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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

‘Cold Blue’ revisits WWII sacrifices in the sky

The exploits of the Eighth Air Force are well known to anyone with the barest knowledge of World War II history. Yet it's difficult to understand just exactly what those brave men endured.

The HBO documentary "The Cold Blue" gives at least some sense of what took place high over the skies of Europe. Directed by Erik Nelson, and shaped from hundreds of hours of archival footage shot by a team of cinematographers overseen by veteran director William Wyler, the film puts viewers right in the seats of B-17s facing the dangers of bitter cold, deadly flak and attacks by enemy fighters.

Nelson used newly restored 4K footage and Wyler's outtakes from his 1944 documentary "The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress."

The film will screen tonight at 7:30 at two area Regal Cinemas theaters: Northtown Mall and Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium.

Here are some critical comments:

Kyle Smith, National Review: "Surprising and strange and funny but above all horrifying. The level of everyday heroism on offer almost surpasses our capacity to absorb it."

Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter: "An important companion piece to Wyler's classic and a powerful stand-alone film."