Welles Remy Crowther isn’t a name a lot of people (myself included) will be familiar with. He isn’t a soccer star or a basketball player or an actor, but he is a hero.
On September 11th 2001, Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175.
They turned these flights into flying missiles, crashing them into the north and south towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York.
The north tower was hit between the 93rd and 98th floors killing 1,355 people at or above the crash site. 17 minutes later, the south tower was hit between floors 77 and 85 killing 599.
From floor 93 up of the north tower, no-one made it out alive. Somehow though, from floor 77 up, 18 people managed to survive crossing, what has been called, the line of death.
Many of those 18 people who survived from the south tower had Welles Remy Crowther to thank for getting them out alive, the man in the red bandana.
Writer and director Matthew J. Weiss tells the story of Welles Remy Crowther. This young man selflessly went up and down the south tower, numerous times, bringing survivors with him.
He had, somehow, found the only remaining working staircase and was guiding people to it and then helping them down, carrying one woman most of the way.
Weiss, and narrator Gwyneth Paltrow (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers Assemble), tell Crowther’s remarkable, heroic story.
We hear all about the man from his parents, sisters and friends. How he’d been a junior fireman before becoming a trader and how selfless he was as a person.
Sadly, Welles didn’t manage to make it out of the tower himself. He made it as far as the lobby, along with many others from the New York Fire Department, when the tower collapsed.
It took six months before they could recover the bodies, his family having to bury an empty coffin some months beforehand.
Despite her son being found, Welles’ mother still kept looking for her son. Something was driving her to keep looking.
She finally found what she was looking for in a comprehensive article from the New York Times in which people spoke about having been helped to safety by a man in a red bandana. Welles always carried a red bandana with him, his father always carrying a blue one.
Weiss handles this delicate subject with sensitivity whilst at the same time manages to get across the emotion of the tragic events.
He also provides technical details on how Welles managed to save so many people and why the same couldn’t happen in the north tower.
None of this detracts from the remarkable story, rather, it adds to the selfless act performed by Welles in what many call his finest hour.
Welles’s memory lives on though his parents, a charity, a multitude of events in his honour, his name is listed on the various 9/11 memorials and he is even given a plaque next to the other firefighters on their memorial.
Man in Red Bandana (I do just have to ask why it isn’t called THE Man in THE Red Bandana?) is a wonderfully handled documentary on a very sensitive subject.
It’s a selfless piece, in memory of a remarkably selfless man.
Matthew J. Weiss
Matthew J. Weiss
THE QUICK SELL
Welles Remy Crowther isn't a name a lot of people (myself included) will be familiar with. He isn't a soccer star or a basketball player or an actor, but he is a hero.