Reluctant Astronaut

The Reluctant Astronaut

4.0 2
Director: Edward J. Montagne Jr.

Cast: Don Knotts, Leslie Nielsen, Joan Freeman

     
 

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Roy Fleming (Don Knotts) is signed on to the space program at NASA by his father Buck (Arthur O'Connell), a gung-ho former World War I vet who is trying to make something out of his son. Roy becomes a janitor who is afraid of heights and mistaken for an astronaut through a series of comedic mishaps. (Jesse White) plays Roy's boss Donelli, with (Leslie Nielsen) as…  See more details below

Overview

Roy Fleming (Don Knotts) is signed on to the space program at NASA by his father Buck (Arthur O'Connell), a gung-ho former World War I vet who is trying to make something out of his son. Roy becomes a janitor who is afraid of heights and mistaken for an astronaut through a series of comedic mishaps. (Jesse White) plays Roy's boss Donelli, with (Leslie Nielsen) as space hero Major Gifford. Knotts uses his patented brand of nervousness to perfection in this lighthearted situation comedy.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Don Knotts was a television icon whose movie career never really got off the launching pad, but this 1967 Space Age comedy is a real blast. Knotts stars as Roy Fleming, who runs a rocket ship attraction at a small Missouri amusement park. His father (venerable character actor Arthur O'Connell), a gung-ho veteran who still gives his acrophobic son marching orders, applies to NASA on his behalf. Roy is accepted, but as a janitor, while his hometown thinks he is an astronaut. Leslie Nielsen, in his pre-Airplane straight man days, turns up as an actual astronaut who takes Roy under his wing. The best is saved for last, as the unwitting Roy is chosen to be a guinea pig for an untested automated rocket and is blasted into space. Even kids reluctant to watch an older movie their parents recommend will especially enjoy the slapstick of the training, launch, and space flight scenes, as when Roy attempts to squirt his zero-gravity peanut butter onto free-floating crackers.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Whether one enjoys The Reluctant Astronaut will depend almost entirely on one's fondness for and appreciation of star Don Knotts. This is very clearly a vehicle, a low budget comedy on a then-topical subject (space travel); take away the star, and there's absolutely nothing there. In other words, don't come to Astronaut expecting a well-structured screenplay filled with witty dialogue and surprising turns of phrases, captivating plot twists and characters that engage due to the originality and imagination with which they are conceived and executed. Instead, be prepared for a steady barrage of gags, many of them sight-based and an alarming number of them based on the classic "fish out of water" premise. Some of the gags work very well, and Astronaut therefore has a fair share of laughs. It also includes a few moments involving the title character and his father that, while far from being great drama, are actually rather touching. Credit Knotts (along with "father" Arthur O'Connell) for playing those moments so well. Knotts certainly gives his all in the comedy moments as well, but there will be some viewers who simply don't take to his bug-eyed approach. For those in tune with the comedian, however, he's in very fine form, and gets solid support from O'Connell, Jesse White and Jeanette Nolan. Leslie Nielsen is fine if unremarkable, and much better than Joan Freeman, whose character comes off as less appealing than was intended.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/02/2003
UPC:
0025192354526
Original Release:
1967
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:43:00
Sales rank:
12,885

Special Features

Closed Caption; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Don Knotts Roy Fleming
Leslie Nielsen Major Fred Gifford
Joan Freeman Ellie Jackson
Jesse White Donelli
Jeanette Nolan Mrs. Fleming
Arthur O'Connell Buck Fleming
Frank McGrath Plank
Joan Shawlee Blonde in bar
Guy Raymond Bert
Nydia Westman Aunt Zena
Paul Hartman Rush
Robert Pickering Moran
Ceil Cabot Waitress
Fabian Dean Bus Driver
Fay deWitt Secretary
Burt Mustin Ned
Robert Simon Cervantes

Technical Credits
Edward J. Montagne Director,Producer
Alexander Golitzen Art Director
John P. Austin Set Decoration/Design
George Brown Special Effects
Bill DeCinces Art Director
Hank Edds Makeup
Jim Fritzell Screenwriter
Joseph E. Gershenson Musical Direction/Supervision
Everett Greenbaum Screenwriter
David Lee Special Effects
John McCarthy Set Decoration/Design
Vic Mizzy Score Composer
Rosemary Odell Costumes/Costume Designer
Sam E. Waxman Editor
Bud Westmore Makeup
Rex Wimpy Cinematographer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. All Systems Go! (Main Titles) [7:41]
2. You've Been Accepted [6:02]
3. A Credit to the Universe [3:42]
4. Afraid of Heights [3:50]
5. The Space Center [6:24]
6. Report for Duty [4:48]
7. Astronaut in Training [6:46]
8. Welcome Home [8:52]
9. Don't Quit Now [4:57]
10. Unexpected Tourists [4:37]
11. A Sled Ride [7:41]
12. Least Qualified Individual [5:45]
13. Prepare for Space [7:11]
14. Ignition Blastoff [5:27]
15. In Orbit [4:38]
16. Computer Jam-Up [5:57]
17. Firing Retrorockets [3:41]
18. End Titles [3:22]

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The Reluctant Astronaut 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only better performance in cinematic history is Knotts' role in "The Ghost & Mr Chicken."
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an astronaut I found Don Knotts portrayal of an astronaut very unrealistic. although I did find the peanut butter scene mildly humourous, in truth nasa has spent millions of dollars to ensure that such life threatening situations never arise, and space travel is not a laughing matter. Also the idea that a janitor would be shot into space as unlikely as a monkey being shot to the moon. i suppose if humour is your "thing" then you could find some enjoyment out of this slapstick "comedy."