Marooned

1969, Columbia Pictures

Eerily prescient of Apollo 13, Marooned offers a reasonably realistic account of astronauts stranded in space. Although it tends to drag, the film offers plenty of rewards for the patient sci-fi aficionado. A powerhouse cast delivers enough drama to maintain one's attention through some of the otherwise tedious procedures of quasi-real-life space travel, as a surprising degree of scientific accuracy is maintained throughout the film. And, as a rare touch, it has no music soundtrack to influence one's emotional response; it relies entirely on the story and the performances to drive it forward to a gripping—if slightly contrived—conclusion.

True story: I got to wear the very same space suit that David Janssen wore for the film. A photographer friend of mine wanted to shoot a series of astronaut-themed images, and discovered the suit was available to rent from a strange old science/novelty store in south Jersey. I became his model because I was the only one he knew who could fit in the suit—in fact, it fit perfectly. Only problem, it was miserably hot; it did have a liquid cooling system, but we were ill-equipped to make it functional.

     

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