Sunday, April 27, 2014
With the "mysterious triangular UFO crash on the Moon" all the rage in the past two months (it turned out to be part of the edge of the photograph that the computer didn't clip off), I thought it appropriate to talk about Capricorn One -- a 1977 movie by Peter Hyams that starred Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston, Hal Holbrook, and O. J. Simpson.
The plot is that the Capricorn One manned mission to Mars is on the launch pad when a NASA administrator (Holbrook) realizes a corrupt NASA contractor has installed a faulty life-support system. The astronauts (Brolin, Waterston, Simpson) are whisked off the launch pad and taken to a NASA facility in the Arizona desert. The launch occurs, although the public doesn't realize the spacecraft is empty. The astronauts are asked to counterfeit TV footage during the flight to and from and on Mars to save NASA from public embarrassment. When they balk, their families are threatened with death. A NASA technician realizes something is up, and is killed. His journalist friend (Gould) begins investigating. Capricorn One "burns up" on reentry, and the astronauts realize they will be killed to maintain the cover-up, so they escape...
The movie builds on the endless debunked conspiracy theories that all lunar landings were faked.