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Marshall University - Ashes to Glory

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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(Nov 28, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In one of the greatest and most inspiring comeback stories of all time, MARSHALL UNIVERSITY: ASHES TO GLORY chronicles how a grief-stricken football team rose from unfathomable ruin and despair to achieve one of the most remarkable and triumphant victories in the history of sports. It was the fall of 1970 when a chartered plane carrying Marshall University's Thundering Herd football team, coaches, and leading supporters across West Virginia crashed, leaving no survivors. In the face of crushing heartbreak, a young coach named Jack Lengyel took over the devastated program. Honoring the memories of those who died, Lengyel and the five players who were not on the doomed flight found the strength and courage to patch together a ragtag team that would overcome the odds and triumph despite catastrophe. Featuring recently found footage of the era and exclusive interviews with those close to the tragedy, ASHES TO GLORY captures the gut-wrenching emotion that afflicted an entire nation, and heralds the heroic comeback that brought Marshall back to life.

Amazon.com

Stitched together and released as a none-too-subtle tie-in to Hollywood's inspirational football drama and Matthew McConaughey star vehicle We Are Marshall, this documentary is a fitting complement that gives a more real treatment of one of the most devastating tragedies in college sports history. In the fall of 1970 a chartered plane carrying almost all of the Thundering Herd football team from West Virginia's Marshall University crashed, killing all on board including most of Marshall's athletic department staff as well as several prominent townsfolk and other supporters. Only a few team members that had remained home were left to carry collective grief as well as their own personal tumult. Marshall University: Ashes to Glory, which was produced for the local public TV station to commemorate the catastrophe's 30th anniversary in 2000 was broadcast on a number of other PBS stations and won a regional Emmy. While the documentary in no way breaks new stlylistic ground, it really doesn't need to, considering what a powerful emotional wallop the material packs on its own (even though the overly syrupy background score lays on the poignancy a bit thick). The film is mostly a pastiche of contemporary talking-head interviews of people who had close ties to the town and the team (including one prominent surviving Thundering Herd member) cut together with recently discovered archival footage from the 1970 and 1971 team history, along with lots of artfully, even manipulative scanned-and-scrolled still photographs. There's near equal emphasis on the pre-disaster team, the post-disaster effort at getting back to a sense of normalcy (the school and the town almost shut the football program down), and the long slog to recovery piloted by the new coach, Jack Lengyel, who was recruited in part to lead the healing process. The bonus features consist mostly of extra archive and interview footage, as well as an extraneous "making-of" featurette. Those with knowledge or memory of the tragic event may be interested in Marshall University: Ashes to Glory on its own. But fans of the Hollywood-izedbWe Are Marshall will find it a unique companion testament to something that brought real inspiration to many who were made stronger for their collective heartbreak. --Ted Fry

Special Features

  • "The Making of Ashes of Glory"
  • A Look at the 1970s Team
  • Two featurettes: "Huntington in the 1970s" and "Young Thundering Herd"

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: November 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000IB0DEE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,575 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a thrilling, moving story of the tragic plane crash that wiped out the Marshall football team in the early 1970's, and the courageous, uplifting recovery by the families, the team, the university and the whole city. Interviews with people who were there and rare footage of the team and others make this one of the most interesting (and authentic) sports documentaries I have ever seen.
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I, being a former member of the Marshall football team (1967), a 1971 graduate of MU, and had known several of the players who died in the 1970 crash, this documentary tells of the true situation of Marshall Univ. before and after the trajic plane crash. The recent movie, WE ARE MARSAHLL, told the storyline, but not exactly the truth. After seeing that movie, I ran to Amazon to get this documentary that I had seen several years earlier on TV. I am really glad I did. It brought back for me the deserving honor to the team members, the coachs, the supporters, and others who died on that cold, rainy, night in Novemeber 1970. A night I'll never forget.
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Watching this documentary brought back many memories of that ill-fated night. My mother was a librarian at the James E. Morrow Library. I saw the way it changed her, for she knew all but six people on that plane. I attended many funerals during the weeks after. I watched as the team, university, and the town recovered. This documentary portrays the real images and feelings of the time. I know because I witnessed it first hand. I am grateful to Deborah Novak, a Marshall graduate, for telling the story that should have been told long before. A much better presentaion than the Hollywood version!! The story of Marshall University Football, its tragedy and triumphs, is THE life lesson that sports teaches us.
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I was watching one of my favorite movies this weekend - WE ARE MARSHALL, and I noticed a reference to this documentary. Of course I HAD to see it. I really enjoyed watching it, after seeing the movie. The documentary is well done and covers the 1970 plane crash and the aftermath of the tragedy. You actually get to meet the real people that were there and involved. They talk to the football players and others that did not make the flight for various reasons. There is always someone that gave up their seat for another, and this was true on this flight as well. These things make you pause and reflect. Survival guilt is always present when something like this happens. I was amazed at how many children were left orphaned because of this plane crash. Such a heart-wrenching situation! The people associated with the school and town were resilient, and have healed and recovered...but NEVER forget. Such a thing changes all involved, and makes those who were not, take pause. I enjoyed this documentary very much.
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Having seen the movie We Are Marshall I wanted to dive deeper into the tragic story of the plane crash and the teams (as well as the towns) recovery. The interviews were great and the non-Hollywood story was just incredible.
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This film is far superior to the other documentary The Return of the Thundering Herd. I had copied this from t.v. but when saw it on Amazon decided to order the DVD. This has some things that were not on the PBS showing and is, of course, much nicer than my copy. It is very well done and brings that event to life so that you have a real feeling of what this tragedy meant to this town. I highly recommend it.
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but this one spent more time on those who perished than the return of the Thundering Herd. They told the story of how the crash devastated the town of Huntington on a more personal level than my other DVDs did.
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Wonderful documentary of the real story behind the worst day in US Sports history, 11/14/70, when an entire college football team was wiped out in a plane crash as the team was returning home after a road game.
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