NR’s Kyle Smith includes The Cold Blue somewhere near the top of his list of 2019’s ten best documentaries. Smith writes:
Back when leading Hollywood personalities felt it was their patriotic duty to put themselves in harm’s way for their country, the director William Wyler (who would go on to make The Best Years of Our Lives and Ben-Hur) was among those who went off to make movies as part of the propaganda effort. Wyler went up in B-17s to film bomber missions over Europe, and his cinematographer died on one run. Wyler himself suffered permanent hearing damage in one ear. Taking Wyler’s footage and supplementing it with more context, director Erik Nelson creates a harrowing vision of life lived high up in the clouds, with a bullseye on your face. The story of what these boys did for us can’t be told loudly enough or often enough.
Thanks to Kyle Smith’s ten-best list, I learned of the documentary and tracked it down today on HBO. I have posted the trailer below. This is a great, educational, and humbling documentary. Everything about it is worthy of the subject. If you haven’t caught it yet, you may want to track it down yourself (and be sure to watch it all the way to the credits for a closing statement by one of the veterans).