Thursday, October 16, 2008

Capricorn One

Cinema Retro ran a piece (in its usual fine intresting style) on a new DVD of Capricorn One. I have a special interest in that film because one night when Carol and I were driving back from Chicago we decided to listen to loopy late night radio. In those days (not sure how its goes these days) late night was rarely political. It was, instead, about conspiracy theories of all kinds.

Here's a piece of the Cinema Retro review:

"Capricorn Onewas the first major release to center on a clearly crackpot theory and present it as a plausible thesis. In this case, the notion is that corrupt NASA executives concoct an audacious plot to fake the first landing on Mars. They gain the co-operation of the three astronauts involved using a combination of appeals to their patriotism coupled with implied threats against their families. As crazy as the scenario sounds, Hal Holbrook, as the plot's mastermind, delivers a speech to the men that makes it sound sensible (they have to have a triumph or public apathy for NASA will result in cancelation of the space program). Things quickly go awry when technical glitches make it appear the capsule was destroyed en route back to earth. In order to maintain the facade, Holbrook has to order the assassination of the astronauts, played by James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O.J. Simpson. The men realize they are expendable and make a daring break for freedom across the desert."

The show we heard had listeners calling in from the US and Canada claiming that this was in fact what happened when we claimed to have landed on the moon. It was all staged in a TV studio by the US government.

I'm pretty sure this theory still has credence among the full-mooners. In fact I heard Sarah Palin promise to look into it if she and that nasty old bastard she's running with ever happen to take the White House.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Can't tell you how many times this scenario has been held out to me as the truth. Wow.

Scott Parker said...

I'm just glad the movie's out on DVD now. As someone born in 1968, this was the first film I saw where the concept of conspiracy became a real idea in my head. As a devotee of the Apollo program through the 70s, I was shocked that someone, anyone, could think something so magnificent could be faked. This movie opened my eyes. Thanks for the review.

mike doran said...

And did you know... Peter Hyams, the writer-director of this little beauty, was for several years an honest-to-Swayze news anchorman in Chicago and New York (in that order, if memory serves)? Here in Chicago he was on CBS-ch2 as the weekend anchor and back-up for Bill Kurtis. What I remember most about him was his big, glassy, buggy eyes - somehow he looked like he might go for a story like this one.

Anonymous said...

Didn't one of the Astronauts, Buzz Aldrin maybe, punch out one of these conspiracy theorists a few years back? Seems like the guy was always showing up at Aldrin's appearances and finally Buzz had enough and -- POW! To the moon, Alice!

- Bob