HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
   
 
Newest Articles
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
   
 
  Capricorn One Houston, We Have A ProblemBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Hal Holbrook, Brenda Vaccaro, Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson, Karen Black, Telly Savalas, David Huddleston, David Doyle, James Karen
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: Capricorn One, the first manned space flight to Mars, lifts off without any problems, but there's something going on behind the scenes that the public don't know about - there are no astronauts aboard the rocket. In fact, as the astronauts soon find out, the whole mission is a hoax designed to increase public morale. The three would-be pioneers - Captain Brubaker (James Brolin), Willis (Sam Waterston) and Walker (O.J. Simpson) are kept behind the scenes in the middle of a desert complex owned by NASA, which houses a studio all the better to recreate the mission for public to watch, never knowing the difference. But as journalist Robert Caulfield (Elliott Gould) will discover, the plan was not foolproof...

Remember that bit in Diamonds are Forever where James Bond crashes onto a film stage that is shooting fake moon landing footage? Well, director Peter Hyams script built on that then-nascent conspiracy theory, making a large-scale affair out of this simple, but effective, notion. This being made in the post-Watergate seventies, the movie had definite echoes of All the President's Men, even casting the Deep Throat from that film, Hal Holbrook, as the mastermind behind the whole plan, and with a tenacious journalist as the hero standing in for the Woodward and Bernstein personas, though even they were not threatened with death for delving too far into the shady machinations.

Of NASA, no less, not the United States Government, having us believe the apparently benevolent organisation would resort to schemes so insidious and wide-ranging this makes The President's Analyst look positively reasonable. Such was the landscape of the paranoia movie, as Capricorn One still has appeal to all the conspiracy buffs who believe the moon landings really were faked, and even more so when the movie's concealment is gradually revealed as something goes wrong aboard the spacecraft and Caulfield's friend on the inside rumbles what is actually going on, not that he lasts too long after that. Those authorities were not to be trusted, whether it was the Vice President who spends his time at the launch gazing at women through his binoculars as his wife sits beside him, or the secret services eliminating witnesses.

Yes, there are those famed black helicopters (or maybe a dark green, it's difficult to tell) to increase the tension. Cue scenes of Gould finding his car has been tampered with, or having drugs planted on him - everyone is in on it except the innocent public and bizarrely those members of the Government who have no idea what NASA have been up to or indeed are capable of, the anything goes tension quite neatly sustained over the two hour running time as we drop in on the families (Brenda Vaccaro has a fine scene where she tries to read a Dr. Seuss story at bedtime to her oblivious children) and Caulfield as his life spirals out of control the closer he gets to the truth we are all too aware of. Time and again the film emphasises the heroism of the innocent in the now-pessimistic modern world.

Hyams obviously likes to hear his actors talk, because there are great stretches of dialogue, sometimes at the expense of the brisk pacing needed to sustain the excitement of the astronauts' escape attempt (and sending Gould out to a Western theme park just looks like unnecessary padding). The story celebrates the ordinary people, who manage to get one over on the authorities who cynically attempt to manipulate them - see the final chase sequence with Telly Savalas as an irascible pilot which features great flying photography and stunts that would be replaced with CGI if the sequence were made today. When the astronauts realise they are now a liability, it's a great scene of anxiety, though there is humour of a dark variety to be gleaned, most famously in Waterston's exhausted joke telling. But the ending, which makes twinkly American heroes out of the people who have uncovered the plot, seems out of place after all that cynicism; that's the very end, however, as the rest of it was accomplished in a genre that came of age in its decade. Music by Jerry Goldsmith.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 13382 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Peter Hyams  (1943 - )

American director, writer and cinematographer, mostly of standard genre movies: action, sci-fi, thriller, etc. After a career as a TV newsman (he was a Vietnam War reporter) he moved into films, writing and producing T.R. Baskin. A couple of TV movies later, on the big screen he made Busting, Capricorn One, Hanover Street, Outland, 2010, The Presidio, a remake of Narrow Margin, Stay Tuned, Timecop, Sudden Death, The Relic, End of Days, The Musketeer and A Sound of Thunder.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: