The Flight of the Phoenix

( 8 )

Overview

Robert Aldrich's The Flight of the Phoenix comes to DVD in one of the finest transfers of any mid-'60s 20th Century Fox film. Letterboxed to an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in keeping with its non-anamorphic photography, the image is not only brighter and sharper than this reviewer remembers it, even in showings on American Movie Classics (where the movie turned up regularly from the late '90s onward), but significantly crisper and more vivid, and "closer." You can see every pore on James Stewart's face and every bead...
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Overview

Robert Aldrich's The Flight of the Phoenix comes to DVD in one of the finest transfers of any mid-'60s 20th Century Fox film. Letterboxed to an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in keeping with its non-anamorphic photography, the image is not only brighter and sharper than this reviewer remembers it, even in showings on American Movie Classics (where the movie turned up regularly from the late '90s onward), but significantly crisper and more vivid, and "closer." You can see every pore on James Stewart's face and every bead of sweat on Richard Attenborough's face, and not just in the tight close-ups; the sandstorms have an almost tactile quality about them; and the heat seems to shimmer. The crystal-clear sound also brings out the best nuances of Frank De Vol's unfairly overlooked score. Joseph Biroc's cinematography and the Deluxe Color film stock haven't looked this good since the day the movie opened, and the letterboxing provides a focus for Aldrich's sense of dramatic tension that is partly lost when the image is opened up to full-screen. The movie has been given 36 chapter breaks, which is appropriate, though the 149-minute running time almost defies simple outlining. The special features are a bit unusual -- in addition to the original English-language trailer, we get to see the Spanish and Portuguese trailers, all accessible on a two-layer menu that opens automatically on the start-up of the disc.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Original theatrical trailer, plus the Spanish and Portuguese trailers for the film
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
An all-star cast attempts a feat just this side of implausible in The Flight of the Phoenix, a taut disaster movie set in the Saharan desert. As the pilot whose arrogance dooms a dozen men to sandy purgatory, Jimmy Stewart embodies an old-school flying philosophy that butts up against the modern design concepts of a priggish German. The fact that the disagreeable German is most often correct, and Stewart the American is pig-headed and irascible, is novelist Elleston Trevor's acknowledgment of the shifting power dynamics in the international scientific community, as well as the arrival of a new brand of post-war leader. Lukas Heller's adaptation of Trevor's novel is a real slow burn, unfolding over 148 smartly paced minutes of these men coming apart at the seams, sometimes literally -- as part of a visceral makeup scheme by Ben Nye Sr., the harsh desert exposure leaves the men pocked with open sores, their loose flaps of skin peeling off like paint from the side of a house. The movie foreshadows the wave of star-studded disaster films that would come along in the 1970s, most notably in its clever opening credits sequence. The names of the who's who cast appear -- Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Ernest Borgnine -- and the camera freeze-frames on each panicked face as the plane descends toward earth. The characters' most basic instincts are exposed under the dire conditions that follow, and these delineate into the broad character types at the core of a good disaster film. It's a tribute to Robert Aldrich's film that courage is not always rewarded -- nor cowardice punished -- according to Hollywood's usual standards of justice. Alternately theatrical and grounded, for want of a better word, The Flight of the Phoenix is tense entertainment.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/20/2003
  • UPC: 024543075455
  • Original Release: 1965
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Letterbox
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Language: English, Français, Español
  • Time: 2:29:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Stewart Frank Towns
Richard Attenborough Lew Moran
Peter Finch Capt. Harris
Hardy Kruger Heinrich Dorfmann
Ernest Borgnine Trucker Cobb
Ian Bannen Crow
Ronald Fraser Sgt. Watson
Christian Marquand Dr.Renaud
Dan Duryea Standish
George Kennedy Bellamy
Gabriele Tinti Gabriele
Alex Montoya Carlos
Peter Bravos Tasso
William Aldrich Bill
Barrie Chase Farida
Stanley Ralph Ross Arab Singer
Technical Credits
Robert Aldrich Director, Producer
L.B. Abbott Special Effects
Joseph Biroc Cinematographer
Walter Blake Associate Producer
Clifford C. Coleman Asst. Director
Frank De Vol Score Composer
William Glasgow Art Director
Lucien M. Hafley Set Decoration/Design
Lukas Heller Screenwriter
Norma Koch Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael Luciano Editor
Howard Lydecker Special Effects
Ben Nye Sr. Makeup
Gino Paoli Songwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Bound for Benghazi
2. The Sandstorm
3. Main Titles
4. Crash Landing
5. Getting Organized
6. The Survival Plan
7. The Radio
8. another Sandstorm
9. The Fifth Day
10. Captain Harris' Plan
11. A Twisted Ankle
12. The Aircraft Designer
13. A Head Case
14. Going After Cobb
15. Dorfmann's Idea
16. Night Work
17. A Cunning German
18. The Return of Captain Harris
19. Watson's Guilt
20. Suicide
21. Stolen Water
22. If...
23. The Left Wing
24. The Right Wing
25. The Raiding Party
26. A Refused Order
27. Death in the Desert
28. A Vision of Farida
29. Stupidity as a Virtue
30. The Man in Charge
31. Toy Airplanes
32. Starting the Engine
33. Dragging the Plane
34. The Take-Off
35. Happy Landing
36. End Titles
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Language Selection
      Languages
         English Stereo
         English Mono
         French Mono
         Spanish Mono
      Subtitles
         English
         Spanish
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      Spanish Trailer
      Portuguese Trailer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    First is always better than remakes.

    This is the original Flight of the Phoenix. While the remake follows this closely, there are distinct differences in this original that make it a far better movie. And being in Black and White adds to the nostalgia of the movie. Recommend it highly

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2003

    A masterpiece

    After encountering a sandstorm a plane from the arabco oil company is forced to crash land in the desert, killing three of the passengers, and leaving the remaining passengers with an almost unlimited supply of pressed dates, and enough water for 14 days. Will they be rescued ? Can they somehow get themselves back to civilisation ? This film follows their struggle to survive. A strong cast headed by David attenborough and jimmy stewart (he plays the pilot very convincingly, not surprising as he was a pilot in real life), excellent acting, lovely music and a good storyline combine to make this an extremely watchable film. 10 very different characters are stranded together in the baking hot desert, and the interplay and developing relationships both good and bad between them as the situation becomes increasingly desperate makes for a riveting watch. This is a ripping good yarn. A masterpiece.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2003

    Another Stewart Triumph

    I am a big James Stewart Fan, which, I am told is unusual to be a fan of the Classics at age 34-I am also into Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Lucille Ball, and many others. I thought Stewart gave a STRONG performance in this One. Does anyone know what type of aircraft they crashed in? I am curious, because I plan to buy models of the aircraft in some of James Stewart's other Films, and would like to see about getting one of this plane as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2003

    James Stewarts Finest Performance

    One of my ten favorite movies of all time and in my opinion the best acted film ever. The scene where the rugged, no-nonsense captain discovers his salvation has fallen into the hands of a toymaker is absolutely mesmerizing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2003

    I keep watching this movie looking for the song

    wonderful plight of a group of individuals in the Saraha eating pressed dates. But what is the song Connie Francis sings as a soothing time for the injured man if you know email me gbwamba@msn.com thanks

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2002

    A true classic

    This is a great film with a marvellous cast and is worth watching for the ''engine starting'' sequence alone! - Watch the film and see what I mean!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2000

    A really great movie........

    Being 44 years old now, I remember seeing this movie when I was a teen. It's truly unbelieveable that I still remember the film and consider it one of my all time favorites. I would hope most would agree with me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews