Capricorn One (1978)

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Capricorn One (1978)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:59 pm



IT'S A TRIP TO MARS! SORT OF.
 
This film enables all those conspiracy theories about the moon landing being faked. During a TV airing on TCM,  host Robert Osborne was joined by guest Buzz Aldrin, who pointed out that though the film's plot was about a faked trip to Mars, it was obviously hinting to everyone about those theories of faked moon trips in '69, '71 and '72. Some people are, understandably, still annoyed at such suggestions, Aldrin included.
The film always came across to me as a fast-paced thriller, even stylish in places (the use of the prototypical black helicopters), with a large cast of well-known, fine actors and a slight sci-fi angle (in the story, we are almost - not quite - able to send a manned flight to Mars). Most of all, it's a thriller - the kind about chases and sinister agents; you shouldn't take it too seriously.
The 3 astronauts (pictured above) are played by Sam Waterston, James Brolin and O.J. Simpson. The head of NASA is played by Hal Holbrook. He has concocted an elaborate scheme to present a staged trip to & landing on Mars because the life support system for the mission was found to be faulty 2 months before the scheduled trip. Holbrook's character believes that the space program will be scrapped if the mission is canceled; so, a secret set is set up in the middle of a desert somewhere; the astronauts are spirited away from their capsule just before launch and taken to this 'does-not-exist' stage.
Elliott Gould shows up at the half-hour mark and becomes the main character for most of the rest of the film. He's an old-school reporter who stumbles onto this conspiracy by chance. He's pretty amusing, for the most part. Vaccaro plays Brolin's wife / sort-of widow; Karen Black pops up as another smart-ass reporter - she and Gould have a crackling relationship; Savalas shows up near the end as a real smart-ass crop-duster pilot who really likes the word "pervert." Another glitch in this whole plan (there seems to be a lot of these) is that the heat shield for the capsule fails on re-entry; this means the astronauts are dead; this means the astronauts need to... get away, get away! Good luck with that, fellas - you're in the middle of the desert and the black helicopters are on their way...!
When this film first came out, it outraged a lot of people - those in favor of a legitimate space program and those who frown on talk about a fabricated moon landing by a corrupt space agency. Sci-fi writer David Gerrold took the film to task in his column for Starlog in that mag's 20th issue (March, 1979). Gerrold pointed out a few flaws in the film, examples of a lazy approach, such as no faked time delay when the astronauts are talking to Earth from their capsule on 'Mars' - he labeled this as "anti-science," with the whole theme belittling our highest aspirations. It does point to the contradictions of the Hal Holbrook character, a big dreamer who indulges in the most cynical, dastardly and immoral steps to address his problems. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10

ABOVE: what, no time delay? Bogus! It's a conspiracy!


Last edited by BoG on Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:06 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Capricorn One alternate ending

Post  BoG on Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:55 pm


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