Race to Space Americas Greate
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After� World� War� II� drew� to� a� close,� a� new conflict� began.�� The� Cold� War� between� the Soviet� Union� and� the� United� States� spurred an� engineering� and� scientific� competition known� as� the� "Space� Race."� From� beginning
to� end,� the� American� publics� attention� was captivated, and the various developments by the� Soviet� and� U.S.� space� programs� were heavily covered in the national media.�� Renowned� documentarian� and� filmmaker David� L.� Wolper� introduced� American television� audiences� to� the� very� first� report about� the� Soviet� and� American� space� race (The� Race� for� Space)� which� later� earned� an Oscar nomination.� �
This� groundbreaking� television� event,� along with� 2� subsequent� documentary� features, capture� the� worldwide� phenomenon� of space
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This disc contains the 3 David Wolper television documentaries that were apparently licensed directly from The Wolper Organization. All of them were very well researched and the first two feature the talents of 60 Minutes legend Mike Wallace as well as noted film composer Elmer Bernstein.
THE RACE FOR SPACE (1959/B&W/52 min.) - Covers the developments in rocketry from it's early beginnings with Robert Goddard up to the first satellite launches. Includes some great coverage on Werner Von Braun and the German rocket team who became highly sought out by the US and Russia at the end of the war. Was nominated for the 1960 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and aside from some groan-inducing scripted interview segments it pretty much lives up to that billing.
PROJECT: MAN IN SPACE (1963/B&W/51 min.) - This one details the training & preparations and reviews the then-recent history of manned spaceflight for both the Soviet Union and America. Some of the Soviet training footage (real or staged, who knows) is exceedingly rare and I found it fascinating.
RACE FOR THE MOON (1964/B&W/53 min.) - Project Apollo and it's progress up to 1964 is reported on. This was made before Project Gemini was even in it's flight phase; as such it has some great coverage on very early Apollo hardware and methodologies. Unfortunately, many of the interview subjects are "heads of department" types and senators arguing over funding so a fair portion of the program is spent on political posturing. Has some insightful comments from astronauts Rusty Schweickart who later flew on Apollo 9 and Ed White who went on to be the first American to walk in space and tragically die in the Apollo 1 fire.
JOURNEY TO THE MOON: THE APOLLO 11 STORY (2009/B&W/COLOR/44 min.) - The only newer program in this collection, it's a pretty tepid paint-by-the-numbers documentary on Apollo 11. I suppose it's OK but many others have done a much better job. If you are familiar with the type of cheaply-made newer docs that feature a bland narrator which often show up on Mill Creek and other budget label collections, well this is in that same vein.
The remaining programs are a sampling of the NASA-produced [usually mission-specific] documentaries that have long been in the public domain and have appeared on countless DVD releases. They have a long history of abysmal image and sound quality but these ones are amongst the better transfers out there. The best collection of these films I've come across is a set of VHS put out in the 80s by Easton Press called "America's Achievements in Space". They are worth tracking down if you find this stuff interesting.
TIME OF APOLLO (1975/COLOR/29 min.) - Labeled as "Apollo 11: Time of Apollo" but really an overview of the entire program.
APOLLO 12: PINPOINT FOR SCIENCE (1970/COLOR/28 min.) - Kind of a rarity, it's hardly ever featured on DVD releases.
APOLLO 13: "HOUSTON, WE'VE GOT A PROBLEM" (1970/COLOR/28 min.) - Very common, the version here is in great quality.
APOLLO 17: ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS (1973/COLOR/28 min.) - Again, it's pretty common but decent quality here.
FLY ME TO THE MOON AND BACK (1966/COLOR/29 min.) - Super rare doc looks at the complex physics of going to the moon.
JFK SPEECH AT RICE UNIVERSITY (1962/COLOR/21 min.) - JFK's "We choose to go to the moon" speech in it's entirety.
SLIDESHOW: APOLLO 11
SLIDESHOW: THE UNIVERSE
At the usual low price point for Mill Creek releases, this one is worth it. Instead of a total rehash they managed to dig up some different material and they should be commended for that effort. There's enough material here that even the most hardcore space nerd is likely to learn something new or see something different.