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Countdown (1967)

Unrated | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | February 1968 (USA)
Desperate to reach the moon first, NASA sends a man and shelter separately, one-way. He must find it to survive; he can't return until Apollo is ready.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Chiz
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Gus
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Rick
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Walter Larson
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Ehrman
John Rayner ...
Dunc
Charles Irving ...
Seidel
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Stevie Stegler (as Bobby Riha Jr.)
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Storyline

When the U.S. learns the Soviets are about to launch a manned mission to the moon, they feel it imperative that they get there first. The moon program isn't ready to launch yet so they decide to send one man in a modified Gemini capsule that will be able to land on the moon. The astronaut will have to stay there for up to a year - in a special built shelter that will be sent ahead of time - until an Apollo mission can rescue him. The obvious choice for the mission is Chiz, who knows the Gemini inside out but the Soviets are sending civilians, not military men, so geologist Lee Stegler is asked to go. He has only three weeks however to learn about the intricacies of the spacecraft and no one is sure if he will make it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the director of "The Player" and "Nashville" comes a screen space adventure that's the real stuff. See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

February 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Moonshot  »

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The moon landing was simulated in the Mojave Desert. See more »

Goofs

In scene of Lee's walk on the moon just before finding the shelter, desert plants are clearly visible in the background casting shadows. See more »

Quotes

Houston Captain Commander: Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, SPS thrust on.
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Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Robert Altman (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Early Altman
7 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Desperate to reach the moon first, NASA sends a man (James Caan) and shelter separately, one-way. He must find it to survive; he cannot return until Apollo is ready.

This film has been heavily scrutinized for being boring, dated and any number of other things. Critic Howard Thompson calls the film a "limp space-flight drama" which "makes the moon seem just as dull as Mother Earth". Some of this might be fair, some might not. Director Robert Altman, who later went on to big things, got the job through Warner Brothers' B-movie producer William Conrad (1920-1994). So maybe we are wrong to expect too much. (Although it is great to see such early performances from Caan and Robert Duvall.)

Where the movie is and is not Altman's is unclear. The bulk is obviously his, but the story goes that Jack Warner (1892-1978) did not like Altman's use of overlapping dialogue, had him removed from the set, and Conrad shot some new footage. So how much did Altman get to edit into the final film?


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