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“The psychologist said I was all wrong, it’s just a blank sheet of paper.”

This is a strange movie to see, from an MST3K perspective.  Lots of actual talent making an honest to God well budgeted movie, but stuck in a specific place and time in history.  The moon landing had occurred less than 4 months prior to the release of this movie.

Over ¼ of the movie was taken out for the SOL Cut.  How much was originally removed for Space Travelers is unknown.

The launch sequence is longer than the SOL cut.  I anticipate much of the ‘cuts’ are these technical sequences; they would have been ‘interesting’ to someone at the time, now, just a little boring.  Like the moving the capsule in to place sequence.

It is amazing though, as ‘primitive’ as the analog readouts/dials are, it put men into space.

There is a very 2001 feel to this movie.  The slow docking sequences.  The first shot in the Space lab (mentioned but not seen in the SOL cut) is full of wacky perspectives and wall walking.

We meet the wives much earlier in the full version, they were on hand for the failure.

I’m sorry, but Hackman is great in this.  He really shows the strain and pressure of the situation getting to him.  Slowly becoming less and less coherent over the movie.  Mr. Hackman did it well.  (Bonus: I did my student teaching at Mr. Hackman’s high school.  Astronaut Joseph Tanner, who actually did go into space, also attend that school.)

I like when Peck goes to the chalkboard and starts marking down the DAYS not hours a rescue would take.

A very long chunk of the movie starting with Gregory Peck pulled over for speeding (and other violations) was cut.  He ends up talking to the President on a cop’s CB.  That’s when the Prez orders the rescue, pointing out ‘by the book’ may not be the best thing with the world watching.  A long sequence about readying for the rescue was cut, it is hinted the Russians have been contacted about a rescue.  This leads to a time with our crew, discussing their fates.

Lee Grant was some smoky hotness in her day.  I just remember Mariette Hartley selling me cameras with Jim Garner, I tend to forget she had a career beyond those ads.

The rescue launch prep takes nearly 18 minutes of screen time.  People must have been nuts for this space travel thing.

That is the difference in skill (and money) in this movie and most MST3K offerings.  The Astronauts spend most of the movie sitting in a confined space and build actual characters and personalities.  The wives all have the right changes of emotions.  Gregory Peck actually conducts himself like a leader should in a crisis.  Their models look like the real thing not toys.  The music is appropriate for the situation.

I know this won an Oscar for Visual Effects, but are they really that much more advanced than Destination Moon’s?

Watchability: 3 of 5.  It is a dated movie.  There are too many of those 2001 style extended float sequences which were the rage for a time.  I would say it is without a doubt the best movie ever on MST3K, but it just hasn’t aged as well as it could have.

Missing the Riffs: 4 of 5. This has become a new found favorite of mine because of this project.  The movie can stand alone without the riffs, but I’d much rather listen to Crow’s Killer Peck.