Sunday, August 6, 2017

Movies Every Day 6: Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969)

"Now what I'm going to tell you is bizarre, weird, but it's the only theory that fits the facts."

Why I'm Watching

  • Time for some sci-fi action!
  • I've been seeing quite a bit of Roy Thinnes as David Vincent in The Invaders and wanted to get to know him outside of that role.

The Gist

The European Space Exploration Complex, Eurosec, has discovered a planet that shares Earth's orbit on the opposite side of the sun. They send two astronauts to check it out, but they mysteriously end up back on Earth and discover it's not quite the same place they left behind.

Things I Like

  • I love seeing the advanced technology that is totally retro, but it's also pretty cool to see technology that's in use today like the cardiac monitor watch and the video screens.
  • The music is dramatic and serves to heighten tension. There's an appropriate use of theremin during the astronauts' space travel.
  • The fiery crash landing on doppelgänger Earth was impressive.
  • I like how we're led to believe that an alien is lifting Col. Ross up and away from the crash site.
  • The colorful wardrobe and interesting fashions were fun to see.
  • Best explosions ever.

Things I Don't Like

  • It's hard to get a sense of what's going on in the beginning about who's who and what's when and where's what.
  • The pacing is a bit slow at times.

Interesting Moments

  • An X-ray of the doctor shows his heart appears to be located in his abdomen.
  • Very detailed use of the glass eye spy camera is shown. 
  • For an advanced civilization that tracks cardiac output, I'm surprised to see that people still smoke cigarettes and drink scotch. Perhaps that's why they need to monitor their hearts. 
  • The airplane/air transport that disassembles to bring passengers directly to the terminal is pretty awesome. 
  • Glenn's wife, Sharon (Thinnes actual wife, Lynn Loring), claims he's sterile because of the radiation he's exposed to during space travel, making him less than a man, but he shoves a container of "Femina" oral contraceptives in her face, stating that's the reason they can't have children. 
  • We are treated to several minutes of swirling colors and patterns. While it may be what's seen from space, it could also be what the astronauts are seeing during their medically induced sleep.
  • Astronaut, John Kane, gets launched during a less than desirable explosive landing.
  • Glenn Ross gets an injection and starts having some interesting visions of the same swirling colors and patterns seen during the flight, along with a composite of recent events.

Notable Quotes

Jason Webb: You're gonna sit there and watch me take a man for one billion dollars.
John Kane: The words of an egotistical megalomaniac.
Jason Webb: Maniac. Remind me to be as charitable to you when one of your rockets blows up on the pad.
John Kane: Hadn't you better attend to that cardiac warning?

Jason Webb: We discover a new planet in our own solar system―military and scientific implications beyond comprehension. We ask our friends for a few dollars, and it's, "No go."
David Poulson: One billion dollars, Jason.
Jason Webb: Cheap at twice the price!

Glenn Ross (to Jason Webb): Now what I'm going to tell you is bizarre, weird, but it's the only theory that fits the facts. I propose a complete duplication of matter. A situation where every single atom, every molecule here is duplicated here, except that it's in reverse.

Jason Webb: Are you trying to tell me that you don't know any of the people here? Your wife? Lisa? Neuman?
Glenn Ross: Only their doppelgängers.
Jason Webb: Their what?
Glenn Ross: Doppelgängers, doubles. You want a literal translation? The mirrored images of themselves.

Jason Webb (to Glenn Ross): It was all there on the computer readout when you had your electronic medicals. I assumed wrongly that it was a fault. Lesson number one, never distrust a computer.

Service Technician: Why did you reverse "Doppelgänger," Colonel? (referring to ship's name painted on the side)
Glenn Ross: It's an inside joke between me and myself.

Memorable Moments

Love It or Leave It

Love it more than I should. The pacing is slow and it's pretty easy to figure out what is going on, but I do enjoy the futuristic technology and the idea of the doppelgänger Earth. The unexpected ending more than well makes up for any inadequacies, though the last scene was pretty odd. Overall, it is a fun and enjoyable sci-fi, once you suspend any knowledge you have of science.


Don said...

Thanks for reminding me of this film. For some reason it seemed to be in constant rotation on a local station when I was a kid. I really only remember the ending with the mirror, so I'll have to track it down.

There were a handful of other films that seemed to show up constantly. You've had such eclectic choices this month, I'm curious if another will show up.

John V said...

Well-done look a movie that I remember seeing (and enjoying) several times in my younger years. Interesting fact: the film was produced by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson of Thunderbirds, UFO and Space: 1999 fame.