Seventy-six years after William Wyler and his film crew soared over Europe chronicling the terrifying missions of the Eighth Air Force, Vulcan Production’s documentary The Cold Blue premiered on the big screen, honoring the bravery of these men. Incredibly, all of the raw footage – 15 hours worth – that Wyler and his team shot for his 1943 film, The Memphis Belle, was found in the National Archives and meticulously restored from the original 16mm film to 4K, bringing history back to life.
Read what people are saying about the documentary following its theatrical premiere
Popular Mechanic’s Chuck Thompson interviewed the film’s director, Erik Nelson, to get the story behind The Cold Blue. He shared his thoughts after finishing the documentary:
“For anyone interested in the war, aviation or the electrifying new direction of historical documentaries, it’s essential viewing.”
James Clark of Business Insider reports on the documentary, and the human costs of the “Mighty Eighth.”
“‘The Cold Blue’ is as much a meditation on death and fear as it as a tribute those who found the courage to climb back into a flying fortress and face it all again, day after day.”
In her review on Forbes, columnist Jane Levere had this to say about the film:
“A meditation on youth, war and trauma, ‘The Cold Blue’ is also a tribute to one of the world’s greatest filmmakers, Wyler’s cameraman Harold Tannenbaum, who perished in combat while filming, and to the men of the Eighth Air Force”
After the credits rolled, audiences took to social media to share their thoughts on the documentary:
Just watched the B-17 documentary, “The Cold Blue” tonight. @fathomevents @RegalMovies Newly restored footage from WWII really made the experience emotional and made you think of the greatest generation. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. @VulcanFilms @HBO
— Mike Griffith (@PhotogGriff) May 24, 2019
Watched "Into the Cold Blue" tonight. Restored William Wyler footage he shot while accompanying the Memphis Belle on bombing raids over Germany. Beautiful, terrifying. Touching. Recommended.
— Queen of Noirs (@queenofnoirs) May 24, 2019
Went to “The Cold Blue” last night at Tinseltown in Medford. A powerful movie about the Men of the 8th Air force in England during World War II using restored color film shot by William Wyler while making Memphis Bell! The clear color film on the big screen took my breath away!
— Jim. (@duck464) May 24, 2019
While The Cold Blue’s big screen debut was for one-night-only, don’t miss its premiere on HBO on June 6 at 8 p.m. ET.