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directed by Robert Aldrich
USA 19
65

 

I'm a little appalled , yet not surprised, that a remake of this magnificent film has reared its ugly head. It is also fascinating to me how many incredible films Jimmy Stewart has starred in (and how many poor ones Dennis Quaid appears?) - no I won't compare the two films... it is unnecessary. Perhaps the 2004 edition will ignite some interest in the older, more polished gem.

 

Robert Aldrich's 1965 "The Flight of the Phoenix" rates as one of the best psychological adventure films of the 60's (which is saying a whole heap!). The premise, though simple, resonates to an astounding tale of survival, male bonding, fortune and hope. A twin-engine propeller plane (circa 1940) takes off from a mining operation in the Middle East piloted by Capt. Frank Towns (Jimmy Stewart) with inexperienced co-pilot Lew Moran (Sir Richard Attenborough). When the harsh desert sandstorms stands up on its hind legs the plane crashes in the middle of nowhere... with no hopes of being found or rescued. Now survival mode kicks in - rationing - slim chances of trekking the desert - waiting. A key reason for the success of this film, aside from a marvelous narrative, are the strength of the cast including some of the greatest supporting players ever available: Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger, Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Christian Marquand, Dan Duryea and George Kennedy. Stewart, always excellent, may actually be at the zenith of his onscreen charisma as the disgruntled pilot looking for a reason to lose. With all the characters getting slightly touched in the head by the circumstances and the sun, they decide to build a new plane from the wreckage of the old. This is more in line with keeping themselves busy before death slowly arrives. The interaction between male characters here is like a keynote in sociology - ever gripping and consistently degrading their humanity as time wears on. This film is beyond a mere adventure story - it is a tale of survival, courage and most of all - communication.  out of   

 

NOTE: The plane they leave on at the end of the film was to be a C-82 Boom. The stunt of taking off was too dangerous, so legendary stunt pilot Paul Mantz was asked to merely come in low, run his landing gear along the ground, then take off again, simulating a take-off. On the second take the plane crashed and was destroyed, killing Mantz. As all main footage had already been shot, a North American O-47A observation plane from the Air Museum was substituted for the remaining close-ups.

Gary W. Tooze

 

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Theatrical Release: December 15th, 1965 - USA

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DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1- NTSC
Runtime 2:21:45
Video 1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.11 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (mono), DUBs: French (mono) , Spanish (mono)  
Subtitles English, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.83:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailer
• Spanish Trailer
• Portuguese Trailer

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2003

Keep Case
Chapters: 36

 

Comments:

Not a bad image at all. Minor softness, but true filmic experience with no digital manipulations. Colors may be slightly washed, but contrast is very good. Subtitles are excellent, audio gives 4 choices (English stereo and mono) and 2 DUBs in mono. No extras save the trailers. It seems to have been a forgotten film - but a true gem so I doubt it will be SE'ed soon. It deserves it though. This DVD gets  out of

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1- NTSC



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