Other Sellers on Amazon
Man on Wire
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
On August 7th 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire and illegally rigged between the New York's twin towers. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released. This documentary complies Petit s footage to show the numerous extraordinary challenges he faced in completing the artistic crime of the century.
Native New Yorkers know to expect the unexpected, but who among them could've predicted that a man would stroll between the towers of the World Trade Center? French high-wire walker Philippe Petit did just that on August 7th, 1974. Petits success may come as a foregone conclusion, but British filmmaker James Marshs pulse-pounding documentary still plays more like a thriller than a non-fiction entry--in fact, it puts most thrillers to shame. Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip, The King) starts by looking at Petit's previous stunts. First, he took on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, then Sydney's Harbour Bridge before honing in on the not-yet-completed WTC. The planning took years, and the prescient Petit filmed his meetings with accomplices in France and America. Marsh smoothly integrates this material with stylized re-enactments and new interviews in which participants emerge from the shadows as if to reveal deep, dark secrets which, in a way, they do, since Petit's plan was illegal, "but not wicked or mean." The director documents every step they took to circumvent security, protocol, and physics as if re-creating a classic Jules Dassin or Jean-Pierre Melville caper. Though still photographs capture the feat rather than video, the resulting images will surely blow as many minds now as they did in the 1970s when splashed all over the media. Not only did Petit walk, he danced and even lay down on the cable strung between the skyscrapers. Based on his 2002 memoir, Man on Wire defines the adjective "awe-inspiring." --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I first learned of Philippe Petit during an interview on CNN mere days after the Towers came down. The French wire walker was on a program with American George Willig, “The Human Fly,” who likewise became famous in connection with the Towers. Willig scaled the South Tower in 1977, three years after Petit’s daring wire walk (on August 7, 1974). Listening to them, it was apparent that once they got their idea—despite the very real possibility of landing in jail, never mind falling to their death—there was no turning back. They became possessed and simply had to do it.
For Petit, it was a long journey consuming a number of years, of several flights back and forth across the Atlantic, of finding ways to get some 400 pounds of equipment and three accomplices past a network of security, and most important of all, of finding a way to get a three-quarter-inch cable strung from one tower to the next, plus four guy-wires necessary to stabilize the cable, and secure it safely on both ends, without being detected. The task was as much an engineering feat as it was a test of Petit’s ability to actually step out onto the wire and perform his routine without a safety net, one quarter-mile above the streets of New York City. The lively documentary shows how he did it, and says much about his character. “To me, it’s so simple that life should be lived on the edge of life,” says Petit. “You have to exercise in rebellion, to refuse to taper yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a challenge—and then you are going to live your life on a tight rope.”
Petit was a daredevil who was greatly challenged to perform amazing exploits. Previously he had tight-roped between the towers of Notre Dame and also the Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia, in 1973.
He and his team traveled to the United States several times, planning and preparing, and they had made an aborted attempt. Back in France Petit practiced simulating the sway and wind conditions between the towers. We do see video footage of their planning sessions. Finally he hit on the idea of getting his wire across the vast open space, by shooting an arrow with a filament that could be tied to the tight rope itself.
On the morning of August 7, he and an assistant went up in one tower while other members of the team went up the other tower to shoot the arrow across. He knew he was risking his life and his liberty for this dangerous stunt, but the Towers were irresistible to this daredevil.
After crossing several times, flaunting his balancing skills, he was arrested, sent to a mental facility for observation and eventually merely slapped on wrist for his daring stunt. The Towers proved irresistible to others because one man scaled one of the Towers.
As one who visited the Towers on occasion, it was very poignant seeing the Towers in all their glory in their early days. Because they were so famous, so massive and so iconic, they also proved to be an irresistible target to the terrorists on September 11, 2001. Those gleaming towers beckoned to daredevils, but unfortunately they attracted those crying out for attention by wreaking havoc.
The docu-drama is well-told, and it builds to a climax. The interviews with Petit and his associates add a great deal to the motivation behind the stunning event. Petit was determined, supremely self-confident, and egocentric. After he made his initial steps crossing the wire, his grim look turned to a smile of triumph.
Author Colum McCann has taken that day and created a critically acclaimed novel called "Let the Great World Spin" (2009) using the event as the fulcrum in the lives of a number of his fictional characters.