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Man on Wire [DVD] [2008]


Price: £3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Ardis Campbell, David Demato, David Frank, Aaron Haskell, Paul McGill
  • Directors: James Marsh
  • Format: DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Icon Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Dec. 2008
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BP3Z9G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,502 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

On August 7th 1974, a young Frenchman called Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire suspended between New York's twin towers, then the world’s tallest buildings. After an hour dancing on the wire, with no safety net or harness, he was arrested and thrown into an underground prison. Until that moment no one but Petit and his team of accomplices, who had spent months planning their illegal 'coup' (as they referred to it amongst themselves) knew anything about it.

Born out of a dream and an idea, Petit and his team of accomplices spent eight months planning the execution of their 'coup' in the most intricate detail. Like a team of professional bank robbers planning their most ambitious heist, the tasks they faced seemed virtually insurmountable: they would have to find a way to bypass the WTC's security; to smuggle the wire and rigging equipment into the towers; to suspend the wire between the two towers; to secure the wire at the correct tension to withstand the winds and the swaying of the buildings; to rig it secretly by night – all without being caught. Not to mention the walk itself...

Directed by James Marsh (The King, Wisconsin Death Trip), Man on Wire brings Petit's extraordinary adventure to life through the testimony of all the co-conspirators who created the single, beautiful spectacle that became known as "the artistic crime of the century".

From Amazon.co.uk

Native New Yorkers know to expect the unexpected, but who among them could've predicted that a man would stroll between the towers of the World Trade Center? French high-wire walker Philippe Petit did just that on August 7th, 1974. Petit’s success may come as a foregone conclusion, but British filmmaker James Marsh’s pulse-pounding documentary still plays more like a thriller than a non-fiction entry--in fact, it puts most thrillers to shame. Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip, The King) starts by looking at Petit's previous stunts. First, he took on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, then Sydney's Harbour Bridge before honing in on the not-yet-completed WTC. The planning took years, and the prescient Petit filmed his meetings with accomplices in France and America. Marsh smoothly integrates this material with stylized re-enactments and new interviews in which participants emerge from the shadows as if to reveal deep, dark secrets which, in a way, they do, since Petit's plan was illegal, "but not wicked or mean." The director documents every step they took to circumvent security, protocol, and physics as if re-creating a classic Jules Dassin or Jean-Pierre Melville caper. Though still photographs capture the feat rather than video, the resulting images will surely blow as many minds now as they did in the 1970s when splashed all over the media. Not only did Petit walk, he danced and even lay down on the cable strung between the skyscrapers. Based on his 2002 memoir, Man on Wire defines the adjective "awe-inspiring." --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. Slater on 13 July 2009
Format: DVD
I had seen this in the cinema when it was released and thought it was amazing. Whilst it got rave reviews, unfortunately it was only on in cinemas for a very limited time - one night only in the case of most places.....such a shame as it is truly fantastic. It tells the story of how Philippe Petit walked between the Twin Towers in New York - something which is all the more poignant now that they are no longer there. It is part documentary, with all the people involved in the planning and execution of this insane and incredible feat telling their story. There is also a dramatic reconstruction of how the team were able to get into the Towers and footage of Philippe practicing for this. It also includes footage of his walks between other towers - Notre Dame in Paris and Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia and an interview with the man himself.
In the wide screen of the cinema, it was both dramatic and exciting and watching it again on DVD was still an "edge of your seat" experience.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ninos Mikelidis on 22 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Philippe Petit, a Frenchman high-wire walker was unknown to most people until one summer morning in 1974 he walked across the twin towers on a high-wire. A feat that took him months of secret preparations to accomplish and landed him in prison - outastanding feats always seem to provoke the small-minded. The British documentarist James Marsh, after a long but always as exciting, introduction on Petit's previous feats (walking on a high-wire across Notre Dame Casthedral in Paris and later on Sidney's Harbor Bridge in Australia), relates Petit's twin towers feat like a "Rififi" type of thriller, presenting in detail all the aspects of the preparation and editing his material tightly and with a rythm that catches your breath. Here is a suspenful, some times humorous, drama that at the same time moves you to the point of crying. What the film is finally about is that of a courageous man who, against all logic, walks up and down on a wire, high up in the sky, sitting and relaxing in-between, almost dancing, like a Fred Astaire of the skies, for more than 45 minutes, challenging man, nature and the whole universe, making you feel that you can do anynthing you want as long as you really believe in it! But what is still more exciting is the beauty of it all, of those wonderful images of that man up there, alone and happy, enjoying his Sky Odyssey. A film worthy of many Oscars!!!
Ninos Mikelides
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Just William on 16 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD
When a documentary beats Slumdog Millionaire, Hunger, Mama Mia and In Bruges to the Outstanding British Film BAFTA you become very happy when it's just dropped through the letterbox. Simon Chinn and James Marsh's film tells the story (of which I was completely unaware) of Phillipe Petit's daring and illegal high-wire walk between the World Trade Centre's twin towers in New York in 1974. The mixture of interview, reconstruction and archive footage immediately brings to mind the superb Touching The Void (itself a BAFTA winner) and this film succeeds in much the same way; building tension, slowly revealing character and showing the devastating impact of a singular event on the lives of those involved.

The film drops you straight into the middle of the action as the various players make their way to the twin towers. Some have criminal sounding names like 'The Australian' or AKA's but we know that this is 'the artistic crime of the century', one with no victims, only leaving those who witnessed it touched by something special. At the centre, Petit is a clownish figure, unsurprising given his street-performer background, looking as a young man a little like Malcolm McDowell but his face now is softened and comical as he takes obvious pleasure from telling the story. This is contrasted with the obvious distress caused to those nearest and dearest to him. His girlfriend talks with great honesty about how this singular man completely dominated her life and conveys even today the sheer magic of being a spectator to his stunts. His closest friend Jean Louis Blondeau is touchingly emotional, conveying more than anyone else the culpability his accomplices felt in an event that could very well of course ended in death.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Mar. 2009
Format: DVD
I read Philippe Petit's book "To Reach The Clouds" which tell the story of these events a few years ago and even as a book it was a thrilling tale, but as a film it is something else.

Back in 1974, when I was three years old, Philippe Petit had already completed tightrope walks between the pylons of Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the towers of Notre Dame cathedral, but he had bigger plans. Long before these feats he had seen an article in a magazine whilst in a dentist's waiting room about the future construction of the World Trade Centre, and an idea formed in his mind. From that moment on he wanted to perform incredible tightrope walks, usually without permission, and he knew that the World Trade Centre would be the ultimate.

The film tells the story of how the feat was accomplished, and the voices we hear are those of the perpetrators, including - and most engagingly of all - Petit himself. Most of those involved speak English, but some don't - be prepared for a few subtitles - and the story is told through film shot by the team, photographs (the walk between the towers wasn't filmed) and some subtly done dramatisation which still feels archival.

As a documentary it works extremely well, and in several places it is even exciting as you wonder if they'll be spotted by a security guard, and ask yourself how they'll get the cable between the buildings (the solution is ingenious, if a little Heath-Robinson). Overall the fact that they achieved their goal is a superb example of triumph over adversity.

One last thing. Don't worry about seeing footage of the 9/11 attacks - that terrible event isn't even mentioned.

A superb documentary, and an excellent film all round.
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