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Matt Hough

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A precursor to the disaster movies that would be box-office gold in the first half of the 1970s, Robert Aldrich’s The Flight of the Phoenix was a bit before its time but is a nevertheless exciting if lengthy thriller that has stood the test of time.



The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)



Released: 15 Dec 1965
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 142 min




Director: Robert Aldrich
Genre: Adventure, Drama



Cast: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch
Writer(s): Lukas Heller, Trevor Dudley Smith



Plot: After an oil company plane crashes in the Sahara, the survivors are buoyed with hope by one of the passengers, an airplane designer who plans for them to build a flyable plane from the wreckage.



IMDB rating: 7.5
MetaScore: N/A





Disc Information...

Continue reading...
 
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Flashgear

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Great review Matt, and thank you!

I should have it on street date, and really look forward to this Criterion Blu treatment.

It might have been a box office disappointment first run at Christmas time 1965, but by the time I first saw it as a 9 year old a few months later in a packed 25 cent Saturday afternoon matinee with hundreds of screaming kids, it was a thrilling hit! The story and suspense was still compelling enough for an audience of kids to remain quietly patient during this lengthy movie...but boy, oh boy, do I remember the screaming throngs cheering with rapturous delight when the engine finally coughed to life and the 'Phoenix' was tugged by it's half-dead men to an even more thrilling takeoff with Jimmy at the controls!

I love the music by De Vol, and my appreciation for the great cast (Richard Attenborough's brilliant transition from hysterical laughing to heartbreaking crying!) and the movie itself has only grown over the years. Especially so, when discovering the long and thrilling movie history of famed stunt flier Paul Mantz, who died making this film. And then also in discovering Jimmy Stewart's own personal history of dangerous service as a bomber pilot in WW2, and his accomplished career in aviation. I agree that Hardy Krueger nearly steals the movie, one of my favorite films of his, along with the excellent The One Who Got Away...

As an oil and gas technician in the early 1980s, I discovered the story's depicted Calanshio Sand Sea of Libya's Cyrenaica for myself. A brutal place where it was very easy to die. I was thinking of this movie every time we rode a helicopter or fixed-wing over that hellish desert. They sensibly filmed this movie at Yuma Arizona!
 

Radioman970

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One of my favorite movies of all time. I saw it at a young age as well and it always stuck with me. Just watched the dvd in early December. An incredible viewing experience as always. Shortly after it was announced Hardy Krüger had died. He, Stewart and Attenborough make it hard to pause the movie before it's over. Everything flows so well with them.
I definitely felt the dvd needed an upgrade.
 

skylark68

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For some reason I don’t get email notifications for threads on this site so I missed the announcement on the Criterion thread. This is a great review. I agree wholeheartedly with the scores. The other site gave the video a lesser score but I think the color timing is pretty accurate. I wasn’t even born until 11 years after the film was released but I remember seeing it on tv and I had the old dvd and it seems to be about the same to my eyes.
 

Jack P

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I got my copy the other day and thought it looked fine. The extras were okay but not exceptional.

The one thing I have never understood about this film though is how in the world Ian Bannen ever got an Oscar nomination for a part that isn't very significant.
 

Flashgear

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Very happy with this transfer, one of my favorite Jimmy Stewart films.

I agree that the extras are somewhat blah, a disappointment. The discussion between Walter Hill and Allan Silver was (to me) uninspired, although with proper tribute to Robert Aldrich. And biographer Donald Dewey, in discussing Jimmy Stewart's WW2 combat career, offers nothing new and appears unaware of recent research (the excellent 2016 book Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the fight for Europe by Robert Matzen. As close as anyone will ever come to the inspiring truth, despite Jimmy's own admirable modesty and desire to not find celebrity fame amidst the terrible reality of bloody sacrifice by many anonymous men).

The essay by critic Gina Telaroli is quite good and insightful.

You do get a card cut-out model of the 'Phoenix', in fact there were two in my case.
 

AnthonyClarke

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I love 'Flight of the Phoenix'. But Jimmy Stewart told me that 'The Spirit of St Louis' was his personal aviation-themed movie from his career. He was quite passionate about it in his typical laid-back way.
 

Nelson Au

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I finally watched the Criterion The Flight of the Phoenix last night. I have the Eureka blu ray and that disc looked just like the earlier US region DVD, which I also own, in terms of color timing. So I am aware of people who thought the Criterion edition altered the color timing the wrong way. I did not do a comparison, I just enjoyed the movie. I did not think the color timing was wrong or bad. I wouldn’t know what the original film was supposed to look like. I thought it looked fine.

The only thing I wondered about was a few scenes looked like there was an abrupt edit, like a scene was cut short or edited out. But I think I felt that way after watching the Eureka version. So maybe it always was like that.
 

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