18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2011
Although diminished in many peoples' minds today the Apollo programme was a huge and complex venture for man to visit our nearest neighbouring member of our Solar system. To a small boy it was a positively mind-blowing experience to witness the huge Saturn V rockets scything through the Earth's' atmosphere at staggering speeds, simultaneously imposing unimaginable G-Forces on its occupants. Less well-known to him at the time was the BBC's achievement of coordinating various television studio, film and videotape feeds into live nightly digests regarding the progress in the brave astronauts' perilous journey.
The BBC cleared out many thousands of hours of television during the archive purges of the Sixties and Seventies. Despite that, you'd think some significant events would have been retained and yes, while most elements have been preserved not, it seems, was the BBC's own recordings of the live studio coverage and of course the commentary that went with it. So what we have here is as faithful a reconstruction as possible, put together in a kind of bumper edition edited highlights from 1969's 'one small step for man' venture. And it is a good one, the countdown invoking memories of forty-plus years ago when just the idea of flying around the moon and back to earth was amazing enough.
The images of take off were as vivid as when I first saw them and all-in-all the entire sequence including inserted film segments from James Burke which helps round out the background information is as good as it'll get, plus one short segment from a very poor videotape copy from a BBC tape was recovered and added in. Forgive the quality but it's significance requires it's inclusion here. A little patience is required during the second half with the NASA footage from the moon's surface itself which perhaps these days is ponderous without the rapid-cutting of images such a project would be treated to today. But this should not be allowed to detract at all from the significance of the event itself unfolding before your eyes AND we even get a few multiple camera angles, a feat in itself that is made to appear perfectly normal despite the sheer depth of preparation that went into that as a tiny part of these missions.
So a big vote of thanks to the diligent team who put this excellent DVD together which stands as a reminder of man's tenacity in overcoming his physical limitations that emanated from a slightly less cynical period in his existence on Earth. I was proud to witness this achievement back then and am gladdened in having the chance of re-living it now.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2009
I didn't have any pre-information about this DVD.
Needless to say if you are interested in the Apollo missions and in particular
you were present when history was made then this DVD is for you.
It is made from a mixture of new and archive material but it is very evocative of that July morning in 1969.
The James Burke film inserts give you a good deal of background information about Apollo 11, craft and equipment.
So If you didn't stay up to see the moon landing or if you want to experience that
historical event on July 20th 1969 and get a feel of that actual day, then this is a DVD worth looking at.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2009
Although the BBC has long since wiped the tapes of the broadcast made the night of the first Lunar Landing, this DVD does a great job of recreating the wonder of the event. Sir Patrick Moores passion for the Moon comes over as well as ever as he links the sections together. As well as the familiar shots of the launch, landing and first steps there are some rarer jems included too. The DVD includes segments recorded by James Burke explaining such aspects as the space suit, the bunker beneth the launch pad as well as filming inside an Apollo capsule and experiencing zero G in the air.
A great value DVD that really does add some material that I had never seen to my Apollo library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2012
This documentary was shown on the BBC as part of their 40th Anniversary celebrations of the Apollo 11 moon landings. There isn't much to add to what the other reviewers have already said! The Sky at Night. James Burke. Patrick Moore. It doesn't get much better than that! ... And it really doesn't! This is an absolutely superb DVD and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Apollo 11 - whether you saw it happening live or not! ... Brilliant!
It is so sad that Sir Patrick Moore has recently died. Although an amateur astronomer, it was his careful observation and mapping of the moon surface which greatly aided that first moon landing. So this DVD is a very worthy tribute to this great man!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2013
First, let's talk about the good points:
1) As other reviewers have said, this is a wonderfully evocative reconstruction of that momentous night in 1969
2) It's informative, interesting and still - even after 40+ years - a remarkable achievement to watch again and again
3) James Burke's contributions, especially his demonstration of how a space suit works, are superb. Btw, he was 33 at the time but he looked 55.
4) It is a well-intentioned DVD, patched together from odds and ends as, remarkably, the BBC decided that a lot of their coverage was not worth keeping (Er, so what WAS worth keeping? Old episodes of Dad's Army and Upstairs Downstairs, apparently, rather than footage of mankind's first steps upon another planet. Odd.)
Second, the bad point (and there is only one, but it's a biggie):
1) We get thorough, painstaking coverage of the moonflight and a lot of grainy film of the moon walk itself - more than you will find easily elsewhere - but, upon the critical take off of the LEM to commence its perilous return to earth, it seems that time was running out for this DVD. So, the once-only attempt at take off from the moon's surface, the complex docking with the Command Module, the long and tiring journey back to Earth, the carefully calculated angle of re-entry to avoid either bouncing off the earth's atmosphere or burning up upon entry, the landing in the Pacific, the recovery of the men to the USS Hornet, the joyful arrival home, the period of quarantine when the three men were sealed like zoo animals into a trailer, the tickertape receptions, the press circus, the world tour and the incredible euphoria of success to have achieved something so remarkable and to have beaten the Soviets - NONE of this (and I mean NONE of it) is mentioned, let alone filmed. So, sadly, this feels very much like a great book with the last chapter torn out. We truly get only 3/4 of the whole story and that seems like a great opportunity wasted. There is a 1960 (yes, 1960) episode of `The Sky at Night` with Moore (looking rather dashing and not as eccentric as he became in later years)talking to a visibly nervous physicist called Gilbert Fielder. Why not fill that gap instead with more about Apollo XI?
Hence, four stars. What's been done has been done well. What's missing makes this feel like `Part 1 of 2`.
on 4 August 2014
Excellent recording of the first manned moon landing. It starts with the astronauts preparing for the flight and being transported to the command module at the top of the giant Saturn Five rocket.
The film then shows the crowd of spectators gathered waiting for the lift off.
If you saw this in 1969 as I did, the memories will come flooding back!
Excellent lift off and 'in flight' footage, followed by the landing and moon walks by Armstrong and Aldrin. There is some good quality footage added which supplements the rather poor footage from the television cameras. I remember that all the following Apollo missions had excellent quality pictures. Overall this is an excellent and nostalgic film which only disappoints in its being an incomplete record of the entire voyage, as it does not cover the return journey and subsequent 'splash down'.
on 24 March 2014
Our Austrian grandson, who is now 5, is very interested in all things space. The only criticism is that a lot of film time is spent on the crowds at the launch and, looking at this historically (i can remember it live), we have to skip over that each time to get to the techy stuff.