The Cold Blue The Cold Blue Now streaming on HBO

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In 1943, William Wyler, one of Hollywood’s most renowned and versatile directors, went to Europe to document the Air War in progress. Incredibly, all of the raw color footage Wyler shot for the “Memphis Belle” was recently discovered deep in the vaults of the National Archives, and a new film has been constructed out of the material. “The Cold Blue" is a meditation on youth, war and trauma, and stands as a tribute to one of the world’s great filmmakers, and the men of the 8th Air Force who flew mission after suicidal mission in the Second World War. Nine of the very few surviving veterans were interviewed in the summer of 2017, and their voices take us through the harrowing world that Wyler and his cameramen captured in the summer of 1943.

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  • Director/Producer: Erik Nelson
  • Producer: Peter Hankoff
  • Executive Producer: Paul G. Allen
  • Executive Producer: Rocky Collins
  • Executive Producer: Carole Tomko
  • Executive Producer: Clark Bunting
  • Executive Producer: Dave Harding
  • Executive Producer: Catherine Wyler
  • Supervising Producer: Amy Briamonte
  • Supervising Producer/Editor: Robert Erickson
  • Supervising Producer: Elizabeth M. Hartjens
  • Editor: Paul Marengo
  • Sound Design: David Hughes
  • Film Restoration: Ernest Savage
  • Music: Richard Thompson
Where to See It

A Tribute

Constructed from footage captured for renowned Hollywood director William Wyler’s 1943 film 'The Memphis Belle,' The Cold Blue is a meditation on youth, war and trauma, and stands as a tribute to one of the world’s great filmmakers.


Incredibly, all of the raw footage that Wyler and his team shot was found in the National Archives; 34 reels adding up to 15 hours in total.


"You fly a real tough mission, and you're so glad to get back, and everybody says, boy, we made it through that one didn't we? And then next morning they come in, put their flashlight in your face. Alright boys, get up. You're going, you’re going to be leaving. We're going to be flying in two hours. Now that's, that's tough."

William Toombs - 8th Air Force Flight Engineer


For the creation of TheColdBlue, the raw film was digitized to Ultra High Definition 4K resolution.



All too often, history has been reduced to cliche, or black and white images that immediately distance us from the past. How is it possible to convey in documentary style events that took place over 75 years ago, when both the images and the men behind those images are fast fading?

Director Erik Nelson

The Filmmakers

Photo of Erik Nelson

Erik Nelson Director

Erik Nelson is the president of Creative Differences and Director of "TheColdBlue."

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Photo of Peter Hankoff

Peter Hankoff Producer

Peter Hankoff is a writer, director and producer who’s spent the last 18 years making documentary programs.

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Photo of Rocky Collins

Rocky Collins Director of Production

Rocky served as exec producer at Science Channel where he worked...

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Photo of Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson Music

Richard Thompson is one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters.

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David Hughes Sound Design

Since 1996 David has worked on over one hundred feature films in his career. 

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