Follow-up: ‘Capricorn One’ and ‘Angle of Repose’

August 25, 2012

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 25, 2012

Author’s note: This post was updated on July 24, 2015, after I discovered that the links were broken. Those have since been fixed. In the case of the Szebin article, I’ve linked to the invaluable Internet Archive because the original host, mania.com, is no longer active. As always, thanks for reading! MEM

I wanted to follow up on two earlier postings.

After I wrote my review of the 1978 movie Capricorn One, I read three interesting articles that related to the film.

In 2007, Deborah Allison contributed an essay to M/C Journal about film novelizations and the two different versions that were written for Capricorn One. She raises interesting questions about how novelizations are crafted — they are often based on early scripts that may differ significantly from the finished film — and what constitutes the “definitive” version of a story.

In 2002, Colette Bancroft wrote a comprehensive feature story about the many different conspiracy theories that assert that the Apollo moon landings were fake. It’s a perceptive round-up, in my opinion. She writes: “That a conspiracy like this would have involved thousands of people, all of whom would have had to agree to participate — and keep silent about it for more than 30 years — doesn’t seem to faze the believers. Especially the ones who have a video or book to sell.” Capricorn One, which of course was inspired in part by these conspiracy theories and may also have served to fuel them, is referenced.

In 2000, Frederick C. Szebin penned an account of the making of Capricorn One for the website Mania. It appears to be based on an extensive interview with Paul Lazarus, the movie’s producer. I was fascinated by how director Peter Hyams found his work on CBS’ coverage of the actual moon landings, which featured NASA simulations of space flight, led him to the premise of Capricorn One. The stories about Lazarus’ meetings with the film’s quirky financial backer, Sir Lew Grade, are hysterical. (Grade, incidentally, also helped produce the Space: 1999 TV series.)

In June, I reviewed the 1971 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. A month later, Laura Miller contributed an enthusiastic article to Salon.com that praised both Stegner’s book and Mark Bramhall’s narration of it in an audiobook adaptation.

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