moviefan9 | New York, NY United States | 09/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Gypsy Moths" (1969) is fabulous! I recommend it highly if you like a movie that's both exciting and "deep." The movie shows the tension created when three skydivers mix with the locals of a small Kansas town. The skydiving stunts are quite impressive --- and real. The subtle building of tension is masterful. Yes, Lancaster, Kerr, and Hackman are very good, but so are Scott Wilson, William Windom, Bonnie Bedelia, and Sherry North. The character development and the themes of mature adult relationships, the choices we make in our lives, and a behind the scenes look at the lives of ''performers'' make the movie more than an action picture. In the DVD extras, Frankenheimer calls "The Gypsy Moths" one of his personal favorites, and says out of the 194 movies and live television shows he has done, "The Gypsy Moths" ranks in the top 2 or 3. That's high praise given Frankenheimer's resume (which includes The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Birdman of Alcatraz, Seven Days in May, and Seconds). Frankenheimer gives a full-length feature interview on the making of the "The Gypsy Moths," including comments on his frustration when the movie was strangely dropped by MGM in its theatrical realease in a management change (because the movie "didn't fit with the kind of new 'exploitation' pictures the new management wanted to make"). Also in the DVD extras, is a thrilling promotional movie trailer, and a behind the scenes making of the movie called "The Skydivers," featuring the work by the stunt skydiving team that made over 1300 jumps to catch the aerial sequences, and interviews with Frankenheimer, Lancaster, and Kerr. All in all, "The Gypsy Moths" is a major film, and a brave one for Frankenheimer, who allows the time for the characters to develop and build the subtle tension, and then explodes it with the skydiving performance and it's aftermath. "The Gypsy Moths" has a kind of cult following, which should only grow now that the movie has been reissued on DVD and VHS, and the movie will surely become a classic."
The Gypsy Moths
moviefan9 | New York, NY United States | 07/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Three barnstorming skydivers come to a small midwestern town to put on a show. "The Gypsy Moths" has great skydiving stunts that were actually performed by a real skydiving stunt team; and the movie is so much more than just an action film. The characters are very interesting and complex, and the backstage look at the lives of "performers" makes this movie a classic! Lancaster is powerful; Kerr, Sheree North and Bonnie Bedelia provide interest and sexual tension; Hackman should have gotten an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor; and director John Frankenheimer has done a superb job of weaving the action and interpersonal drama tightly. "When the ground comes up at you like a sledgehammer, and the sweat freezes on your brow; when jumping isn't only a way to live, but a way to die, too... you're a Gypsy Moth." The ending makes this movie an existential masterpiece!"
Don't let this one pass you by!
J. Martin | Portland, OR USA | 04/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Gypsy Moths" is an almost-lost, almost-classic by legendary director John Frankenheimer. While I certainly wouldn't quibble with the five-star ratings some other users have given it here, I'd say that it's a very good movie, but not quite great.
This is not to damn "The Gypsy Moths" with faint praise. Yes, it's somewhat formulaic (outsiders shake up the lives of folks in a sleepy Midwestern town) and it is a bit of a soap opera. But with the addition of its skydiving story and action sequences, it's also a twist on the standard soap format. And ultimately, it's a story about what happens when characters with utterly different lifestyles and values are pushed into the same room with each other; a story of how, sometimes, envy and contempt become practically the same thing. Add to the mix the commanding presence of Burt Lancaster and a dead-on performance by Gene Hackman, and the whole thing is elevated to a higher level. Hats off, too, to director Frankenheimer for turning what could have been just a soap with some skydiving into something with a bit more substance.
Again, I wouldn't quite say that this is a great movie. The resolution is a bit too simple and the ending a bit too abrupt...at least in comparison to more contemporary standards. But "The Gypsy Moths" does indeed fall into the category of the undiscovered gem. And the commentary track by Frankenheimer makes this one well worth a second viewing."
desefinado | Centennial, CO USA | 09/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of Frankenheimer's most satisfying films. I really like the spare dialogue. The acting is first-rate, and the filming has a free-wheeling feel lacking in Frankenheimer's later efforts. Bonnie Bedelia, Sheree North and Debra Kerr bracket the female spectrum in one of the few Frankenheimer films to depict women as interesting as the men.
Gene Hackman's performance is memorable. Simply terrific."
The Gypsy Moths
Howie Nelson | Towanda, KS. USA | 01/22/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has special meaning to me as it is about sky divers in the late 1960's; who, like the barn stormers of early 1900's, travel from town to town putting on airial sky diving shows. The movie was filmed at my grandparents, Harry, Twila Nelson, farm and airport in Benton, Kansas. My grandparents, father Henry Nelson, and I worked and built the airport in 1960. The airport was Nelson's Airfield. Other parts of the movie was filmed in ElDorado, Kansas. While filming the movie I was a freshman in high school. I got the opportunity to meet and visit with the stars, Burt Lancaster, Gene Hackman, Deborah Kerr, William Windom, Bonnie Bedelia. The movie is a B movie that was made back in the 1950's, 1960,s that was produced as fast and cheap as possible. The story line is marginal and action is slow. It is not a bad movie, but not one of the caliber that Gene Hackman and Bonnie Bedelia went on to make later in their careers. It has some good airial views and sky diving stunts. If you like flying, sky diving, you will enjoy some of the scenes in this movie, and if you are a fan of B movies with the early careers of some of the stars, then I recommend this movie."