Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1Good Kill on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Maksim Chmerkovskiy Will Return to 'Dancing With The St...
'The Good Wife' Cush Jumbo Tackles Comparisons...
'Class': 'Doctor Who' Spinoff Series Coming to BBC Thre...
'The Revenant' Trailer: Leonardo DiCaprio Seeks Revenge...
Will Trevor Noah Live Up To The Hype During Monday's 'D...
Watch Eddie Vedder, Beyonce Duet on Bob Marley's 'Redem...
'CSI' being laid to rest after 15 years ...
Big Brother Season 17 Finale Recap: Super Fan & Trombon...
Dancing With the Stars Recap: Bindi Irwin and Derek Hou...
Emmys 2015: Who should win Outstanding Lead Actor in a ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Fox Home Entertainment presents
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

"I suppose pilots are as good now as they ever were, but they sure don't live the way we did."
- Capt. Frank Towns (James Stewart)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: June 02, 2003

Stars: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Hardy Kruger
Other Stars: Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, Peter Finch, Ian Bannen, Ronald Fraser, Dan Duryea, Christian Marquand, Gabrielle Tinti, Alex Montoya, Barrie Chase
Director: Robert Aldrich

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild language)
Run Time: 02h:21m:45s
Release Date: June 03, 2003
UPC: 024543075455
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Hollywood veteran Robert Aldrich directed some of my favorite 1960s films, including Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? and The Dirty Dozen. The Flight of the Phoenix is his superb 1965 adaptation of Elleston Trevor's taut novel, and it, too, stands as one of those timeless films that I could watch over and over anytime it showed up on television.

When a cargo plane carrying a mix of oilfield workers and military men crash lands 130 miles off course in the Sahara, a battle of wits and power develops as the survivors have to determine not only how to stay alive, but how to get along as water becomes scarce and the chance of rescue diminishes. Much like an adult version of The Lord of the Flies, this is the story of a disparate group of characters forced to find common ground and organization in order to survive under harsh conditions. The plane's pilot is Captain Frank Towns (James Stewart), an aging aviator who believes the best course of action is to sit tight and wait for help; British military officer Captain Harris (Peter Finch) wants to lead a small expeditionary force across the desert, while Dorfmann (Hardy Kruger), a German aeronautical designer, has an even more daring and adventurous plan.

The Flight of the Phoenix is really a tense multi-level character piece, driven by an outstanding ensemble cast, that in addition to great performances by Stewart and Kruger, includes endearing and memorable turns by Richard Attenborough, Ian Bannen and Ernest Borgnine. As tensions rise, as their predicament becomes more increasingly more grim, the constant interaction between the players is what makes Aldrich's film so rewarding.

The inevitable power struggle between concerned Towns and the coldly realistic Dorfman is one of the strongest elements in the story, and watching a film icon like Stewart get repeatedly humbled and beaten down mentally goes against the usual "the hero is always right" way of thinking of most old-time Hollywood lead actors, and in fact it is Kruger's Dorfman who may or may not ultimately be the group's salvation. Stewart's Towns and Attenborough's stammering Lew Moran go toe-to-toe on a number of occasions, and their bitter exchange late in the film again shows Stewart in a rather ugly light, made all the more poignant by Attenborough's haunted reactions.

Even with the first-rate cast and performances, Aldrich's film does run long, clocking in at a whopping two hours and twenty minutes, which is quite long considering 90% of the film consists of characters bantering back and forth, and very little in the way of formidable action. The almost leisurely pacing by Aldrich does work exceptionally well more often than not, though a handful of segments appear to meander unneccessarily. Patience, however, is a virtue, because the film's big dramatic payoffs are more than well worth the wait.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, Aldrich's The Flight of the Phoenix certainly does not look like a film pushing forty years old. While there are some visible specks and nicks, by and large the transfer looks wholly impressive. Though the entire film takes place in the desert, the color palette is surprisingly deep and well rendered (just take a look at the blues of the sky), as are the realistic fleshtones. Image detail is not razor sharp, but remarkably clean for a film this old, and the clarity of the beads of sweat on the actor's faces is reproduced especially well.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, French, Spanishyes
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Fox has issued an optional English stereo track for this release, along with the original English mono mix. Call me a purist, but I found mono to be a more even presentation, as the new stereo mix, while noticeably fuller, seemed to somehow bury the dialogue slightly. Flipping back and forth between the two choice, I noticed that dialogue seemed cleaner and less "enhanced" in mono. Some of the odd bursts of the Frank De Vol score tend to clip a bit on both tracks, but for consistency I would recommend the mono option.

French and Spanish mono tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 36 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
3 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: AGI Media Packaging
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Shame on Fox for not including anything more than just three theatrical trailers (in English, Spanish and Portuguese). The disc is cut into a healthy 36 chapters, and does include subtitles in English, Spanish and French.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

Robert Aldrich's desert castaway classic gets an alarmingly bareboned treatment from Fox, but the film is so good that I can almost forgive them. A stellar cast and an unusually inventive story make this an easy recommendation.

Highly recommended.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, dancing with the stars, maksim chmerkovskiy, carrie ann inaba, bruno tonioli, julianne hough, the good wife, cush jumbo, archie panjabi, julianna margulies, bbc3, class, doctor who, buffy the vampire slayer, hunger games, steven moffat, brian minchin, movie, the revenant, leonardo dicaprio, tom hardy, alejandro g. inarritu, christmas day release, comedy channel, trevor noah, daily show, jon stewart, music, global citizen festival, pearl jam, byonce, ed sheeran, eddie vedder, cbs, csi, ted danson, elisabeth shue, elisabeth harnois, william petersen, marg helgenberger, big brother, abc, liz, steve, vanessa, julia chen, dr. will, bindi irwin, derek, hough, chaka khan, emmys 2015, laurence fishburne, tracee ellis ross, anthony anderson, will forte, jeffrey tambor, kym johnson, shark tank, robert herjavec, jungle book, cgi, scarlet johansson, bill murray, ben kingsley, idris elba, christopher walken, drama, celebrity apprentice, arnold schwarzenegger, donald trump, nbc, taylor swift, bad blood, emmy award, original interactive program, the late show, stephen colbert, ashley madison, horror, silent, epcot international food & wine festival, walt disney world, the chew, october, celebrity, jimmy fallon, tonight show, dj khaled, all i do is win, country music awards, eric church, little big town, miranda lambert, kenny chesney, sam hunt, maddie & tae, kacey musgraves, chris stapleton, late night, jeb bush, george clooney, war room, straight outta compton, faith-based drama, a walk in the woods, robert redford, september 8, documentary, history, movies, steven spielberg, the bfg, dreamworks, walt disney company, fashion police, melissa rivers, kelly osbourne, giuliana rancic, zendaya, mtv vma, njcki minaj, miley cyrus, anaconda

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store