Toward The Unknown (Remastered)
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Top Customer Reviews
A thrilling showcase of Cold-War-era jet and rocket aircraft and harrowing flight test operations, filmed on location at California's Edwards Air Force Base, it stars William Holden as Air Force Major Lincoln Bond and Lloyd Nolan as General William Banner. In the screenplay by Beirne Lay, Jr., Bond is an ex-fighter pilot who carries the stigma of having broken under the pressure of communist brainwashing while he was a POW after being shot down over Korea. The steps that he forces himself to take in order to prove to General Banner that he is fit enough to fly the supersonic rocket planes then being tested at Edwards is an interesting and absorbing tale, if a bit drawn-out dramatically.
But the aircraft are the real stars of the show, and "Toward the Unknown" has them in abundance, with outstanding aerial photography of planes you will not see anywhere else in filmdom. For example, this is the only place to see actual footage of the Martin XB-51 bomber in flight (disguised with fake markings as the "Gilbert XF-120"). You'll see North American F-100 "Super Sabres," Lockheed F-94 "Starfires" and many other classic, historic jets that were really flying at the time. One of the most significant aircraft featured at length in "Toward the Unknown" is the Bell X-2 rocket plane. Carried aloft by a Boeing B-50 "Superfortress," the X-2 investigated flight at speeds and altitudes far beyond those of the X-1, in which Captain Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager first exceeded the speed of sound on October 14, 1947.Read more ›
IT WAS ONE OF TWO MOVIES AT THE TIME, THAT SHOWED THE AIR FORCES WAY OF TESTING NEW HIGH ALTITUDE AIRCRAFT. IT WAS A WELL ACTED PIECE, WITH WILLIAM HOLDEN AS A FORMER ACE TEST PILOT TRYING TO REGAIN HIS HONOR AFTER THE KOREAN WAR, BY TESTING NEW JET AIRCRAFT. THE GENERAL PLAYED BY LLOYD NOLAN IS WONDERFUL AS THE MAN WHO GIVE HOLDEN HIS CHANCE. THE MOVIE ALSO HAS A GREAT CAST OF WELL KNOWN ACTORS, WHO SHINE IN EACH OF THERE ROLES. THERE ARE ALSO SOME GREAT ACTION SCENES OF AIRCRAFT BEING TESTED, ALONG WITH A LITTLE TRAGEDY MIXED IN.
I DO HEARTLY RECOMMEND THIS MOVIE TO ANYONE WHO HAS AN INTEREST IN FLYING. THE OTHER MOVIE I WAS REFERRING TO IS "ON THE THRESHOLD OF SPACE" WITH GUY MADISON. I HOPE THAT IT TO WILL FIND THE LIGHT OF DAY ON DVD SOON. MANY THANKS JEFF BEMBARON
Note early on in the movie Holden walks past the X-2 and the cockpit windows design is an identical match for the helmets of Darth Vader's storm troopers of Star Wars fame. No joke, Spielberg and Lucas clearly lifted it from this movie and used it for the helmet design. No, I'm not crazy. Take a look! Just like they also lifted the Star Wars I death star attack sequence cockpit crew camera shots right out of "Mosquito Squadron" starring Cliff Robertson. Go on. Take a look at that one, too.
I also think parts of "The Right Stuff" was also adapted from this movie. Notice the far off crash smoke from James Garner's plane matches that seen in "The Right Stuff" when Yeager's F-104 crashes in the desert. The camera angle and cinematic photography is a match. The only thing "The Right Stuff" has on this flick is the advanced production capabilities brought by decades of growth in the movie-making industry. But that's all. I liked this movie much better. Because of the whole "Edwards AFB" real looks and the real shots of the aircraft of the time, it just seems more real to me. This movie was made when all the advances in aviation depicted in "The Right Stuff" were actually and simultaneously taking place. I think this gives it a much more authentic feel as a result.
I really enjoyed this movie. More than worth the purchase price. As other reviewers have noted, you'll watch it multiple times for the chance to see these historic airplanes fly again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
*****SPOILER ALERT****** Spoilers contained in the discussion below- so if you don't want to spoil a first time viewing of the film please don't continue reading this review. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Doug Danzeisen
I like William Holden and I like airplanes. What more can you ask for? Very good.Published 2 months ago by Bill E. Lewis
Saw this on television many years ago. The movie's setting was Edwards AFB in the Mojave Desert, and though this movie is set in the late 50's, the mission of testing new aircraft... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Truck E-79
The story aside, there are several pieces of very interesting aviation footage which you may enjoy in this movie. Read morePublished 7 months ago by JM