Los Angeles, CA 90028
Based on Tom Wolfe’s bestselling book, director Philip Kaufman’s four-time Oscar-winning film follows the history of the military’s aeronautical research at Edwards Air Force Base, led by Chuck Yeager, and the struggles of the seven test pilots selected to be the astronauts of Project Mercury, the first attempt at manned spaceflight by the United States. Made before computer generated imagery (CGI), the production started its visual effects sequences using conventional motion control cameras and technology that was developed for Star Wars (1977). Kaufman rejected these early efforts as “too clean, smooth and composed,” however, prompting visual effects supervisor Gary Gutierrez and his team to employ more unconventional techniques such as using a cross-bow catapult to hurl models of F-104s into a sky filled with “clouds” created by insecticide foggers. The blending of these kinetic techniques with full-scale mock-ups and stock footage allowed for exciting action sequences that were seamlessly integrated into a documentary style and resulted in a movie that is now considered by many to be the definitive film on test pilot aviation and early space exploration.
1983, 193 minutes, color, 35mm | Directed and written by Philip Kaufman, based on the novel by Tom Wolfe; with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright.
CRAIG BARRON has contributed visual effects to more than 100 films including The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Hugo. He earned an Oscar® nomination for his work on Batman Returns and received an Oscar for Visual Effects for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
BEN BURTT's first two Oscars® were Special Achievement Awards for the creation of the alien, creature and robot voices featured in Star Wars and for Sound Effects Editing for Raiders of the Lost Ark. He has since earned Oscars for his work on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and nominations for Return of the Jedi, Willow and WALL-E, among others.