“Keep 'em Flying!”: Films of the U.S. Army Air Forces First Motion Picture Unit

11/9/07 to 11/11/07

During World War II, hundreds of Hollywood studio personnel donned Army Air Force uniforms for a unique military-Tinseltown collaboration. Over Veterans' Day weekend, we celebrate their work and explore its implications.

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  • A soldier winds film on reels at the editorial department of the FMPU, 1944. Photo: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

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Past Films

  • Land and Live in the Jungle

    • Sunday, November 11 3:00 PM

    Introduced by Daniel Rooney. With Van Heflin as a bomber pilot downed behind enemy lines, this survival short offers up competing views of masculinity. With shorts Camouflage Cartoon and First Motion Picture Unit.

  • God Is My Co-Pilot

    • Sunday, November 11 5:30 PM

    Introduced by Robert Eberwein. Robert Florey's portrait of Colonel Robert L. Scott details the spiritual awakening of a rugged individualist. With short Recognition of the Japanese Zero Fighter.

  • Panel Discussion (Admission Free)

    • Saturday, November 10 2:00 PM

    A discussion of issues of masculinity and identity in the films of the FMPU.

  • Resisting Enemy Interrogation

    • Saturday, November 10 6:30 PM

    Introduced by Thomas Doherty. This instructional gem pits Nazi intelligence officers against five loose-lipped American POWs. With animated short Position Firing.

  • The Memphis Belle: Story of a Flying Fortress

    • Saturday, November 10 8:45 PM

    Introduced by Doug Cunningham. William Wyler's still-powerful documentary of a B-17 bomber crew's final mission over Germany. With shorts Photographic Intelligence in Bombardment Aviation and Preparation of Special Briefing Films.

  • Hollywood Commandos

    • Friday, November 9 7:30 PM

    Gregory Orr and Eugene Marks in Person. Orr's documentary is an essential overview of the work of the U.S. Army Air Forces First Motion Picture Unit. With FMPU shorts Cadet Classification (narrated by Ronald Reagan) and Learn and Live.