Memphis Belle the film (2005 thread)

Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 376

Just watched for the first time,the film Memphis Belle on C5,and there are a few questions I have relating to the production.

1.Where was the airfield in question featured in the film?
2.Editing and other things probably played a part in it,but how did they 'use' so many B17's with different ID's showing?
3.Same question with the 109's?
4.And the Mustangs?
5.How was it also possible to show so many B17's landing?
6.What was the name of the dog? :D
7.Was the tomato soup made by Heinz or Baxters? :D

I'm particularly keen to know the answer to the last one,as any other soup is just inferior. :) :) :)

Ken.

Original post
Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

16 years 6 months

Posts: 18,309

Questions 2, 3, and 4 - editing and matte painting.

There were five B-17s used, as well as a few models (and a mock-up for the crash-landing at the start). One B-17 crashed on take-off during filming. There were also three Bf-109s (Hispano Buchons) and, I think, five Mustangs.

In essence, if they needed what I think are called "establishing shots", all they would do is paint up the various aircraft in different markings, fly a sortie, then come home, job done. They might have done this numerous times. Same with practically every warbird movie involving large numbers of aircraft, I would imagine. All this is cut together later on. No one aircraft would stay in the same set of markings the whole time - that would be too problematical, I think, trying to match up shots later on.

Profile picture for user Denis

Member for

15 years 11 months

Posts: 1,496

Short answer version!.

The airfield was supposed to represent Bassingbourne, wartime home of the 91st BG(H), the belle was the first crew to reach 25 missions, at the time that was the standard tour of duty for USAAF aircrew., the film was actually shot at Binbrook Lincs.
The aircraft 'doubled up' with different codes on each side, cant recall how many individual airworthy B-17's were used, but try the search facility on this forum and the answers will be there :)
The original belle carried for it's 25th mission a camera crew to record the event, I have a copy of the original film, If I remember rightly some footage from that was used in the making of the modern film, albeit with artistic license regarding the actual mission destination etc.
Dogs name eludes me!
Probably Heinz soup ;)
Hope this helps.

Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 376

I figured that the crash landing at the start may have been a model.But apart from Sally B,where are the other B17's based,and who owns them?

And as I am nosey,I would still like to know which airfield was used,as I have a particular interest in British airfields,especially in Yorkshire,(Where I live) and Lincolnshire.

Ken.

Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 376

Thats the airfield answered then!!!!

Binbrook was also used recently as a motorsport venue,but if I remember is now closed,isn't it?

Ken.

Profile picture for user JDK

Member for

16 years 5 months

Posts: 8,195

the belle was the first crew to reach 25 missions

Nope. A common mistake, and the way the publicity machine played it, but what they actually did, and what's said (if you are watching closely). The Memphis Belle was the first to reach 25 missions and go home.

Another B-17 got to the magic 25 first, but they weren't the subject of Wyler's documentary (in the making) so they didn't get to go home. (Chiz). In fact the first subject, even before the above two, got shot down before getting to 25...

Have a search on the forum - there's a good few threads on the film. Best on the making of the modern film is the After the Battle feature in one of the AtB magazines. Sadly soup's not specified. ;) A book would be nice, too....

Cheers

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

16 years 6 months

Posts: 18,309

The actual crash-landing was a model, but the explosion was a mock-up - I forget exactly what aircraft was sacrificed to look like a B-17 (Sea Prince??), but that's how they did it.

There was a HUGE thread of photos from the filming a little while ago - that was some thread! :D

Member for

16 years 1 month

Posts: 664

One of the airfields used was Binbrook Ithink there were five B17s alltogether,
Sally b,Pink lady and another(F-BEEA?)from france and two from the states,as has been said type in Memphis Belle in the search box for a plethora of useful info and some fantastic photos of the making of the film,enjoy!
Alan.

Profile picture for user Moggy C

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 16,831

You sure it was five B17s actually flying Daz. My memory, from watching them land at Duxford (From above) is that there were four before the accident.

Each aircraft carried two identities at a time, one each side.

Quinny, have you seen the original film? It's about a thousand times better than the Hollywood remake, which ain't a bad film in itself except for the awful ending sequence that was suppose to keep us all on the edge of our seats, but mostly had us sniggering into our popcorn.

Moggy

Profile picture for user JDK

Member for

16 years 5 months

Posts: 8,195

Chateau de Vernuil(sp?), Lucky Lady -Two French
N17W Bob's B-17F
Tallichet's
Sally B

Makes 5.

Member for

16 years 7 months

Posts: 1,442

I believe there was a thread recently on the WIX forum regarding the first to reach 25.

I think Sally B was the only B-17 fitted with the smoke generator in the engine, making her easy to spot in the film.

The mission as seen in the film, featured incidents from more than one sortie by the 'Belle'.

Geoff.

Member for

16 years 5 months

Posts: 101

Binbrook is a shadow of its former self unfortunetly...
The main runway has been dug up in places (may have even gone now) & looked like it was used as a karting strip (this was in 03 by the way), the cross runway has gone, the dispersal has shrunk to half its original size ...
The control tower was knocked down quite a while back, and most of the hangars are used for the industrial estate....

Believe the Lightning Associations F6 is still there tho and ground run every so often...

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

16 years 6 months

Posts: 18,309

You sure it was five B17s actually flying Daz. My memory, from watching them land at Duxford (From above) is that there were four before the accident.

Each aircraft carried two identities at a time, one each side.

Quinny, have you seen the original film? It's about a thousand times better than the Hollywood remake, which ain't a bad film in itself except for the awful ending sequence that was suppose to keep us all on the edge of our seats, but mostly had us sniggering into our popcorn.

Moggy

Five "used" - didn't know if they were ever up all together ;)

Profile picture for user jeepman

Member for

15 years 10 months

Posts: 1,931

Five "used" - didn't know if they were ever up all together ;)

Pretty sure they were - whilst at Dx in the first couple of weeks of filming - saw them with me own eyes - mind you it was 15 years ago.....

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 9

Binbrook is a sad looking place these days. Remembering its prominent status in the 1970's I was keen to actually see it when visiting Lincolnshire last in April last year. Now apparently owned by private devlopers the site (other than runways) is in various states of repair and occupation. Some of the hangers still have unit symbols painted on the sides. Very interesting but left me feeling profoundly depressed (... since recovered a little!)

Attachments
Profile picture for user 92fis

Member for

15 years 3 months

Posts: 1,493

All 5 B17s flew together quite a bit while filming from duxford as did the 3 buchons and mustangs. 7 mustangs on occasions were used

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 2

Wasn't Duxford Airfield also used for filming? Correct me if I am wrong!

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 2

Apologies 92fis! Think we posted at exactly the same time!

Profile picture for user T J Johansen

Member for

15 years 6 months

Posts: 1,274

All 5 B17s flew together quite a bit while filming from duxford as did the 3 buchons and mustangs. 7 mustangs on occasions were used

That is correct, 7 P-51s. Doug Arnold's "Petie 2nd" and Spencer Flack's "Sunny VIII" were used in the background during air to air sorties, and they were not repainted. The Arnolds didn't want to repaint the plane, as they had used one of their a/c (P-47?) in a movie/commercial earlier, and the film paint said to be "easily washable" ruined the original paint job, so they decided against messing up "Petie" the same way! Here is a photo of N314BG at Dux during the first week of filming!

T J

Attachments