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Journey to the Far Side of the Sun

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Journey to the Far Side of the Sun
JourneytoFarSide
VHS cover
Directed by: Robert Parrish
Produced by: Gerry Anderson
Written by: Gerry Anderson,
Sylvia Anderson
Starring: Roy Thinnes,
Ian Hendry,
Patrick Wymark
Runtime: 101 mins.
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
 

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (also known as Doppelgänger) was a 1969 Science Fiction film directed by Robert Parrish. The crew of a spacecraft journey to an previously unknown planet far side of the Sun, only to seemingly find themselves returning back to the Earth.

The film was produced by Gerry Anderson, who was best known for producing television series using the puppetry technique Supermarionation, indeed utilising many of his greatest techniques, primarily the use of models and pyrotechnics. It also has an innovative score by Barry Gray which, like the earlier Captain Scarlet makes great use of an Ondes Martenot, particularly during the 'sleeping astronauts' scene. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is still unavailable. The success of this film led to Anderson producing live-action series for television, beginning with UFO, which recycled a number of props - and actors - from this film.

Released the year after 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Apollo 11 moon landing, the film has reached 'cult' status, with many Anderson fans viewing the film as a ticket to true Anderson fandom.

Plot synopsisEdit

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

After the discovery of a new planet orbiting exactly the opposite side of the Sun, the European Space Exploration Council (EuroSec) and NASA send American astronaut Col. Glenn Ross (Roy Thinnes) and British scientist John Kane (Ian Hendry) to the new planet.

During their long journey, they are put to sleep, and are maintained by a pair of on board Heart/Lung/Kidney machines, meaning that they lose all recollection of time. When they awaken, they enter orbit of the planet and do an initial survey. They find the planet's atmosphere to be breathable but they see no signs of life. They decide to go forward with a landing and go down in the lander. As they enter the atmosphere, the ship's controls begin to short out and malfunction. They loose all control of the craft and crash. After getting clear of the wrekage, an air-sea rescue craft picks them up. It appears that the crew have somehow returned to Earth instead of going to the planet. They are discretly returned to the space center, with Kane in critical condition. He later dies of his injuries.

Ross is grilled by EuroSec officials about why he has apparently returned to Earth in just three weeks, since in the time he was away, he could have only gotten half way to the new planet. Ross denies turning back, saying he and Kane actually arrived at the new planet, and could not explain why he was on Earth.

Soon, Ross puts together the shocking fact that he is not on Earth at all - but on an identical Earth in which everything is a mirror image of our own. At first, his own wife Sharon (Lynn Loring) and others at the space agency think he is insane for claiming signs and even the layout of his apartment on the spaceport's base are backwards, but he convinces the director of EuroSec, Jason Webb (Patrick Wymark) that it is true by easily reading documents and written directions shown as a reflection in a mirror. Ross theorizes that everything that is done on his Earth is done on the new planet at the same time, but opposite to it. If he tries to go back, he will return as if nothing happened.

Concern over whether the duplicate shuttle craft he and Kane used to come to Earth from the spaceship share the same electrical charge is raised, but Ross decides to try. He takes off from the new planet in a shuttle he has called "doppleganger," meaning "double," and tries to dock with the Earth ship he came in. But as he docks, he loses contact with the ground base, and his shuttle craft backs away from the ship, hurtling towards the ground with autopilot still engaged. It disengages, but too late, causing a horrific crash that causes the shuttle to crash into and destroy the space center.

The final scenes show an elderly Webb, now long-since dismissed as head of the space agency, institutionalized and trying to convince nurses that he indeed was part of a program that saw a visit from a man from an identical planet (the crash had destroyed all evidence of the flight.)

In his dementia, he sees a reflection of himself in a mirror, and in an attempt to return to the mirror world Ross visited, Webb crashes into the mirror and falls through the window to his death.


Spoilers end here.


CastEdit

Actor Role
Roy Thinnes Col. Glenn Ross
Ian Hendry John Kane
Patrick Wymark Director Jason Webb
Lynn Loring Sharon Ross
Herbert Lom Dr. Hassler
Loni von Friedl Lisa Hartmann

Selected quotesEdit

  • "You are going to sit there and watch me take a man for one billion dollars." Patrick Wymark as Jason Webb
  • "You know when a rocket is ready, but you don't know when a man is ready, Kane isn't." - Thinnes as Col. Glenn Ross, to Webb

TriviaEdit

  • When Earth is shown from space, it had no moon.
  • In its European release, the film was released as Doppelgänger.

External linksEdit

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