Posts Tagged ‘Angle of Repose’

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

August 25, 2012

By Matthew E. Milliken
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 In the case of the Szebin article, I’ve linked to the invaluable Internet Archive because the original host,, is no longer active.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. Read the rest of this entry »

Stegner seeks a true lie in his novel of the American West

June 26, 2012

Is it possible to salvage a life gone wrong?

That’s the question Wallace Stegner sought to answer in 1971 when he published Angle of Repose, his novel of an artistic New Yorker married to a rough-and-ready engineer of the American West. Their story is told as a rather speculative family history being assembled by Lyman Ward, a wheelchair-bound retired historian whose first-person narrative frames the book.

Lyman’s grandmother was Susan Burling, a pretty woman from a modestly well-to-do farming family in Upstate New York. At a rather stuffy Brooklyn party on Dec. 31, 1868, she met Oliver Ward, a bright but untrained engineer who longs to accomplish grand things as a self-made man of the West.

Susan’s interest in Oliver is tepid at best. Then the man she fancies, the brilliant and upwardly mobile magazine editor Thomas Hudson, becomes affianced to Augusta, her best friend. Ward, who has functioned as a sort of backup plan, soon returns from his Western travels, and an engagement quickly follows.

Oliver’s passion for Susan burns brightly from the start. But like a fire built from freshly cut wood, her love for him never bursts into full flame unless conditions are favorable. She constantly measures her marriage against Thomas and Augusta’s seeming idyll, and her union usually suffers by comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

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