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Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun

Journey To The Far Side Of The SunThe intriguing 1969 cult science fiction
  movie Journey To The Far Side Of The
was billed on its release as ‘the
  motion picture that rockets you into the
  super-charged world of the 21st Century

— and now, were here, and this
  underrated film is available on DVD...

HAZARDING A GUESS AT THE 21ST CENTURY back in the 1960s would have been almost impossible, but Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (well known at the time for producing a number of popular innovative sci-fi puppet series: Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5, Stingray) bravely took a shot at that when they wrote Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun (aka Doppelganger).

During the Sixties, much of the technology shown in the film would have been thought of as progressive, but perhaps looking back in retrospect is rather unfair because we have come on in leaps and bounds and you cannot expect any of the sophistication of modern technology.

This exciting, intense science fiction adventure film actually set a new standard for special effects in science fiction at the time of its release and Universal Pictures is delighted to announce the long-awaited UK DVD premiere of Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun — an enjoyable piece of cinema history that was very clever with its futuristic sets, even if it did still have tickertape and a dot matrix printer!

One hundred years into the future (around 2069!), scientists discover a new planet in our solar system — one that is following the exact orbit of Earth at the exact opposite point, orbiting at the exact speed of Earth but hidden by the sun.

Under the direct control of Jason Webb (Patrick Wymark), a top secret programme called Operation Sunprobe is instigated at EUROSEC, the European Space Exploration Complex in Portugal. The mission: to launch a spaceship capable of travelling the one hundred million miles in the three weeks it will take to reach the new planet and to discover whether it can sustain life in the same way as Earth.

But there is a spy in their midst who wants to copy the technology developed by EUROSEC and sell it on. Dr Hassler (the wonderfully sinister Herbert Lom) is prime suspect and, aware that he may already have passed on the top secret documents and plagued by his colleagues' doubts, Webb wants to bring forward the scheduled launch date. There is a wonderful scene where Hassler enters the EUROSEC building and passes through security. He forgets a pen in his pocket and jokes that it is really a secret camera — but the secret camera is somewhere that you wouldn't suspect.

The other problem is in persuading the Americans to help finance the project so that the rest of Europe will support the three billion pounds sterling venture.

Following an argument with Webb, top scientist and astrophysicist Dr John Kane (Ian Hendry) resigns, but is persuaded to return when Webb needs him to accompany the experienced American astronaut, Colonel Glenn Ross (Roy Thinnes) who has agreed to accept the mission.

Ross is accompanied to Portugal by his beautiful but bitter wife Sharon (Lynn Loring) and it is soon clear that their marriage is less than happy. Still, it gives Sharon the opportunity to show a fine style in Sixties clothes. Gerry, you were spot on — miniskirts did make a comeback in the 21st Century!

The two astronauts are launched into space only to crash-land on the planet and Kane is badly injured. The two men are discovered and taken into custody, only to be faced with a furious Webb — who believes that, as they had only been away for three weeks, Ross and Kane aborted their mission and returned to Earth.

Not only that, but there is an anomaly with Kane's X-rays and Ross seems to have a problem with his vision. He is apparently seeing everything in reverse — and he thinks he knows the answer…

Have Ross and Kane really returned to Earth or have they landed on some strange mirror world? Is Glenn simply hallucinating and will the life-and-death mission to find out the truth be successful? Did Ross abort the mission or does he truly believe he has the answer?

The respected actors, the intriguing storyline and the beautiful filming all make Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun a worthwhile and enjoyable film that must surely rank among the fine examples of cinema history.

Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun also features Franco Derosa as Paolo Landi; George Sewell as Mark; Edward Bishop as David Poulson, NASA Liaison; Philip Madoc as Dr Pontini; and Loni von Friedl as EUROSEC security Lisa Hartman. Based on a story by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the screenplay is also by the Andersons with Donald James. The music is composed and conducted by Barry Gray; Director of Photography is John Read; Art Director Bob Bell; Visual Effects Director is Derek Meddings; Produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson; and Directed by Robert Parrish

Filmed on location in Portugal and at Pinewood Studios, Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun has some fantastic photography, particularly as the camera pans over the spaceship and its beautifully orchestrated operations. We also loved the vehicles.

Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun comes to DVD, courtesy of Universal Pictures,
on 8 September, 2008 with a Recommended Retail Price of £9.99. Certificate: PG.

"Original and intriguing" — New York Times

"The respected actors, the intriguing storyline and the beautiful filming all make Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun a worthwhile and enjoyable film that must surely rank among the fine examples of cinema history" — MotorBar

About Sylvia and Gerry Anderson

Anderson is responsible for creating some of the most well-loved franchises in popular science fiction. From his initial smash hit Fireball XL5, Anderson went on to produce Stingray, the iconic Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, both of which are still widely popular today with audiences both young and old.

Despite initially only a limited release, Journey To The Far Side of The Sun has gone on to become a cult classic, fondly remembered by those who saw its original release and appreciated by younger science fiction fans for its original, intriguing plot and Gerry Anderson's dazzling and ground breaking special effects. Journey To The Far Side of The Sun is an imaginative, surprising science fiction adventure that offers a journey few will ever forget.