For All Mankind

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For All Mankind
For all mankind dvd.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Al Reinert
Produced by Betsy Broyles Breier
Al Reinert
Ben Young Mason
Fred Miller
Music by Brian Eno
Editing by Susan Korda
Distributed by Apollo Associates
Release dates 1 November 1989 (United States)
Running time 80 min
Language English

For All Mankind is a 1989 documentary film documenting the Apollo missions of NASA. It was directed by Al Reinert with music by Brian Eno.

The film provides 80 minutes of real NASA footage, taken on the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s. The focus of the documentary is on the human views of the space flights, and the original mission footage is provided along with the voices of the astronauts, from interviews and from the actual mission recordings. Among those providing narration are Jim Lovell, Michael Collins, Charles Conrad, Jack Swigert, and Ken Mattingly. The film concentrates on the beauty of the earth as seen from space.

For All Mankind was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1990.[1]

Specific Views[edit]

Several unusual or memorable views are included:-

  • The fires of the Bedouin tribes in the Sahara desert, seen as dots of light in the extreme darkness.
  • Sunrise over the edge of the earth.
  • A space-walk floating in silence over the earth, despite travelling at 25,000 miles per hour.
  • A floating tape recorder providing music to the astronauts during periods of weightlessness... in particular when playing the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • The first picture of the earth seen as a whole circle from space...as a live television transmission... a blue planet "floating in a blackness beyond perception".
  • Trying to prevent food from floating off during meals.
  • The first close-up pictures of the moon.
  • Travelling around the dark side of the moon, including the "earth-rise" as our planet came back into view.
  • The lunar module calmly drifting down at a low angle to the surface of the moon, then burning its engines for a more vertical landing.
  • Touchdown in the Sea of Tranquility: "The Eagle has landed."
  • The first footstep onto the moon by Neil Armstrong.
  • Dropping a feather and a hammer together to prove Galileo correct, that both hit the ground together if there is no atmosphere.
  • Erecting the Stars and Stripes on the surface of the moon.
  • Gathering rocks and soil samples from the surface of the moon.
  • An astronaut tripping and speculating on his vulnerability should the suit be ruptured.

Source material[edit]

In the DVD commentary, Reinert explains that he made the film after learning that huge amounts of footage shot by astronauts had been archived by NASA without ever being seen by the public. Al Reinert and editor Susan Korda sifted through six million feet of film footage, and 80 hours of NASA interviews to create the documentary.

Reinert also explains that although the documentary purports to show a single moon mission, it is in fact a collage of footage from all six successful Apollo lunar landing missions. Furthermore, some images are presented out of context: the images of rocket stage separation are test footage shot during earlier missions; a shot used to represent Trans Lunar Injection is in fact footage of a Gemini mission re-entry; and some images of a spacewalk are from an earlier Gemini mission, not Apollo.

Release[edit]

For All Mankind has been released by The Criterion Collection on a Region 1 DVD-video disc and on a Blu-ray Disc. The title features a commentary track by director Al Reinert and Eugene A. Cernan, commander of Apollo 17. The Blu-ray Disc version also has "behind the scenes" footage, explaining the artistic concept and how original NASA footage was being selected for the film.

The title has two subtitle tracks. The first shows the name of a mission and the name of a person shown on the screen. The second subtitle track contains traditional subtitles for the hard-of-hearing, specifying the name of the person doing the narration.

The film's score, originally composed in 1983 by Brian Eno, was released as an album entitled Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. By the time of the film's release in 1989, some of the album tracks had been replaced by other pieces by Eno and other artists. These additional tracks can be found on the album Music for Films III.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NY Times: For All Mankind". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Beirut: The Last Home Movie
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Documentary
1989
Succeeded by
H-2 Worker