For this 2-DVD set, Aircraft Films worked with the National Archives and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to rebuild the best possible transfer of the William Wyler 1944 documentary. Presented here in both wid... more »escreen and normal aspect ratio, the film was rebuilt using new digital transfers from the original camera reels. The result is the best available copy of this classic presentation. Disc two features special bonus films on the B-17, along with outtakes from the production of the film, in long form new transfers, some silent, some with sound. Overall the 2-DVD set contains over 4 1/2 hours of material.« less
"The 1944 William Wyler film "Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress" is a classic. Featuring some of the most compelling footage of the war in the skies over Europe, this version is, by far, the best looking I've ever seen.
While the "widescreen" version loses the top and bottom to fit, I personally think the "fullscreen" version (both of which are provided) looks crisp and sharp. The chapter notes provided with the set explain that the opening graphics were not available in original form at the Archives and National Air and Space Museum, so those portions have not been restored.
And the extra bonus footage is superb. I have some of the other Aircraft Films products (the F4U and F4F disc sets) and most of it has crisp, clear footage. I, too, would love to have more sound on future releases, but having the footage, much of which I've never seen and isn't available elsewhere, is very nice.
I recommend the set highly."
MEMPHIS BELLE "Restored" DVD Review
Peter J. Johnston | Tulsa, OK | 11/22/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've Always LOVED This WW2 B-17 Documentary, Ever Since I First Saw It... So I was Very Excited to Hear About This NEW "Fully Restored" 2 Disk DVD Set. I Took a Chance & Quickly Ordered it... I Rate it as "OK" at Best. Not at All Worth $30. A bit Dissapointing.... Unfortunately, some Back Woods Company "Redpepper Films" did the Digital Transfer. Nope, Never Heard of 'Em... I'm Guessing they used some sort of Cheap, Outdated Digital Transfer Equipment. It's Not as Clean & Clear as it should be. I Really Wish a Professional Film Studio like Turner Classics or Spielberg could have given this Historical Piece of Americana it's Proper Restoration. Of Key Note is the Opening Title Sequence. It's Completely Worn, Fuzzy, Faded & Deteriorated. ?????!!!!! This is Completely Inexcusable. I've seen CHEAP $5 Versions of This Documentary on VHS at the Supermarket, that are of Better Quality. Both "Restored" Versions of the Film in this set have Scratches, Boogers, Stringers & Faded Colors throughout. Certainly Not the High Quality of other Restored Films. My Only Hope is that "Redpepper Films" didn't Screw Up the Original Negative and Slop Bar-B-Que Sauce all over it.... The Only Saving Grace is Disk 2. It has an Hour or Two of Rare Color Out-Takes from the Original Film. Very Interesting, but a bit Creepy & Boring as it's all Silent. No Attempt was made at Music,, Narration or Anything. They just Didn't Care and Slapped it All Together. I Guess We're Supposed to Finish This Set Ourselves..."
A vivid look back.
Jason Steiner | Glendale, AZ USA | 11/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Those of us who weren't alive to see it for ourselves remember WWII in shades of newsreel grey. We see the heroism and sacrifice of those who fought through a glass, darkly. William Wyler's Technicolor documentary breaks that glass. In color, the airmen of the Memphis Belle are as alive and real as anyone you know. And so are the airmen who didn't make it, the ones who went spiraling out of control into a wall of flack, or were hauled from their B-17s in green wool blankets.
This edition contains two versions of the film. The first a widescreen anamorphic transfer of the Smithsonian's print. However, since the widescreen version is created by simply matting (cutting off the top and bottom) of the original Academy ratio movie, you are better off with the second version. Re-cut from digital transfers of the original 16mm footage, it keeps the whole Academy ratio image, is much sharper, and has better color. The bonus disc contains that original footage, including some that didn't make it into the film.
The Memphis Belle should be required viewing on Memorial and Veterans day."
E. Brebanov | Ottawa, Ontario Canada | 08/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent film, a must see!!! Did a great job digitally remastering the original version, came out beautifully, the extra footage section has lots of cool stuff.
Basically a must for enthusiasts!!"
Poor quality retransfer w/ total gimmick second disc
Mark Clark | California | 12/12/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"While I enjoyed the movie "Memphis Belle" I have to say that this transfer of the film is not good. The people who made this DVD may claim that it's a superlative transfer, best ever made, 60th Anniversary Edition blah blah and that they worked with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on this, but I don't believe it. I've seen better transfers aired on the History Channel and that's saying something. What these people don't tell you is that their "great" transfer is put on a DVD with so much compression noise in the image that it looks like German flak. Well, I might be exaggerating there.
The other thing that just left me feeling ripped off was the "widescreen version" of the film, which turns out to be the same film you know and love with a stupid-looking black matte placed over the top and the bottom. So no, there was never a widescreen version of this film, and the one offered on this DVD set is a joke. You may as well just put some black electrical tape over your TV set for gosh sakes! As for the outtakes, they are interesting but hardly worth the extra cash -- there's a reason this stuff got cut out by William Wyler. A better idea is, look for another version of the film sold on Amazon, one that is not a gimmick but a real restoration."