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In Reply to: RE: Streamed Hidden Figures last night... posted by mkuller on May 06, 2017 at 08:48:45
The other theme of the movie, beside the racial setting, was how people could be shot into space just as crude computers were coming on line. That whole episode was started without them. John Glenn took his shot only after receiving final verbal OK from Kathy Johnson (Taraji Henson). Ballsy times.
The racial setting must have been a difficult line to walk in this film. You know it had to be worse than shown, but it was not meant to be the sole theme. Costner as Al Harrison, the pit boss, was terrific in demonstrating that it was not all racial hatred; just endemic in the cultural times. Once it was stated that going to the john was a pain in the ass, he got pissed and ripped the sign down. I loved that part. People just accepted segregtion as daily routine.
Predictable because its history, but a great story. As a movie though, it was laid out a bit too cheerfully, for lack of a better word. The situation had to be tougher than shown. The drama was too light.
The Mercury 7 were Rock Stars. They survived WWII, Korea and being test pilots. They were our best and brightest. Every women wanted to screw them, every man wanted to be them, every child wanted to grow up just like them. Their job was to take risks because (it was thought that) our country's future depended on it. If our best and brightest didn't or couldn't, you could be damn sure a Russian pilot would. They trusted their skill and experience more than they trusted a computer. There is a telling scene in "The Right Stuff" where the astronauts demand a window and the ability to fly the capsule during a decent back to earth. The scene is based on actual events- the pilots did not trust the scientists and wanted the ability to override computer guidance if needed.
ALL of them wanted to be the first in space, and if being at the end of an unstable missile was the quickest path, then the line is already out the door, down the hall and around the corner.
Dieing in a spaceship, in pursuit of national glory was an altruistic act. You would receive a full military burial, your family would be taken care of. Dieing under similar circumstances now would lead to a high profile multi million $$ lawsuit and a congressional inquiry.
Expectations were different back then.
The supermen of the day versus technicians.
But also the program itself had different priorities. Then, it was almost cost no object, just do it. Today, costs and losses are a much bigger concern, as well as liabilities.
Still, I cannot envision slide rule rocket rides.
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