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Nor did he know just how many planes the production, which was originally budgeted at million but eventually stretched to million, could afford.
”I felt going with four might have been fine, but you can’t frankly expect the four to be operational all the time,” Rattray continues. Five really were essential.” As it turned out, there were days when all five B-17’s were simultaneously aloft (as in the shot in which the planes, in tight formation, head out over the English Channel).
”I don’t think this movie could have been made 15 or 20 years ago,” says Catherine Wyler.
”Some of these planes have only recently been made flyable.” The search for restored planes started close to home.
Wyler’s uncle, David Tallichet, is a part-time pilot who, through his Military Aircraft Restoration Corp., owns 100 vintage planes, including one of the needed B-17’s.
Out of 13,000 such bombers built during World War II, he estimates that there are currently only six flyable survivors (worth at least 0,000 each) in the U. The original is restored but permanently grounded in a Memphis, Tenn., exhibit. With just a copilot and a flight engineer, Tallichet set out from Grand Rapids, Mich., where the plane had just appeared in an air show, for the three-day flight to England, making stops in Labrador and Iceland for fuel and rest.
The effects crew referred to them as ”models,” but these flying machines had little in common with basement-built replicas.
There, a metal mock-up of the B-17’s fuselage, constructed according to original Boeing specifications, was built in five separate parts mounted on hydraulic rigs, allowing for pitch, roll, and vibration.With a cast of fresh-faced young actors — led by Matthew Modine and Eric Stoltz — it tells the unabashedly heroic (and fictionalized) story of the crew’s final mission. The story was inspired by director William Wyler” 1944 documentary about the actual warplane and its crew, and was produced by Wyler’s daughter Catherine Britain’s David Puttnam (), they wanted to celebrate a time when air warfare was less a matter of technological calculation than a test of guts, nerves, and teamwork.And they chose to do so with a minimum of trickery and a maximum of authenticity.”Both David and I wanted to make a movie about group, as opposed to individual, bravery,” says Caton-Jones. A lot of people say it’s old-fashioned, which it is because I tried to give it that style, to shoot it simply, as opposed to jazzing it up.” The search for authenticity meant returning to a seat-of-the-pants style of filmmaking.It also required locating enough flightworthy World-War-II-era aircraft to form a small air force.