The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress
Directed by William Wyler
(USA, 1944, 45 min.)
The Cold Blue
Directed by Erik Nelson
(USA, 2019, 72 min.)
► Presented by Catherine Wyler
On the eve of Veterans Day, the MFAH proudly welcomes Catherine Wyler to present and discuss these two important films. The daughter of director William Wyler (1902–1981), Catherine Wyler grew up in the film business and made a revealing film about him for American Masters on PBS: Directed by William Wyler (1986). During her years as senior vice president at Columbia Pictures, she produced Memphis Belle (1990), a fictionalization of her father’s 1944 documentary The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress. The recently restored documentary, made for the Office of War Information by William Wyler and a crew of photographers, follows several missions of the B-17 bomber in 1943. In May of that year, the “Memphis Belle” became one of the first B-17s to complete 25 missions in Europe and return from the war under its own power. The Cold Blue profiles several of the pilots who survived.
As an independent producer, Wyler’s other credits include Witness to Hope, a biography of Pope John Paul II. She has held leadership positions at major American cultural institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS, and served as founding artistic director of the High Falls International Film Festival in Rochester, New York. She is currently developing a documentary on the Dalai Lama.