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A British military paratrooper disappears in mid-air during a jump from an army plane. Two investigators, Patrick Allen and Neil Connery, try to unravel how this happened. What they uncover is an alien plot to steal the bodies of earthlings by snatching them out of the air. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
The tale of paratroopers who disappear, literally, into thin air, this film is an odd watch forty years later. It's primary interest lies more in what it says about the time, than the film itself.
Released in 1969 three influences loom large.The year that Man first landed on the moon it reflects a fascination with, and fear of, what might lie in outer space. Militarily we were also in the midst of the Cold War when anything unexplained, and potentially evil, automatically raised the question of Communist involvement. And finally James Bond was the dominant screen character, and his shadow falls long here in more senses than one.
Veteran, square jawed character Patrck Allen, bulldozes his way through the role of an expert,Bob Megan, called in to solve the awkward problem of disappearing parachutists. One extraordinary scene speaks volumes for the Bond "character" and perceptions of women at the time. Megan chances upon a scantily clad beauty enjoying enjoying a solitary moment taking in the evening and then makes advances on her which vacillate between sexual assault and rape. No sooner is he introduced to a shapely scientist in a pencil skirt than she too is subjected to his clumsy male machismo which in the 21st century looks appalling.Of course both women come back for more. When he IS offered sex on a plate by the blousey, but ageing, hotel owner he rebuffs her to reinforce yet another sexual stereotype, the ageing temptress who can't get it because she has had it.
The Bond theme is further explored by the presence of Sean Connery's brother Neil, as Megans sidekick John Radford, in one of only two screen performances. Bearing a strong resemblance to Sean, his acting talents are strait jacketed by a preposterous script.
A dreadful ending combines the worst of "Dr Who" and "The Champions", suggesting that a 30 minute running time, rather than three times that, would have suited all concerned somewhat better. A hopeless film, but a fascinating sixties curiosity.
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