In the distant future, a police marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy, and gets no help from the populace when he later finds himself marked for murder.
Marshal W.T. O'Niel is assigned to a mining colony on Io, one of Jupiter's moons. During his tenure miners are dying - usually violently. When the marshal investigates he discovers the one thing all the deaths have in common is a lethal amphetamine-type drug, which allows the miners to work continuously for days at a time until they become "burned out" and expire. O'Niel follows the trail of the dealers, which leads to the man overseeing the colony. Now O'Niel must watch his back at every turn, as those who seek to protect their income begin targeting him... Written by
It was speculated that Outland (1981) takes place in the same universe as Alien (1979). See more »
In the opening sequence where "computer readouts" across the bottom of the screen set the scene, one of the last of these identifies the Io mine's "Principle Ore: Titanium" instead of "principal". Also "marshal" is misspelled as "marshall" (but "dependants" is the usual UK English spelling of "dependents" and is not an error). See more »
Both in the Citadel Film Series book The Films of Sean Connery and a quick survey of the user comments here, everyone seems to be conceding that Outland is simply High Noon transferred to outer space. It's not really, but there are certain plot similarities. Of course there were enough similarities that Fred Zinneman stated that Peter Hyams had ripped off his western classic.
For one thing Gary Cooper is a newlywed in High Noon, Sean Connery is a married man with a 12 year old son. His wife however wants him to give up the futuristic law enforcement business, but it's what he knows and because he's such an independent minded fellow who speaks his mind he gets one garbage assignment after another.
Here he's on a mining colony on the Jupiter satellite Io. It's a frontier town, not unlike some in the west. But Hadleyburg in High Noon is passed the wild and woolly frontier days and the impending gunfight is not wanted because it will bring those days back. Gary Cooper dealt with ingratitude, what Connery is dealing with on Io is systemic corruption.
The boss of the place is Peter Boyle the head of mining operations. One of the things he provides are illegal synthetic narcotics which make the men work like mules and increase his productivity. They also eventually fry your brain and you turn paranoid.
Connery notices several suspicious deaths have occurred in the past two years after he's had to deal with some miners who've gone haywire. The presence of narcotics is confirmed by station doctor Frances Sternhagen during an autopsy.
When Boyle's confronted with this, bribery doesn't work so he puts out a contract on Connery. His deputies are all on the pad and the miners won't help either. His one friend in the place is Sternhagen.
In fact acting honors in Outland go to Frances Sternhagen as the tough old bird of a doctor who's also in a kind of exile on Io.
Outland has good special effects and the mining colony on Io is marvelously created with the use of miniatures, much like the Himalayas were in Black Narcissus. But it is better known for a good story and some fine acting by all, especially Sternhagen. It's one of Sean Connery's better films and shouldn't be missed by science fiction fans or Sean Connery's many fans.
So what if it took a few bites out of High Noon.
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