After their latest rocket fails, Dr. Charles Cargraves and retired General Thayer have to start over again. This time, Gen. Thayer approaches Jim Barnes, the head of his own aviation ... See full summary »
A rich but lonely woman, Frances Austen, one day invites a homeless young man from a nearby park to her apartment and offers to let him live there. However, she has no intention of ever letting him leave again.
Police surround the apartment of apparent murderer Joe Adams, who refuses to surrender although escape appears impossible. During the siege, Joe reflects on the circumstances that led him to this situation.
Barbara Bel Geddes,
When a spaceship lands on the moon, it is hailed as a new accomplishment, before it becomes clear that a Victorian party completed the journey in 1899, leading investigators to that mission's last survivor.
In Lincoln, the ambitious aspirant-designer Rae Smith has an incident with a wolf department store businessman and is rescued by the Marine Paul Saxon. They immediately fall in love with ... See full summary »
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
This marked Robert Altman's return to feature films after working in television for ten years. See more »
We see the launch of astronaut Lee Stegler's solo trip to the moon in a standard Gemini capsule atop a Titan II launch vehicle. However, when showing the Gemini capsule on the moon, it sits atop large square descent stage that extends several feet beyond the diameter of the capsule. The descent stage would have been visible protruding from the capsule and launch vehicle during blast-off, but was not. See more »
You know that thing is small, but if functions beautifully! You know, I'm gettin' the feel of it. It's very much like a good woman. Just like you.
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"Countdown," Robert Altman's first theatrical release, is the only film I've seen by the prolific director that feels nothing like an Altman project. A bit of history surrounding it reveals that Altman battled the studios over creative control, and that the final version of the film exists more as a product of the studio than of the auteur. Never again, for better or worse, would Altman relinquish control of his films, a tenacity that won him an instantly recognizable style not afforded to many other directors.
So "Countdown" isn't terribly interesting formally and feels like it could have been directed by anybody, but that's not to say it isn't an interesting movie. Released a year before man actually landed on the moon, it provides a remarkably accurate guess at what such a feat would look like, and the film is played with conviction by a strong cast of actors led by James Caan, Robert Duvall and Michael Murphy. Duvall and Murphy would appear again in "MASH," and Murphy would go on to become an Altman regular. Barbara Baxley, known to Altman devotees as Haven Hamilton's wife in "Nashville," fulfills wifely duties in this film as well, though women may as well not even exist for all the attention the screenplay affords them.
As a studio film, "Countdown" isn't half bad. As an Altman film, it's one of his weakest. But nevertheless, it's well worth seeking out, especially for fans of the iconoclastic director.
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