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Customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
13
Shades Of Gray
Format: DVD|Change
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on August 11, 2016
This is an outstanding documentary! If you're a die hard UFO person you won't like it but if you're interested in the people who brought the phenomena into the mainstream, you're in for a treat. Gray Barker almost single-handedly turned the national attention to UFO's with his works on spaceships, ominous beings and, especially, the Men In Black. He may have been a great researcher; he may have been the greatest trickster of a generation. He blurred reality so well that, today, it's hard to say for sure.
This film attempts sort out the truth behind this weird, but brilliant, man and does a fine job. As indicated, hardcore believers won't like it because it exposes much of his charade; however it's a must watch piece of work for anyone who really wants to understand the UFO phenomena.
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on May 27, 2015
This was a very good documentary. It's appeal, I believe, would be more to people who have read Barker's books, and have probably read the accounts from UFO researchers various and sundry who have weighed in on his legacy. If you don't have a pretty good idea of who Gray Barker was, this probably isn't the place to start. Read some of his stuff, starting with They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers and The Silver Bridge, especially the stuff edited by Andy Colvin, and get an idea of the beginnings of UFOlogy. Gray Barker was smack in the middle of all of it. Then come back to this.

I think this documentary gives Barker an honest assessment; not overly critical. It's honest, but warm and humorous. And it generally gives Barker credit where credit is due. I was surprised at the pleasant comment from Stanton Friedman. The two things I deducted a star for were that 1.> I wish it had been longer and a little more biographical, and 2.> I wish they had spent a little more screen time with Jim Mosely, who as his "partner in crime" was one of the people that knew him best and, I think, could have given us a little more insight. I don't know. Anyway, I really appreciate the makers for the effort they've put into this on one of the more fascinating characters in UFOlogy; one, that it seems, time is forgetting.
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...but with a few caveats.

My only complaint is the presentation. It is in standard 4:3 mode. I wouldn't complain (much) about this except that it is *shot* in 16:9 mode and presented in letterbox format! So you basically have black bars on top and bottom and both sides if you're watching on a widescreen TV. Now of course with most TVs you could zoom the picture to fill the screen but the producers occasionally use the bottom black bar for a caption! There might be some logic to all this but it escapes me. I deducted a star from my rating for this alone.

This is an excellent documentary but it does assume a fairly broad acquaintance with the UFO subculture and its history. The emphasis is on Barker's impact on the UFO field and less so on his personal life. This is just the reverse from a previous documentary "Whispers from Space".

The present DVD has much higher production values. "Whispers" is a VHS tape transferred (rather amateurishly) to DVD. Both can be recommended and indeed should be required viewing for anyone with an interest in the field. "Shades" features many of the same people as "Whispers" and it is interesting to see the effect of the dozen or so years between the production of the two documentaries on these folks.

Highly recommended in spite of the presentation snafu.
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on December 9, 2013
Great film on Gray Barker...the man behind one of my favourite books, The Silver Bridge, about Point Pleasant, West Virginia and the Mothman and bridge collapse in that town over a 13month period in the late 1960s. Also, being a firm believer in UFOs and interplanetary visitors, I am a huge fan of Mr. Barker's work. The hoaxes he did dont really bother me, and are minute to the hoaxes our elected officials pull on us EVERYDAY, so that is a non-issue to me. I have to postumously thank him for providing a mp3 file of 3 interviews with Woody Derenberger, who was a friend with, and visitor to Laulos with, Indrid Cold!!!! We also owe the report and naming of the "Men In Black" pheanomenae to Mr. Barker. I also like this film because it has interviews with two friends I made at the 2013 Mothman Festival, John and Tim Frick!!!! Very nice guys with a wealth of paranormal knowledge between them. Great film if you have an open mind!!!!
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on June 27, 2010
Shades of Gray is a finely done, warm portrait of Gray Barker, legendary in UFO circles for bringing some of the more interesting facets of UFO lore/history (you decide) into the general consciousness. He was the first to report on the infamous Men in Black, was right there for the entire Mothman series of incidents, covered by John Keel in The Mothman Prophecies and by Barker in his own, more focused The Silver Bridge: The Classic Mothman Tale. Truly this pioneer in the modern UFO field is worthy of a profile of his own.

Through the course of the film, Barker's friends and colleagues share reminisces, highlighting both his stronger points and his key faults as an investigator (an occasionally impish sense of humor that led him to perpetrate a hoax or two along the way). Do these hoaxes make him less reliable on other incidents? My personal belief is that they don't. For a movie that could have been just a series of talking heads, it's incredibly interesting. Through the use of interviews, old footage of Barker, bits and pieces of old news footage, and just a touch of reenactment, the director crafts a multi-layered narrative that never gets boring, and is often fascinating.

The only criticism I have for the film is that it presumes familiarity with all of the subjects discussed in the movie. The general public may well be mildly versed in the lore of the Men in Black (thanks to the film and the X-Files) and the Mothman (the film), but how many people outside of the UFO field are familiar with the Flatwoods Monster or George Adamski? The filmmakers provide us with very brief (1-2 minute) overviews of each incident before getting into Barker's handling of them, but this isn't nearly enough for the layman. The film is only 72 minutes long...surely they could have added more comprehensive overviews without making the film feel padded or overlong. I'm not talking about much...another 3 or 4 minutes each, maximum. I feel this would have made Shades of Gray much more accessible to someone with only a mild interest in UFOs. As it stands, it's really for the devotees only.

I really enjoyed getting a closer look at the occasionally enigmatic Barker, but I came in knowing something about him already. Still, it's an intimate portrait of a man who devoted big parts of his life to the study of something that eludes us all...the unknown.
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on August 22, 2011
After watching this film, I enjoyed it to the point of tracking down my own copy. If you're a firm, die-hard believer in UFO's and the array of sub-cultures that have sprung up as a result of the first reports back in 1947, you won't like this film. If, however, you are interested in examining some of the people behind the phenomena of the modern-day UFO, and especially the Men in Black reports, this film is a must have. Be aware it is a bubble-bursting, serious look at the lives of Gray Barker and some of his contemporaries. These are the people who nearly single-handedly have set a place in history for the modern UFO enigma. It's funny, it's sad, and it is definitely eye-opening.
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on February 11, 2015
Just as described,love it
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on June 26, 2010
Great awareness raised on the real person, Gray Barker, who is responsible for the making of hollowood movies that we have enjoyed. I did not want to miss a second of this documentary. Applause for a well thought out and put together documentary. Great Job!!!!
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on January 27, 2013
This was also a Gift. I suppose they liked it. I haven't had any complaints from the recipient. Therefore, I assume they liked it.
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on August 10, 2014
The author, producer, and director know next to nothing about the BDSM D/s Bondage lifestyle.
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