Daily Archives: November 3, 2018

3 posts

War Birds Diary of an Unknown Aviator

This documentary is based on the sensational 1926 novel by World War I aviator Elliott White Springs of South Carolina. When the novel War Birds was published in 1926, its frank depiction of the profligate lifestyle of pilots scandalized America and became the inspiration for movies such as The Dawn Patrol and Wings. It tells the story of three young Southerners who join the British Royal Air Force in 1917 and become known as the Three Musketeers for their high-spirited ways. But the adventure of flying is soon tempered by the realization that they have joined a dangerous profession; in this, the dawn of aviation when airplanes are both flammable and unsafe, a majority of pilots will die. The film contains extensive documentary footage of World War I, images of pilot training in the U.S. and Britain as well as interviews with descendants of Springs and Grider and excerpts from an interview with Larry Callahan in 1968. The film is narrated by Joe Morton with Matt Bomer and Fred Weller as the voices of Mac Grider and Elliott Springs, reading selected passages from the novel. The film was produced and directed by Robert Clem, whose films include IDA award-winning Big Jim Folsom: The Two Faces of Populism, Company K and the current festival hit How They Got Over: Gospel Quartets and the Road to Rock and Roll.

Airs on WXXI-World November 10, 2018 at 6:00 pm

The Last Ridge

On a freezing winter night in February 1945, the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division accomplished the impossible: they scaled a 2,000-foot cliff in northern Italy to knock the seemingly invincible Germans from their impenetrable perch. THE LAST RIDGE recounts the remarkable story of the legendary 10th Mountain Division, whose extraordinary efforts turned the tide for the Allied forces in Italy, revolutionized winter mountain warfare abroad, transformed winter sports and inspired an entire generation of soldiers. Narrated by National Public Radio’s Scott Simon, the documentary traces the 10th Mountain Division’s history: from their uphill battles in World War II to their current campaigns in troubled Afghanistan.

Airs on WXXI-World November 10, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Survivors of Malmedy: December 1944

Narrated by actor Jason Beghe of NBC’s Chicago P.D.,SURVIVORS OF MALMEDY: DECEMBER 1944 tells the story of the World War II massacre of 84 American soldiers in Belgium during the opening days of the famous “Battle of the Bulge.” On December 17, 1944, after a short battle, more than 130 American GIs were taken prisoner just outside the Belgian town of Malmedy and herded into a field by an infamous German SS division led by one of the Nazi’s most brutal commanders. The unarmed American prisoners were gunned down. Those still alive after the initial shooting in the brutal cold were killed by SS soldiers ordered into the field to execute any Americans still breathing. Some American soldiers played dead. Some ran. Some escaped to nearby houses. In the end, more than 50 Americans did escape the infamous Malmedy Massacre. Today, just a handful remain. Weaving interviews with the few remaining survivors of the massacre with archival footage, and drone video shot in the Malmedy area and in the field where the infamous event occurred, the emotional and powerful SURVIVORS OF MALMEDY chronicles what became known as the largest single mass murder of American troops in World War II.

Airs on WXXI-World November 10, 2018 at 3:00 pm