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The Right Stuff [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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An epic aviation film, based on Tom Wolfe's book, which charts the history of flight from Chuck Yeager's (Sam Shepard) legendary sound barrier-breaking flight in the 1940s, to the first men in space in the 1960s. The story centres on the relentless efforts of several US pilots to break all records set before them, finalising in the US space exploration programme of the 1960s, in which seven pilots were chosen to represent America in the heated space race with the Russians.
Philip Kaufman's intimate epic about the Mercury astronauts (based on Tom Wolfe's book) was one of the most ambitious and spectacularly exciting movies of the 1980s. It surprised almost everybody by not becoming a smash hit. By all rights, the film should have been every bit the success that Apollo 13 would later become; The Right Stuff is not only just as thrilling, but it is also a bigger and better movie. Combining history (both established and revisionist), grand mythmaking (and myth puncturing), adventure, melodrama, behind-the-scenes dish, spectacular visuals, and a down-to-earth sense of humour, The Right Stuff chronicles NASA's efforts to put a man in orbit. Such an achievement would be the first step toward President Kennedy's goal of reaching the moon, and, perhaps most important of all, would win a crucial public relations/morale victory over the Soviets, who had delivered a stunning blow to American pride by launching Sputnik, the first satellite. The movie contrasts the daring feats of the unsung test pilots--one of whom, Chuck Yeager, embodied more than anyone else the skill and spirit of Wolfe's title--against the heavily publicised (and sanitised) accomplishments of the Mercury astronauts. Through no fault of their own, the spacemen became prisoners of the heroic images the government created for them in order to capture the public's imagination. The casting is inspired; the film features Sam Shepard as the legendary Yeager, Ed Harris as John Glenn, Dennis Quaid as "Gordo" Cooper, Scott Glenn as Alan Shepard, Fred Ward as Gus Grissom, Scott Wilson as Scott Crossfield, and Pamela Reed and Veronica Cartwright are superb in their thankless roles as astronauts' wives. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I recommend this film to anyone who has an interest in space or aviation.
The story is one that most space geeks will be familiar with starting with a war hero pilot in the high desert of california flying the Bell rocket plane. You're then introduced to a certain Captain Chuck Yeager - a name that this generation will find synonimous with flight simulator software. The story follows two parallel lines, one line following Yeager and the other following seven astronauts, the Mercury Seven. We see the trials that the prospective astronauts go through, both in their workplace and their homes.
The movie tends towards an element of sentimentality at times and I wonder how much of Tom Wolfe's fiction has any basis in fact but there are some special moments. The flypast with the classic missing man formation at a funeral is an emotive moment, and the ever present preacher arriving like the angel of death carrying the news of another nameless dead hotshot spread across the Mojave adds a darker element.
The film is long, but doesn't feel so and the production values high. The characterisation is, from the biographies of the astronauts and flyers I've read, reasonably accurate and with the mixing in of genuine footage at one point it is difficult to determine whether Al Shepherd is himself or the actor Scott Glenn.
I enjoyed the movie, especially the little touches like the onscreen cameo for General Yeager himself. Watch also for an early Jeff Goldblum role - a marvellous double act with Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap fame. I would suggest that you play the movie loud to experience the full battering wall of sound that is the flight of the X-1 and the launch of the Mercury-Redstone rocket.
The soundtrack is a treat, but it failed slightly by at times doing that typical 80's thing of using some electronic instruments rather than a proper orchestra at times. It just sounds dated.
Nice and clear on Blu Ray, but don't expect pinpoint clarity, and good sound too.
I think it ran for a good three hours so make you get the snacks in!
Worth watching. Worth having, so I bought it. And watched it again, and again, ...
Chuck Yeager himself has a little cameo roll and is on screen with Sam Shepard and Barbara Hershey as Chuck Yeager and his wife Glennis.
BTW the cast is incredible - from Jeff Goldblum and Donald Moffat to all the guys with "The Right Stuff" like Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Dennis Quaid. Not to mention the women.
However, I can not understand why this DVD was released with a mutilated version of the film which is missing many important scenes. I immeadiately noticed that at least these scenes are missing: Life's publisher Luce, the fire at Panchos, John Glenns "fireflies" and Sally Rand's fandance (while the Mecury astronauts are at Lyndon Johnson's party and Chuck Yeager is flying a dangerous test of a special F-104). Why release a DVD without these scenes? If these are missing I am sure others I didn't notice also are missing.
There is now a later DVD version called a Special Edition, which perhaps contains the normal, unadulterated, version of the movie....
One little interesting detail. When this film was made they apparently could not find a USAF F-104 to use for Yeager's flight. They must have all been retired. The aircraft shown is a Starfighter from the German Air Force and is flown by a German pilot. How strange.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic hd picture, real improvement over the standard dvd, for those who have seen this film it tells the story of the race to conquer space from the very beginning with chuck... Read morePublished 1 month ago by michael connolly
Excellent film, great balance of serious and humorous stuff.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer