Recently we celebrated the 66th anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier. I was surprised to learn that my wife had never seen the movie The Right Stuff. And I was delighted to learn that there was a new 30th Anniversary (for the movie) Blu-Ray edition out.
I am willing to be that most people visiting my blog have seen The Right Stuff before. It’s a great movie depicting a tremendous period of history, especially Space History.
Good stuff: the casting director, Lynn Stalmaster, along with whoever had final say on casting decisions, did a remarkable job of assembling actors that could carry the roles of some pretty well known people in American History. Every one of the cast members, the test pilots, the astronauts, their wives, turned in great performances. Ed Harris was excellent as John Glenn, and Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeagar was convincing. Fred Ward, Dennis Quaid, Scott Glenn, and all the rest, excellent performances.
How historically accurate the film is can be debated, but this is a film, and some artistic license has to be made for an epic that is squeezed into a two and a half hour time frame.
There are also a lot of bonus features with the set, some of which are a little dated, and obviously so, but are still good to watch.
For the film, there are a few things left out that would have been better to know about, such as Pancho Barnes’ background – she was an aviator herself, and had set a number of records. But we don’t get that from the film. Also, why did her place burn down? Scott Crossfield, the first man to fly at Mach 2, is mostly just a minor background character, despite his importance in the age of spaceplane development (X-1 and X-15). Crossfield was an aerospace engineer (BS and MS), and became a test pilot so that he could design better planes. But that’s movies for ya, and, like I said, there is only so much that can be squeezed into the time they had for the film.
This Blu-Ray edition also comes with a booklet discussing the film, some of the historical figures, and some of the actors in the film. It’s a nice little booklet, but I would have preferred more of a focus on the real people rather than the actors. That’s a personal nit.
Overall, a great picture, well worth adding to the film library, and, if you are one of the few who has never seen it, now is the time to check it out.