Author Topic: First Man Premiere  (Read 22679 times)

Offline High Bay 4

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #100 on: 10/14/2018 05:21 AM »
Does anyone know which Saturn V launch was depicted as being the Apollo 11 launch in the film?  The weather and lighting conditions clearly did not match up with the actual launch of Apollo 11.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2018 03:16 PM by High Bay 4 »

Offline tyrred

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #101 on: 10/14/2018 10:25 AM »
Watched this spectacle tonight on the big screen. 
Had ambivalent expectations going in, considering how the book reads, and the critical reviews of the cinematic interpretation. 
Nearly wept. 
A rendition of loss, resolve, trepidation, skill, luck and stoicism.
Family life felt familiar.
Flight scenes were unnervingly immersive.
Apollo 1 scenes were scathing.
Lunar scenes felt truly alien.
Bleak...
A masterpiece.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #102 on: 10/15/2018 03:27 AM »
I saw the movie and liked it.  I appreciated the attention to detail and the fact a few scenes were actually shot in the places where the events happened.  I liked the focus on the real dangers inherent in the business.  I liked how the movie showed the real pressures the astronauts were under, fearing not for their lives as much as for their careers if they screwed up.  I liked the way the astronaut families were depicted.  I liked how they depicted the losses.  These were real blows for the astronaut families.         

I wonder though about the bleak depiction of Neil Armstrong himself in the film.  Could it have resulted from the difficulty expressive, creative, artistic people might have when they try to understand the introvert?  In this case, I think they (and Claire Foy) nailed assertive Janet Armstrong, but they (and Ryan Gosling) failed to really find Neil.  The real Neil smiled!  Watch his 2007 speech at Purdue, for example, or any number of other examples.  He wasn't outgoing in the conventional sense, but neither was he a dour, sad person. 

The bit during the Moonwalk, though a nice touch in a script, is pure wishful thinking conjecture by the First Man biographer, and therefore likely pure fiction.  Neil himself never mentioned such a thing, but did describe other objects that he took to the Moon. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #103 on: 10/15/2018 06:00 AM »
I haven't seen the movie yet.  I will soon.  But for all the comments about how sad and dour he was supposed to be I always remember one thing funny Neil Armstrong said when they were first entering the LM after opening the hatch.  He and Buzz had gone in during a TV broadcast.  Charlie Duke the Capcom at the moment asks if they're going to let Michael Collins come in.  The lines from the mission transcript:

056:37:44 Duke: Rog. Must be some experience. Is Collins going to go in and look around? [Pause.]

056:37:56 Armstrong: We're - we're willing to let him go but he hasn't come up with the price of the ticket yet.


He doesn't sound like a sad humorless individual to me.

Offline Star One

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First Man Premiere
« Reply #104 on: 10/15/2018 06:23 AM »
It debuted third at the box office behind Venom & A Star is Born.

https://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=4447&p=.htm
« Last Edit: 10/15/2018 06:23 AM by Star One »

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #105 on: 10/15/2018 12:47 PM »
I saw it last night with my wife and daughter. We all choked up at the death of his daughter. The Apollo 1 fire was equally gut wrenching. And holy wow, the Agena scene. The shaky cam that a lot of folks here are mentioning didn't bother me at all. I only noticed it once, in the final scene, and it didn't bother me. If I watch it again, I'll probably be more aware of it only because of the comments here.

For technical nitpicks, I also thought the timing of the launch was wrong, where it looked like it was right after sunrise. I also thought Buzz's call for "contact light" was late. It seemed like it was well after they landed.

Overall, I thought the attention to detail was incredible. I'd put this movie in second place, among my favorite space movies, right behind Apollo 13, and very slightly ahead of The Right Stuff.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #106 on: 10/15/2018 01:25 PM »
I would not put it ahead of 'The Right Stuff'. That film over the years has garnered some pretty big cultural influence and affection among aviation and space fans. Watch 'The Right Stuff' and you'll really feel you know those guys. 'First Man' is very good, but it could have been truly great in the hands of another director. I don't view it as a masterpiece, but if it is - it's a rather flawed one. I think some of us are cheer leading it so hard because films of this subject matter are rarely made, and because of our fondness for Mr Armstrong. The squirming, 'ants-in-your-pants' constantly moving camera even in quiet scenes (except the lunar EVA) cannot be denied. It is often done in TV dramas these days, too and the technique drives me bananas. It's intended by directors to unease the viewer or try secure their attention - a bit like waving a piece of string or a laser spot at a cat to seize it's attention.

Go see virtually any major motion picture and you'll see that as many directors do not use the technique, as there are many who do. Probably will be more tolerable on 55 inch etc TV screens.
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Offline racevedo88

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #107 on: 10/15/2018 02:07 PM »
Saw it Saturday on IMAX 7/10

Good- Beautiful photography, Great Effects, It really shows how good of a pilot and engineer Neil was, as well as how much he valued and how loyal he was to those he admitted into his small circle of friends.  It also show how much love and how the death of a child affected him (I have lost two children and trust me it never leaves you). Shows the tensions involved in spaceflight

Bad- To much shaky footage, there is video and tapes from those trips and they are not as shaky. Movie is too melancholic (SAD), he never smiles through the movie and there are plenty of pictures of him sincerely smiling. Also it shows him as not able to go on with life after the death of Karen. He comes out as robotic as going through the motions cause is the only thing that can assuage his loss. (this is not to say that the passing of Karen wasn't important or remembering her did not cause him sadness, but he comes looking in the movie as clinically depressed). Gemini look filthy, grimy and used, when in reality it was brand new, astronauts remarked of how it even smelled new.  Aldrin came out looking like a jerk. I have met him, he is opinionated, sometimes very direct, but he is not a jerk. Finally, the score during the moon landing, made the comms hard to hear, so the tension and stress caused by the 1202, 1201 alarms, plus the radar are lost.

The Ugly- I came out from the movie feeling that this was an Anti Space exploration movie , there are at least 9 instances of people asking is it worth the cost, saying we should stop that it was to costly, and not a single answer or justification of why we should do it. (unless you take the answer from Kennedy's speech that we do it because it was hard or a Frenchwoman(not an American) saying it was worth it (when she didn't spend a single dime on it).  You get the feeling that it is more of a "am glad that It is over" rather than a celebration of what we (and he) were able to accomplish.

To get a better understanding of what I mean watch "Gagarin" (is on Netflix with English subtitles) they both have great photography and effects. They both tell of the struggles and triumphs that formed them into who they were, but while Gagarin is a celebration of space and why we do it. First man just seems to ask why did we do it?   


Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #108 on: 10/15/2018 10:38 PM »
I think you hit the nail on the head.
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Offline JohnF

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #109 on: 10/15/2018 11:08 PM »
I saw it this weekend, I agree the director got Neil and Buzz all wrong character wise, Neil wasn't aloof and depressed as made in the movie, and Buzz wasn't a jerk either, also Jason Clark as Ed White just wasn't the right actor for that part. One thing they mostly got right was the Saturn V launch, it looked good except for the cloudy launch day, we all know Apollo 11 launched under a clear sky at 9:32 am, why did they make it cloudy ??, but the roll patterns on the Saturn V were correct this time (except for the rollout scene) it was loud as it should have been and going thru Max Q and S1 sep looked to be actual footage, clearer than I've ever seen, all in all an ok movie which could have been better, From the Earth to the Moon still #1, Apollo 13 #2, The Right Stuff #3, First Man #4 on my space movie list.

Offline mme

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #110 on: 10/15/2018 11:17 PM »
Saw it Saturday on IMAX 7/10

...
The Ugly- I came out from the movie feeling that this was an Anti Space exploration movie , there are at least 9 instances of people asking is it worth the cost, saying we should stop that it was to costly, and not a single answer or justification of why we should do it. (unless you take the answer from Kennedy's speech that we do it because it was hard or a Frenchwoman(not an American) saying it was worth it (when she didn't spend a single dime on it).  You get the feeling that it is more of a "am glad that It is over" rather than a celebration of what we (and he) were able to accomplish.

To get a better understanding of what I mean watch "Gagarin" (is on Netflix with English subtitles) they both have great photography and effects. They both tell of the struggles and triumphs that formed them into who they were, but while Gagarin is a celebration of space and why we do it. First man just seems to ask why did we do it?   
I did not see it as pro-space or anti-space. It was just showing the turmoil of the times. Vietnam was ramping up, there were race riots, students were protesting in mass, etc. I'm glad we spent all that money to go to the Moon but not everyone was so thrilled about it. Everyone was amazed when it happened. And then it was right back to business as normal.

In the movie, both Neil Armstrong and Gus Grissom spoke of the need for humanity to get a new perspective and that they thought spaceflight could provide that. Neil during his interview to become an astronaut and Gus when talking to Neil while walking through the neighborhood. I am in agreement that I wish there was more of that, those were my favorite parts of the movie and they probably totaled 120 seconds.

I really wanted to like this movie but left feeling ambivalent. I will watch it again when I can stream it, I think it may play better on the small screen.  But the way they portrayed Armstrong if not for that one comment during his interview I would have no idea why he bothered at all. As others have pointed out, he may have been private and stoic but he also did smile on occasion and a wry sense of humor. Clearly Neil deserves a mini-series so we can escape the monotone of "he's really capable, stoic and private."

Thanks for the heads up on Gagarin, I'll add it to my queue.
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #111 on: 10/16/2018 12:29 PM »
As well as the Gagarin film, other Russian movies well worth investigating are 'Spacewalker'. I saw it on a big screen at a film festival with English subtitles. It was fantastic:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spacewalker-DVD-Vladimir-Ilin/dp/B07448VCPF/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1539692400&sr=1-1&keywords=Spacewalker

'Salyut 7' is worth the effort, despite some flaws. It appears that only the Amazon Prime version has English subtitles.

'Gagarin':

www.amazon.co.uk/Gagarin-First-Space-Pavel-Parkhomenko/dp/B00IJVM48S/ref=pd_bxgy_74_2
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Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #112 on: 10/17/2018 05:08 AM »

Offline joema

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #113 on: 10/17/2018 04:32 PM »
...spacecraft, especially the interiors, which appear very weathered even prior to use. Switches are scuffed. Plastic is oxidized. Interior panels look like they've been smeared with oily rags....

Yes. The Apollo and Gemini spacecraft were all brand new, manufactured in clean rooms. Astronauts commented they smelled like a new car. Gemini manufacturing:
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-PVKsDzr/0/ff6735b8/X2/i-PVKsDzr-X2.jpg

The film depicted the spacecraft as clunky, rusted, imprecise creations. In reality the outermost uneven surface of the LM was just a thin micrometeoroid shield, not structural. It was a highly technical precision vehicle. LM manufacturing:

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-9MxQjZC/0/2bf8b4c7/X2/i-9MxQjZC-X2.jpg

Apollo 9 docking, showing LM and CM exteriors:

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-q397MZD/0/dab2f8f4/X3/i-q397MZD-X3.jpg

The film depicted the spacecraft interiors as dark, dingy, beat-up places, almost like the cab of a diesel locomotive at night. In reality they were well illuminated, although limitations of the period photography and film could not capture that very well. Admittedly the below are not during a mission, but I don't see rusted switches and chipped paint.

Gemini interior:

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-3d2x5rF/0/8e31959a/X2/i-3d2x5rF-X2.jpg
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-SKVwf7d/0/9d891d63/X2/i-SKVwf7d-X2.jpg

The film depicted the instrument panels as dark, feebly illuminated as if by an oil lamp.

In reality, great attention was given to instrument illumination and legibility. Pete Conrad advocated Apollo's use of glowing electroluminescent lettering. This is rarely shown in period photos or film because in those days they didn't have high-ISO imaging sensors to capture it. Even actual flight articles in museums are powered down, so this is not obvious. The Apollo 13 movie better conveyed the visual truth of the instrument panels and spacecraft interiors.

Armstrong in LM (likely simulator). Again, I don't see any scuffed paint or rusted switches: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-mKQCjwd/0/26fc574a/X3/i-mKQCjwd-X3.jpg

Electroluminescent CM instrument panel: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-tWwTLpr/0/f04b74b1/X3/i-tWwTLpr-X3.jpg

Electroluminescent LM instrument panel: (note lettering is glowing even when shadowed): https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-5gbjxB2/0/89cbfc05/X3/i-5gbjxB2-X3.jpg

Greatest Man did well portray the great vibration of the *initial* stages of powered flight. However they could not resist doing that repeatedly, so conveyed a shaking ride for even the S-IVB and LM. Those were very smooth.

It also portrayed the process of flying the LM as a "stick and rudder" experience, the vehicle smoothly wheeling around. In fact the Digital Autopilot control mode made attitude maneuvers very precise, almost robotic-looking. If you play the below Apollo 11 Youtube video at fast forward (SHIFT+right angle bracket several times to speed up, left angle bracket to slow down playback), the digital control effect is obvious. It wasn't like barnstorming with a leather cap, goggles and scarf.



Most of the public aren't aware of the Gemini VIII near disaster or the computer problems and tight fuel situation on the Apollo 11 lunar landing. You could nit pick little details but the film did a public service by exposing those events to a wider audience. A viewer next to me was groaning "oh, no, what will happen to them now".

The depiction of Armstrong in the multi-axis MASTIF trainer was technically wrong. According to Dr. David Baker in The History of Manned Space Flight, neither Armstrong or Scott ever used the trainer. It was developed only for the Mercury program. Dr. Baker commented how ironic that the two astronauts who came closest to experiencing the simulated conditions never trained on that apparatus. However to me that's forgivable artistic license. It realistically showed the audience the rigorous training used by some astronauts of that era.

The movie is quite daring in the relatively slow pace, historical orientation and longish silent space sequences -- a bit like 2001. It does a good job of portraying the confinement of the spacecraft interior and the "driven" ethic of the Gemini/Apollo astronauts. 

But the main problem with the movie isn't the above technical issues, which in the grand scheme aren't that bad. The problem is it portrays Armstrong as an icy cold, intellectual, Spock-like character with little external emotion except a few places.  I never met him but I don't know anybody who is really like that to the degree depicted. The book did include that element of his personality but it was one facet of a complex portrayal. The movie seized on that one element, magnified it and made it the centerpiece of the character. His concern about his daughter was probably unknown to most people before the book, and the movie revealed and highlighted that. Maybe part of that used artistic license, but I don't think it contradicts known facts.

I recommend anybody interested in space history to see the movie. It's very high quality, but you won't go away happy or excited. It feels educational but emotionally a bit like watching Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List.
« Last Edit: 10/17/2018 04:41 PM by joema »

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #114 on: 10/17/2018 04:43 PM »
I watched the movie on IMAX at the Air and Space Museum.  I became nauseated about halfway through because of the shaky camera, so had to close my eyes for all of the shaky scenes that remained.  Also, the center audio channel (dialog) was muddied.  The muddied dialog also happened with Interstellar which I also saw there, so maybe it is the theater, maybe it is the IMAX audio mixing, maybe it was the same muddied dialog on all screens.

It was an enjoyable movie, but I left with the sense that I didn't understand Neil Armstrong any better afterward than before.

Offline notsorandom

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #115 on: 10/17/2018 07:01 PM »
I saw First Man last weekend. It isn't a movie about the space program or even a complete biographical portrait of Jan and Neil Armstrong. More than anything else this is a movie about coping with death and loss. It starts with the heart wrenching loss of their daughter and climaxes with Neil finding some semblance of closure on the Moon. In the meantime Neil loses his two closest friends, turns to his work to cope, and in the process Jan loses her husband. The color saturation is cranked way down to be almost black and white through most of the film. The only times we see vivid color are the scenes with Karen and when Neil going to the moon in an almost 2001 like sequence where he is able to make at least a little peace with the loss of his daughter.

Though not the focus of the movie the space program is a presence that cannot be ignored. The director made a number of artistic decisions that influence the perception of the space program. The space hardware including the capsules were shown as dirty and worn. The facilities were depicted as either industrial basements or dangerous factories. Some of the only scenes not showing the Armstrongs are dedicated to those questioning the space program. I have to think that if the space program were a character it would be playing the role of the villain. By killing the people Neil bonded with after the death of his daughter and driving a wedge in the Armstrong's marriage it drives most of the loss that happens in the movie after the opening scenes.

This movie was not meant to glorify the space program or make heroes out of those who sacrificed for it. It was not made to lionize Armstrong for his achievements. Those things would have been easy and have already be done superbly in movies like The Right Stuff and Apollo 13. First Man tried to do something much more difficult, show that the first human on the Moon was one of the most human of us all. I don't think it fully succeeded but it was certainly a bold, daring, and necessary approach.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #116 on: 10/17/2018 07:07 PM »
I watched the movie on IMAX at the Air and Space Museum.  I became nauseated about halfway through because of the shaky camera, so had to close my eyes for all of the shaky scenes that remained.  Also, the center audio channel (dialog) was muddied.  The muddied dialog also happened with Interstellar which I also saw there, so maybe it is the theater, maybe it is the IMAX audio mixing, maybe it was the same muddied dialog on all screens.

It was an enjoyable movie, but I left with the sense that I didn't understand Neil Armstrong any better afterward than before.
For 'Interstellar'; the director Christopher Nolan claimed that the sometimes muffled dialog was deliberate?! Go figure...
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Offline mmonce

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #117 on: 10/17/2018 08:45 PM »
First, I think this is the best place to read reviews of this particular movie, due to the people on this forum and their knowledge of the persons, events and technologies depicts, so ... thank you.

I eagerly anticipated this movie and made it a point to go out and see on a matinee on it's first day of release (not IMAX, though). So expectations were high.

Count me among those who regard the entire flag controversy as nonsense. All I have to say about that.

I knew up front that to expect this film to replicate the style, production design, and art direction of previous, excellent depictions of the same or similar events like "Apollo 13" or "From the Earth to the Moon" would be invitation to disappointment. Damien Chazelle was attempting to make a film on his own artistic terms and style and NOT to simply replicate the work of Ron Howard or Tom Hanks. And ALL movies depicting historical events take artistic license....some too much, but...

Knowing all that, I resolved simply to go to the theater, sit back and try to enjoy it. And I did. I walked out completely satisfied, even with a few quibbles.

High points: The lunar descent and moonwalk sequences were simply spectacular. I actually enjoyed the soundtrack during the descent and the contrasting silence on the surface. I understand that the style differs from the more documentary-like depictions in the films mentioned above, but I chalk this to stylistic differences as much as anything...not enough to offend me. Now if the director had depicted the Eagle doing some kind of comic book nonsense at a critical moment, I'd feel differently. So while probably not a "home movie" accurate depiction of the landing and moonwalk, I did find it respectful.

I also appreciated the tension depicted in the other aviation and spaceflight sequences.

The actors were fine, for the most part.

Quibbles:

I also noticed the "junkyard motif" depiction of NASA hardware. For the X-15 sequence, I think that made sense because it was an aircraft built in 1959 and it flew dozens of times. But as others noted, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft pretty much left the pad in "showroom" condition. And did the capsule entry room on the Titan gantry REALLY look like a corrugated tin shack? Even the Apollo sequences were shot in dark lighting to give the impression that the spacecraft was not altogether safe or even well-built. I noticed this in each sequence and again, gave the director the benefit of doubt as a stylistic vs. documentary choice.

The depiction of NASA personnel and their behavior. Manned spaceflight is serious business. I think the movie depicted that message clearly. But were all NASA astronauts and engineers so grim, 100% of the time?

A little to much use of shaky-cam on the earthbound sequences, also a stylistic choice. But having never been on a spaceflight I don't know what it's like to feel firm ground afterward. I do know what it's like to walk on firm ground after riding a roller-coaster or a boat, and I think the shaky-cam is trying to capture that same feeling to symbolize the intermissions astronauts experience (at least psychologically) between space missions?

I, too, could have done without the MULTIPLE vignettes of people voicing "why send men into space with so many problems here on Earth." One would have sufficed. I did get the sense that while the film-makers genuinely admired the courage of astronauts, they may feel their exploits less than essential?

But...those are quibbles. Again, for the Apollo 11 landing sequence, this film is worth it.

And thanks again for the other insights on technical details and accuracy.

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #118 on: 10/17/2018 10:07 PM »
The depiction of NASA personnel and their behavior. Manned spaceflight is serious business. I think the movie depicted that message clearly. But were all NASA astronauts and engineers so grim, 100% of the time?
If you read the transcripts of the flight, they were not grim 100% of the time including Neil Armstrong.  If you listen to the Apollo astronauts at their speaking engagements, they do not come across as grim people with no sense of humor.  I've met a few people who were involved in the program over the years.   I can't imagine any of them being grim 24/7.  If they were, they probably would have quit the program.

Directors take a theme they like to push and oversell it.  Ron Howard played fast and loose with some of the details in Apollo 13 to add drama.  It didn't prevent that from being a great movie.   That is why you can't take any of these movies as 100 percent gospel as to what it was like.  Hopefully it's close enough to give you some flavor of what these people went through and the magnitude of the accomplishment.  If you expect 100 percent accuracy in these types of movies, you will always be disappointed in something.  The only way to know exactly what it was like would to have been involved in the project at the time.  Even then you only fully have your own view of it.  If you don't expect perfection, it's easier to enjoy movies.  The inaccuracies, as long as they aren't too major, give us something interesting to talk about.

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Re: First Man Premiere
« Reply #119 on: 10/18/2018 11:33 AM »
Has my memory failed me (sadly, quite likely), or are there scenes in the trailer that were not in the movie?



The house fire in 1964?
The scene where they are watching a launch through the windows of launch control?
Others?

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