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Pistol Packing Mama:Missions of a B17 [VHS]

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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(Jun 03, 1991)
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Product Details

  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Kenwood Productions
  • VHS Release Date: June 3, 1991
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302102448
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,482 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Five crew members of Betty Boop/Pistol Packin' Mama relate what it was like in the grim early days of daylight bombing in World War II

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Top Customer Reviews

The video "Pistol Packing Mama: The Story of a B-17" is a superb documentary of the air war over Europe. It is a war documentary with a soul. It tells the story of one crew, the crew of the B-17 "Betty Boop/Pistol Packin' Mama" by way of contemporary interviews with the crewmen, outstanding live-action footage, backed with music from the period. As a historian, I have seen a great many videos about the air war. Till now, the best I'd seen was the original "Memphis Belle" story shot during the war (not to be confused with the Hollywood movie of some ten years ago). And the top Hollywood film of the air war over Europe and the men who fought it is the classic "Twelve O'Clock High", with Gregory Peck. "Pistol Packing Mama" combines the live-action drama of "Memphis Belle" with the psycological insights of "Twelve O'Clock High". The film is packed full of expertly-edited actual battle footage, taken both from the cameras of B-17's and from gun cameras on enemy planes. The furious air battles outside the planes are interspersed with scenes of the men struggling to stay alive inside. The video has the finest collection of live-action footage I've seen in any one place.
But "Pistol Packin' Mama" isn't just a battle video. It probes the memories and the emotions of the men who flew her. In 1990, the writers and producers assembled the surviving men of the crew of "Pistol Packin' Mama" and interviewed each one. This crew was the lead crew for the 390th Bomb Group on many occasions. They were the plane the Luftwaffe wanted to shoot down to disrupt the formation. They faced great danger together and in the process formed a bond that would last forever.
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I enjoyed the VHS "Pistol Packin Mama,Missions of a B 17".
It is a touching war story that every red blooded American should see, but what about the rest of the story? I am an 80 year old member of the crew that went down with Betty Boop, The Pistol Packin Mama, on our nineteenth mission to Regensberg, and not on the Berlin raid, as stated in the vidio.I was wounded and was a prisoner of war for fourteen months. I can't promote my work on this site, but, wouldn't it be nice to hear the rest of the story?
God bless our fighting men, and God bless America.
Delbert D. Lambson
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I just watched "Pistol Packing Mama:Missions of a B17" in my History of Warfare class and came here to buy a copy for myself.. Suffice it to say that I completely agree with the other reviews.

As luck would have it, the navigator Lt. Colonel Mencow is a student in my class. It was a rare treat to watch the film and have the opportunity to speak to one of the crewmembers about his experiences.

I highly recommend the film.
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I join the others in highly recommending this dazzlingly fine video. From the opening scene with the haunting Vera Lynn cover of "I'll Be Seeing You Again" to Elgar's lovely Nimrod Adagio that forms the background theme, this video is worth watching time and again.

I might also recommend other Scimitar Men at War series videos, especially a similar style one on the 357th Fighter Group.

The one brickbat I might level is the use of postwar footage of a B-17 drone being downed by a Nike Ajax. The plane looks like it was hit by a 16" shell and it just disintegrates, slow motion, into a fireball. All the initial combat footage in the opener is timed exactly to coincide with the lyrics of the Vera Lynn song. Most effective.

Gus Mencow's recititation of Alan Seeger's "I have a Rendezvous with Death" is magnificent.

I envy the first reviewer's personal knowledge of Lt Col Mencow. I offer him and all the others a virtual salute and handshake.
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My name is Delbert D. Lambson. The vidio MEN AT WAR is great. It is coming out on DVD and you should see it. I was the ball turret gunner on THE PISTOL PACKIN MAMA's last tour of duty. I have written a book, entitled WHEN I RETURN IN SPRING that honors the magnificent Pistol Packin'Mama and tells how she and her crew gave every thing they had to give for this great country.
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