Our 2AD Memorial Library colleague (and former UEA American Scholar) Beth Southard recently attended the Across the Pond Film Festival in South Norfolk. She writes:
“I went along to the showing of Memphis Belle (1990) in Marlingford and gave a short introductory talk. I was overwhelmed by the effort put in by organisers, the hall was fully decorated for the event including some items and pictures on loan from the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library. It looked wonderful – a brilliant mix of memorabilia and decoration that gave the building the feeling of a 1940s dance hall.
There was an impressive turn out as well – I don’t recall seeing a single empty seat!
The people and organisers were so friendly. One gentleman even ran home to get his father’s enlistment card – he had been discharged from the British Army due to ill health but managed to re-enlist with the American forces! Despite working at the library for 3 years this was the first time I had heard of anything like this so it was a real treat to see the documents and hear this story.
Just before the film I spoke for about 10 minutes briefly talking about the real experiences of American airmen and the crew of the Memphis Belle. I also gave a little background to the film itself – why it was made and the connections between the filming and Norfolk (tenuous but still there!).
Overall it was a wonderful experience. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay for the film itself and talk more to everyone there, but I had a nasty cough and would have been a bit of a nuisance! I have seen the movie on another occasion and recommend it as good example of what it was like flying on a mission. Though of course it being a Hollywood film events are compressed from various missions to form ‘one hellish mission’ (as the Belle‘s Captain Robert Morgan described it).
Thanks to the organisers and residents of Marlingford for such a wonderful time, and to South Norfolk Council, Creative Arts East and our former scholar Elizabeth Rawitsch for pulling together this festival!”
Thanks, Beth! We’ll be uploading some photos from the event as soon as they’re available.