THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

THE GOAL FOR 2018: 200 MOVIES WATCHED BY MIDNIGHT NEW YEAR'S EVE!  (AFTER TOPPING OUT AT 194 in 2017)

CAN HE DO IT?

​​THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

MAROONED (1969)

Marooned is a fairly low-key thriller (if a thriller can be low-key) about a trio of astronauts (Richard Crenna, Gene Hackman, James Franciscus) on a mission in orbit at a space station.  They’re getting a little loopy up there after five months in space so NASA decided to bring them home early.  But when they transfer to Ironman One and fire its retro-rockets to head for home – nothing!  Houston can’t start them either.  And there isn’t enough oxygen left for three men to survive for very long.  David Janssen wants to head up a rescue mission but there’s barely enough time to put one together – meanwhile, there’s a hurricane headed straight for Cape Kennedy, which will make a launch almost impossible!  Gregory Peck is a tad stiff as the head of the space program, but the three astronauts are excellent (especially Hackman, who starts going a tad off his rocker while cooped up in space thinking he’s about to die).  Marooned won an Oscar for Special Visual Effects, pretty cutting edge in its day.  It also accurately foretold the Apollo 13 near-disaster where three real astronauts were stuck in space with oxygen problems and unsure of a path back to Earth.   Director John Sturges does a fine job with actors and effects alike, building extreme tension in the film’s final third.  But Marooned is not exactly a Women’s Lib pioneer.  When the problem first happens with the retro-rockets, everyone forgets about the three wives sitting there in the observation deck.  Then, Mariette Hartley has the unfortunate task of reciting these “it’s a man’s world” lines to fellow wife Lee Grant after Lee is audacious enough to want to know what’s happening:  “Teresa, Celia and I have been in this business for 10 years.  We learned the best thing is for us to keep our feelings to ourselves.  And let the men get on with their jobs.”  Aside from THAT, Marooned is pretty good. 

 

TLA one-word review: anxious