmets up for the moment the overflight of occupied German areas, the trouble with the breathing masks and the parachutes, the tension, when the first anti-aircraft shells exploded or the first interceptor fighters emerged – in each of these procedures one is merged imperceptibly with.
As grippingly as the last hours is captured on board of Memphis Belle, this film so miserably shows the uses of the accompany and interceptors. Had succeeded bringing 5 from still approximately 100 still flying Mustangs to England where the film was produced. Flown by her owners the whole was a giant fun for this one. They represented the accompanying fighters, this one splendidly newly paints everyone, the attacking Messerschmitts should offer.
Three Spanish reproductions of the ME 109, all by the inserted Rolls-Royce engine leidern no longer so original-faithfully looking, could be found likewise. Also they were again painted – partly with knight cross and firing balance at the tail unit – nevertheless by all that are in the film hardly which to be seen.
From the 5 Flying Fortresses, up to all G-versions, which were trimmed on F-versions without the chin turret, came the Mother and Country and the Baby Ruth from France, the Winty City from England and C Cup as well as the Memphis Belle from the USA.
The aerial photos already weeks before the turning work with that actors began, under roof and subject brought. 17 machines were partial in air including the camera airplanes. They flew to one thought out Choreographie exactly, so that the individual scenes could be built later easy into the suitable film sequences. The firing scenes, or such of exploding machines, were made with remote controlled models of large yardstick.
Than the procurement of original machines the search for a suitable airfield was nearly more difficult. After that the producer Catherine Wyler, daughter of the famous Hollywood director William Wyler, who during the war as a documentary film producer several times employments flew with the Memphis Belle and which for the equipment responsible production designers had visited Stuart Craig of dozens of airfields in the USA, gave up it. No place had the correct mixture from typically English landscape and the airfields embedded therein, with their unmistakable resounding and control towers. They found all of this then however in England, on from the RAF left airfield Binbrook.
The fulfilled even a further demand, which was for the aerial photos from great importance: It offered sufficiently air space, to that free was from any other air traffic.
3 the ME 109, Spanish reproductions came from Europe. From the 5 assigned P-51D mustang three from England and 2 came from the USA.
Unfortunately there was an accident, which entailed the total destruction of the B-17G Baby Ruth with the turning work also. On 25 July 1989 the machine broke out when starting in Binbrook and burned. All crew members could escape from the inferno fortunately.
The true Memphis Belle was called Margaret Polk and was at that time the friend of the pilot Captain Robert K. Morgan.
Eight former crew members of the genuine Memphis Belle followed by the way gladly the invitation of the film company, which flew veterans to England and provided with them for publicity. Among them also the former pilot of the Memphis Belle, Robert Morgan, today 83 of year old, retired Colonel, which was allowed to transfer the command to Binbrook again over a B-17. The interior photographs were by the way made in a B-17 trunk mockup, which was built and set up in the famous Pinewood of studios.
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