Marooned (1969) John Sturges
Production Budget: $8 million
Total Gross: $4 million
You may know Marooned by its alternate title Space Travelers from Mystery Science Theater 3000. The story is about three astronauts (played by Richard Crenna, James Franciscus, and Gene Hackman) who spend several months in a orbital station doing…um, stuff. When they come back to Earth, their capsule’s engines malfunction and they are marooned in space. Ground control (more specifically Gregory Peck) must scramble to come up with a rescue plan from the astronauts.
This movie was originally supposed to be directed by Frank Capra, but left when he was limited to a $3 million dollar budget. The movie was actually nominated for three Academy Awards and won for best visual effects. The movie was later released for tv under the new title Space Travelers and as I mention got riffed by MST3K in 1992.
Is it any good? I actually don’t think its that bad. I mean I love the MST treatment and that episode is funny as hell. I had actually watched it before on its own and thought it was an alright movie. The main reason is Richard Crenna, Gene Hackman, and Gregory Peck. That is a trifecta of awesome. The movie is kind of watered down duller version of Apollo 13. It has its moments where it is really dramatic like when the three men decide who of them will die to save the other two. I will admit though that those moments are far between and for a movie about a quick rescue, it moves very slowly. The visual effects are alright if dated by todays standards. The music is very bad though. It is like if Tangerine Dream drank a quart of NyQuil before composing. Would I necessarily recommend this movie? Nah, its not that good, but then again it’s by no means a piece of sh*t. Frankly I don’t know why this didn’t do better at the box office it released right after the moon landing of Apollo 11. You figure a movie about space explorers would be at their peak at that point. Anyway, an alright movie, but not really a recommendation.