Apollo 11
January 31, 2019 1:27 PM   Subscribe

As the 50th anniversary draws near, Apollo 11 is yet another film about the 1969 manned moon mission. Made from recently found and restored video and audio, after premiering at Sundance the film has picked up positive reviews. Variety: '...just about all the footage has never been seen before.' Gizmodo: 'Six weeks before launch, MGM lost interest'. Nerdist: 'The footage ... looks so crisp, so clean, so impossibly high definition that you would think it was filmed last week..'. Hollywood Reporter: '...the weight and grandeur that come from 6.5 million pounds of machinery instead of CG'. Previously on MetaFilter: the flight plan, Saturn V launch, getting to the moon, 35th anniversary, the Apollo photos.
posted by Wordshore (39 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
 
yes please
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:40 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Although not strictly about Apollo 11 (it covers the entire program), I feel like For All Mankind should get a mention here, too. If just for the amazing Eno soundtrack, if nothing else.
posted by phooky at 1:42 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


I haven't heard about this but I will absorb anything at all about the Gemini or Apollo missions.
posted by bondcliff at 1:42 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I watched this trailer like 5 times yesterday. So psyched. The trailer alone evoked more of an emotional reaction in me than the entire "First Man" movie.

Anyone have any ideas on theatrical release date?
posted by codewheeney at 1:45 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


I just played that trailer at maximum quality, full screen, on my laptop. Even though I had to shut everything else down, and my laptop quickly started to heat ... heck, that is something.

If/when this appears at an IMAX, I am there. Am assuming this coming summer will be the one of 50th anniversary events of variable quality, and seeing this will do it for me.
posted by Wordshore at 1:51 PM on January 31


The real hero is NARA’s Dan Rooney.
“As NASA was preparing the Apollo 11 launch, it made a deal with MGM Studios to film the mission preparations and their aftermath. MGM set up a crew to film it all using the same epic Todd-AO70mm treatment it gave to blockbusters like The Sound of Music. Six weeks before launch, MGM lost interest but NASA wanted to go through with it anyway and managed to get the crew filming. Some of the footage was used in a short documentary, but most of it was locked away. “
posted by Ideefixe at 1:54 PM on January 31 [8 favorites]


That's exhilarating ... and more than a little heartbreaking to watch.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:55 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


coffee hoverer at 1:33 kind of makes me cringe......maybe keep that away from the blinkenlights console?
posted by thelonius at 1:58 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Hopefully this makes the Best of the Fest selections that I'm going to see at Sundance on Monday. Fingers crossed.
posted by ShakeyJake at 2:23 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Thank you thank you thank you so very much for posting this. I had never even heard the story about MGM.
posted by ezust at 2:33 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Needs more Hidden Figures ... just finished reading the book itself, its amazing!
posted by infini at 2:47 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


You can’t imagine how amazing and awe-inspiring this was to 12 year-old me. It seemed, for a while at least, that nothing was truly impossible if we set ourselves to it. Then the 70s happened and I’ve never felt that optimism again.

I still have a set of photos from the Apollo 11 mission that I think were available from Scholastic. I’ll never get rid of them.
posted by tommasz at 2:47 PM on January 31 [6 favorites]


The detail is astonishing: the motors whizzing away on the crawler, the 'Remove Before Flight' tags dangling off the LM, the button straining on the photographer's blue polyester slacks...

And Mike Collins -- so young! Was going to the Moon his afterschool job?
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:59 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


I was 2 years old in 1969 and there is no question in my mind that I remember watching the landing on my parents' tiny black and white TV--even though I know that memory probably isn't real.

The only problem with this doc, which I will probably watch as many time as I can, is that it will make me weep so hard for the world we have created since; for the work my sons have to do; for the "science is real" pin I feel compelled to put on my backpack. Sigh.
posted by The Bellman at 3:13 PM on January 31 [8 favorites]


This is so awesome! Can't wait to see it. I can remember the whole family, huddled together watching the landing on our B/W TV with a 12" screen and then running outside with my little "Brownie" camera with its Girl Scouts logo because I wanted to get a picture of a real life Man in the Moon.
posted by pjsky at 3:13 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


MGM lost interest - wow.
posted by doctornemo at 3:31 PM on January 31 [4 favorites]


The trailer gives me a They Shall Not Grow Old vibe.
posted by doctornemo at 4:05 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


I was 2 years old in 1969 and there is no question in my mind that I remember watching the landing on my parents' tiny black and white TV--even though I know that memory probably isn't real.

I was too, and while I was undoubtably propped up in front of the TV for the launch and moon landing, I suspect that my memories are of later Apollo launches. I did have a moon rover from Tang, I'm pretty sure of that.
posted by thelonius at 4:09 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Gizmodo references this Vanity Fair link that has some more detail about the "lost" footage. This part is awesome:
Slater assembled a clip in which Kranz is seen issuing his historic command, followed immediately by another synched shot in which Charlie Duke, then on duty as CAPCOM—the capsule communicator, a ground-based astronaut whose job it is to communicate directly with the crew of the spacecraft—relays Kranz’s command to Armstrong and Aldrin in the lunar module: “Eagle, Houston. You’re go for landing, over.” Not since these events originally occurred had it been possible to simultaneously see and hear them play out.
posted by JoeZydeco at 4:16 PM on January 31 [9 favorites]


The company I work for designed the Apollo Guidance Computer. This year is likely going to be a Big Year in terms of celebrating the accomplishments of the Apollo program, so I'm excited that this is coming out!
posted by backseatpilot at 4:25 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Capt. Renault: "And Mike Collins -- so young! Was going to the Moon his afterschool job?"

Hard to believe he was 38, no?
posted by Chrysostom at 4:26 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I was 2 years old in 1969 and there is no question in my mind that I remember watching the landing on my parents' tiny black and white TV--even though I know that memory probably isn't real.

I was ... 3?. And we were deep in the wilds of Nova Scotia. I know we didn’t see it because my mom never stopped giving my dad shit for not going somewhere and finding a tv to watch the fucking Moon landing on.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:40 PM on January 31 [8 favorites]


Not since these events originally occurred had it been possible to simultaneously see and hear them play out.

If they have that entire exchange, I’m gonna plotz.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:47 PM on January 31 [4 favorites]


My favorite Apollo 11 obscurata:
Buzz was so P/O'd Neil was chosen to be first down the ladder on the moon that he lobbied heavily through his Dad's corporate connections to reverse the choice. When those efforts failed, he resorted to sabotaging every pic of Neil he took on the lunar surface.
Those familiar Hasselblad shots of them on the moon? They're all of Buzz, taken by Neil.
The few shots of Neil in the historical record are all individual frames sourced from a 16mm motion picture camera mounted inside the LEM window. Remarkably, every singele one of Buzz's shots are either mis-framed in a variety of ways or have a pinky in the shot etc.
posted by Fupped Duck at 4:57 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Recommended: First on the Moon: A Voyage with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.

Clarke's epilogue on the future of spaceflight -- from 1970 -- is depressing to reflect on.
posted by mikelieman at 5:09 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Another 2-year-old in 1969. No memory of Apollo 11, but followed each subsequent mission avidly.

I distinctly remember building a combination Saturn booster and clock so I could imitate both launch and countdown, somehow.
posted by doctornemo at 5:52 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


The way the light is captured in his footage matches my impressions from an early 70s family trip to Florida.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:55 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I had just turned five in July 1969 and kind of remember seeing on our black & white Admiral TV. I definitely remember the later moon shots. It was so exciting, even at that age you felt like big things were happening.
posted by octothorpe at 6:20 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Those men were so brave! Honest to God; landing in what looked like a distressed washing machine with bad legs.
posted by Oyéah at 6:29 PM on January 31 [8 favorites]


I was 11. Just like pjsky, I watched the broadcast on TV, then my family all went outside to look up at the moon, in awesome wonder that there were people up there.
posted by Miss Cellania at 6:40 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Not since these events originally occurred had it been possible to simultaneously see and hear them play out.

Those guys seem pretty calm during Apollo 11's descent to the surface of the fucking Moon.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:45 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this’ll give pause to the “Conspiracy! We never went to the moon!!! Argle-bargle” people or if it will just fuel their fantasies. In any case, I’m psyched to see this.
posted by tantrumthecat at 6:50 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I did have a moon rover from Tang, I'm pretty sure of that.

As artificial powdered flavored drinks go, Tang was the best. At one time it came in like a tall glass pitcher that I guess you were supposed to re-use after you scooped all the powder out? And I filled the whole thing with water & made like a gross orange sludge. The sludge of astronauts!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:03 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


When those efforts failed, he resorted to sabotaging every pic of Neil he took on the lunar surface.

Just to note that neither Armstrong or Aldrin tell the story of the lack of photos of Armstrong as anything other than accidental.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:38 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Mike Collins -- so young! Was going to the Moon his afterschool job?

It's a pity he forgot to have his parents sign the permission slip for walking on the moon.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:46 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I wonder if this’ll give pause to the “Conspiracy! We never went to the moon!!! Argle-bargle” people ....

Oh, of course not. They will double down, pointing out all kinds of details in the footage that, according to their fantasy version of how things would have to be, are impossible. Probably they will make a big deal out of the footage not having been released - why not? Because it's not real! The One World Government people, or whoever they think are behind "faking" the moon landing, have been working on this in their labs, to combat The Truth getting out in recent years. Here, watch this Youtube video.
posted by thelonius at 6:09 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


From the Vanity Fair article linked above:
When the lights came up in the museum’s Imax theater, Miller took questions and comments from the audience. One fellow near the back, at age 87 the oldest at the gathering, happened to be a former director of the Air and Space Museum. He pronounced what he had just witnessed “magnificent.” He did note, however, that the film’s launch sequence, as effective as he found it, doesn’t quite capture the jerky lateral motion that the astronauts felt after liftoff, which he likened to being inside “a wide car being driven by a novice down a narrow road.” One might have been inclined to ask the old-timer how he could be so damned sure of this, were it not for the fact that he was none other than Michael Collins, Major General U.S.A.F. (Ret.) and NASA astronaut from 1963 to 1970.
posted by Optamystic at 6:13 AM on February 1 [11 favorites]


I mean astronauts are great and all, but I'm really just dying to see 65mm footage of life in the late 60s!

In addition to the clarity, check out that trailer again and look for :
-The depth of field in that shot of the staff all in white in a white room or seated at the conference(?)*
-The sense of three-dimensional presence*
-Those vibrant blues!
-Those fun color casts (blue in that shot of the photographers, reddish highlights/greenish shadows when the control room staff looks out the window)


*This is most directly a product of the lens, but is part of the effect of having to cover a larger sensor size

posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:50 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I'm so f'ing excited about this doco! I was 5 and the whole trip to the moon and back was so impactful I wanted to be an astronaut for years. Mostly, it was the moment when I recognized my place on the planet, the greater humanity of it all.
Older friends have said the same about seeing the Beatles or Elvis on Sullivan, younger on seeing the Challenger explosion, or 9-11-for those who are staggeringly young. That moment, via TV, when the world expanded for them/me.
posted by drinkmaildave at 6:07 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


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