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Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969)

Written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (in their first major first major live-action production) and Donald James and directed by Robert Parrish, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (aka Doppelgänger as it was known in Europe) stars Roy Thinnes, Ian Hendry, Lynn Loring, Loni von Friedl and Patrick Wymark. The film is set in 2069 where the European Space Exploration Council’s (EUROSEC) Sun Probe discovers a planet orbiting the same path as Earth on the other side of the Sun. The probe’s findings have been transmitted to the East by double agent Dr Kurt Hassler (Herbert Lom). Security Chief Mark Neuman (George Sewell) traces the messages to Hassler’s laboratory and shoots him dead. It would seem teh cold war is alive and well in this future!

After a heated meeting EUROSEC director Jason Webb(Wymark) convinces NASA representative David Poulson (Ed Bishop) that the West must send a crewed mission to the planet before Hassler’s allies do. This results in NASA astronaut Colonel Glenn Ross (Thinnes) and EUROSEC astrophysicist Dr John Kane (Hendry) being assigned to the mission. As a side note it is nice to see Bishop and Sewell interacting years before they star together in another Anderson production UFO, alongside a number of costumes and props that appear to move across with them!

Immediately Ross and Kane begin their training at the EUROSEC Space Centre in Portugal and later head into spave via a spacecraft called Phoenix.  The journey to the planet takes three weeks so Ross and Kane go into hibernation. Upon arrival they scan for extraterrestrial life but are unable to find any. Thsi results in the pair making a surface landing in their shuttle Dove. During the descent though a thunderstorm strikes Dove elaving it damaged so much that it crashed into some mountains injuring Kane. The astronauts are picked up by a human rescue team, who tell Ross that they have landed near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. When they are flown back to the Space Centre, it seems clear that they have somehow returned to Earth although neither is sure how…

 

 

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