Back in 2019, I wrote about a great documentary I saw on the unlikeliest of subjects that one would consider "exciting" and moving -- sailboat racing. But it was. The film was Maiden, about the first all-female crew to participate in the Whitbread Round the World sailing race in 1989, that sets out from England.
It's airing now on the Movieplex cable channel, and it's next scheduled for this afternoon at 3:26 PM (Los Angeles time). And then will run again the next day, Wednesday, September 27 very early at 1:37 AM -- again, Los Angeles time. (It's why God created the DVR...)
A great thing about Movieplex is that they don't have commercials. A bad thing is that they aren't on all cable services -- though are on a lot. These are the services that I believe carry Movieplex.
If your system does carry Movieplex, here's a link to their schedule for the next two weeks. The times they have listed are Eastern. (For Spectrum in Los Angeles, it's on Channel 620.)
Unfortunately, it's not available for streaming on either Netflix or Amazon Prime -- which is why, in particular, I mention it here. However, it can be rented on Amazon Prime for $3.99, if you want to see it but don't have the Movieplex Channel on your cable system. You can get it here.
Just so you know that I'm not alone in my love of this movie, it has a 98% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And a 97% audience rating. It really is this wonderful. And exciting. And moving.
What makes the documentary so great -- beyond the story -- is the access to video they have. Lots of footage from childhood and growing up of the driven-force and skipper behind the effort, Tracy Edwards. (Now, Tracy Edwards MBE.) But also the incredible footage on the boat during the race -- a video crew offered its services to all the competing boats, but no other boat wanted to take them on. The women, however, figured they had nothing to lose, so what the heck, sure. It's phenomenal material -- a record of the 30,000 mile race that took about six months! And then, to top it all off, there's the story and its twists and turns.
Again, it's great.
Here's the article about the documentary that I wrote back in June 18, 2019, along with the trailer.
I saw a great documentary at the Writers Guild Theater over the weekend which seems an unlikely topic for an exciting, moving true story like this. It’s called Maiden, about Tracy Edwards, a British cook on a racing sailboat who decides to put together the first all-female crew to enter an Around-the-World Sailing race in 1989 -- despite never having skippered a boat before. It's really well done, wonderful. Tons of archival footage (including of the race, since there were videographers on board, as well as her earlier life) that almost makes it like watching a work of fiction, and very emotional at times with some twists and surprises. I shall say no more, because the unexpected moments and twists -- and perspective -- are some of the fun.
I don’t know if it will get a theatrical release, but since it’s from Sony Classics, I suspect it will. At the very least it will eventually be on DVD, perhaps in three months or so.
One small footnote I'll add -- when watching the trailer afterwards, I paused at the credit block...and there noticed that her name was listed as "Tracy Edwards MBE." .They don’t mention in the film that she got that impressive honor. In fairness, I don’t recall that the documentary has an end crawl to update the story, so if not, there was no place to reference it.
As I've mentioned previously, my cousin Jim Kaplan has a small sailboat/motor boat, and when I told him about the documentary, he laughed and said, "I love sailing -- and even I wouldn't ever think you could make a film about it that was exciting."
But they did. The video footage they have access to is remarkable, and on a 30,000 miles race there is profound danger all the boats face almost every moment, Above all, though, the film is very involving from the personal stories involved.
This is the trailer. It does a very respectable job telling the story and giving a sense of the richness, but the documentary is even much better -- in large part because the trailer leaves out much of her early personal life that is dramatic and fascinating, and also in part because the race itself is especially dramatic with twists.
As a bonus, I'll re-post this brief piece I added three months later --
Back in late June, I wrote a rave review here of the absolutely wonderful documentary Maiden that's about the first all-female crew to participate in the Whitbread Around-the-World race in 1989. The ship's captain, who put the crew together, Tracy Edwards, also founded The Maiden Factor, an organization that works with charities to provide an education for girls who don’t currently have that basic human right. In doing so, the foundation sails the ship around the world to help raise money.
As I've mentioned here, I occasionally head down to Marina del Rey where my cousin Jim Kaplan has a small motorboat/sailboat, and the two of us tool around the Pacific Ocean. Yesterday was one of those days. And as we turned down the basin where his boat is docked and headed towards the main channel, we looked towards what's known as Basin A and what we saw there was --
Oh, huzzah. Yes, Maiden was docked in the Marina Del Rey harbor as part of its ongoing promotional tour for its The Maiden Factor foundation.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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