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Apollo 11: A Night to Remember
Apollo 11 A Night to Remember
Actors: James Burke, Sir Patrick Moore
Director: Paul Vanezis
Genres: Documentary
NR     2009     1hr 58min

Relive the excitement and awe of the first moon landing Unearthing rare archival footage from the BBC, this two-hour documentary compiles the sights, sounds, and electrifying drama of humanity?s first footsteps on the moo...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: James Burke, Sir Patrick Moore
Director: Paul Vanezis
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Space Exploration
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color
DVD Release Date: 06/30/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 58min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 05/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is a nostalgic retro-space event for those of an age to remember the moment. It sticks, like Kennedy's assassination, and the 9-11 terrorist attack. Take quick advantage of ordering this DVD and have it on-hand for the 40th anniversary of the moon walk.

The BBC put together this special, largely made up of actual footage of the mission's days from July, 1969. Houston space command video was sent around the world, so the US views are included. What's also added is the British coverage, the BBC presentation, of what they referred to as the height of American technology. Thus, THE BEST OF BOTH WORLD, both sides of the Atlantic.

The BBC coverage begins where the US TV network coverage started, at lift off, July 16, 1969. It carries on to the 20th when "The Eagle has landed" and to the Eastern Daylight Saving time, almost at midnight, for "That's one small step...". For the first 2 1/2 hours of Monday the 21st, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked the moon (Mike Collins orbited the moon in the command module). The significant footage is on this DVD, including film from the Lunar Module (LM) camera that was not viewable live back in 1969. The special ends with splashdown on the 24th, but little of that part of the mission, after the moon walk, is included in this DVD.

It is exciting, fun, and almost as suspenseful, to again watch the coverage, as it was 40 years ago. Better for this reviewer, because at the time I was a poor college student without color TV. It brings back the pride and astonishment of the early activity at Cape Kennedy (now reverted back to the original name of Cape Canaveral) and Houston Mission Control.

Presented by Sir Patrick Moore, noted astronomer and BBC personality, it provides educational/scientific insight into the events of the late 1960s. Also provided is FUNNY, factual, and colorful features from the BBC coverage in 1969 through James Burke, reporter, who's segments included the astronaut's escape slide, a weightless simulation, and an explanation of the space suit, during which Burke disrobes one piece at a time, down to the scientifically produced underwear, highly absorbent (for you know what) which "works like baby nappies." In this bit, Burke looks something like Buzz Lightyear, action figure from "Toy Story."

_____"The Sky at Night" a segment from Sir Moore's monthly BBC program which has aired since April, 1957. This part aired September 27, 1960 and shows photos of the far side of the moon taken from the Russian Lunik 3 moon photo launch in October, 1959. Interesting conclusions were made then, prior to the American's actual moon landing in 1969.
_____Sir Patrick Moore Biography
_____SUBTITLES for the feature AND for the biography.

Fantastic for schools and teachers. Awesome for those old enough to remember watching the live nighttime TV coverage in the USA."
Man On The Moon From The BBC
Matthew Kresal | USA | 07/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On this side of the Atlantic we are well acquainted with the news coverage of the Apollo 11 Moon landing which occurred nearly forty years ago now in the form of the Walter Cronkite coverage for example. But how did others around the world view that amazing feat? Well here's a chance to do just that. This DVD which originally aired in the UK in 2006 as part of the famed and long running science fact series The Sky At Night, from the perspective of the coverage of UK's famed BBC. It is an intriguing and even captivating documentary experience to say the least.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the documentary is the BBC footage itself. Due to a BBC policy of the 1960's and 1970's the BBC regularly destroyed or wiped footage it saw as unnecessary (including much of the 1960's episodes of Doctor Who for example) in order to save valuable storage space. As a result of that policy sadly destroyed materials included virtually all of the BBC's twenty-seven plus hour coverage of Apollo 11 for reasons that boggle the mind. Thankfully audio recordings were taken by average people of that coverage and it is those recording when coupled with the original live TV transmissions saved for posterity on this side of the Atlantic and filmed clips inserted into the live coverage that make up the bulk of the 1969 footage used here. The reconstructions of the coverage are an amazing feat and while it might not be the coverage in exactly its original form it is still fascinating viewing and listening due to its alternate perspective.

The alternate perspective's biggest highlight, outside of the reconstructed BBC footage, is BBC reporter James Burke's filmed segments which makes up the bulk of surviving material. Burke's segments include a section on the escape tunnel and bunker that would have been sued by the astronauts in the event of an emergency with the Saturn 5 rocket which includes a rare look at the bunker itself (which is something completely new that I haven't seen anywhere before). There's also a guided tour of the command module, Burke's experiences on NAS's Vomit Comet plane used to simulate gravity and even Burke trying on one of the suits similar to the ones worn on the Moon. Burke's footage is both insightful (such as in the emergency situation segment) and even humorous at times (the Vomit Comet being a fantastic example).

Then there's Sir Patrick Moore. Moore, a world famous astronomer and host of the BBC's The Sky At Night, was one of the BBC's main presenters during the original mission and he not only hosts this documentary but even supplements his own remarks from his perspective of nearly four decades alter (keeping in mind this was originally aired in the UK in 2006). It is Moore who links together the various pieces of material across the two hours with great authority and, surprisingly enough, humor at times. Just as intriguing is the inclusion of a 1960 episode of The Sky At night talking about the first images to come back from the far side of the Moon and a younger Moore's discussions with a fellow scientist on what the Moon's surface may be like some nine years before the Moon landing. It is with Moore as the program's front man this two hour compilation of the BBC's coverage makes for fascinating viewing.

While the story of Apollo 11 is well known it is always interesting to get a fresh perspective on a major event. This DVD is exactly that: a fresh and alternate perspective on what has been called Man's greatest adventure. With great authority and humor it is a journey back in time and across the void of space to an incredible moment in history. If you're looking for a different and captivating viewpoint to that event look no further then Apollo 11: A Night to Remember."
Great Apollo 11 Retrospective Featuring Sir Patrick Moore An
Robert I. Hedges | 06/14/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have seen most of the Apollo 11 documentaries made in the last several decades, but, amazingly, "Apollo 11 A Night To Remember" unearths some archival material (mostly from the BBC) that I had not seen before. It is a charming production, even though it's not particularly elaborate. I think of this as the British perspective on Apollo, and personally far prefer it to the Walter Cronkite-intensive material most commonly seen in the US.

The special is hosted by noted British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, who was early to arrive in the business of covering the lunar program, and features commentary by the great James Burke, who is always interesting, and is better at explaining complex things in simple terms than most anyone. I must admit that the modern footage of Moore (complete with a very aristocratic monocle) is a bit jarring in the way it's edited in to the final product, nonetheless, his observations are spot on.

There is a lot of black and white footage in the film, much of it grainy, but that's obviously a problem with the source material. My favorite segments in the documentary by far were of James Burke demonstrating various things. His ride in the zero-G "Vomit Comet" is amusing, but his tours of the Command Module and his explanation of the EVA suit, including modeling it and doffing it for the camera make a very complex piece of equipment much more readily understood than reading about it and looking at diagrams.

Aside from the jarring edits between archival footage and the modern Moore footage, there are a few other detractors in the production: the film spends a lot of time on the surface during Armstrong and Aldrin's EVA, which is great, but much of the time is of comparatively trivial technical events (unspooling the cord for the television camera, etc.) while it could have been better used elsewhere. This was driven home by the abrupt end of the film: after spending a long time covering relative minutiae of the EVA, after "Eagle" enters lunar orbit for rendezvous, the film just ends with a note that since Apollo 11 other missions also went to the moon. I think it would have better had they spent less time on the details of the EVA and spent at least a bit on the journey home, recovery, quarantine, and historical perspective of the mission.

Overall the DVD rides the line between four and five stars, but I settled on four, as the editing and abrupt conclusion were rather jarring. Nonetheless, I highly recommend "Apollo 11 A Night To Remember" as it has a different viewpoint than is commonly seen, and the archival footage, and especially the material with James Burke makes it hugely worthwhile."