I hadn’t seen MAROONED since I was a youngster, but I caught it the other evening thanks to the wonder that is TiVo. It was directed by John Sturges and stars Gregory Peck as the Flight Director trying to get three stranded astronauts down after their Apollo spacecraft malfunctions, leaving the crew (played by Richard Crenna, James Franciscus, and Gene Hackman) stranded in orbit. David Janssen plays the astronaut who will pilot an experimental winged spacecraft up in a daring rescue attempt.
To be honest, it’s a pretty good film. Although a lot of the same ground is covered in APOLLO 13, I was surprised at how good the film was and how solid the grounding on real engineering was. Plus, the archival footage of various space launches was a treat. Some of the popular clips are recognizable from within longer sequences.
The Apollo hardware was fairly good, and the special effects were more than acceptable. It would have been nice if they had used the X-20 DynaSoar or the X-24 as the rescue vehicle. I would have liked to see the Air Force boys dusting off the cancelled X-20 in order to save the day. As far as I know, the ‘XR-V’ vehicle used in the film wasn’t a real program, though it seemed to be pretty close to the X-24. And it was launched atop a Titan IIIC, which was to be the X-20’s launch vehicle. It’s the attention to that sort of detail that really stood out to me.
With those sorts of things in the news all the time when the movie came out (1969) I guess they were sort of obligated to stick closer to reality, because the audience back then would catch obvious crocks much more easily than today’s audiences. Today, in fact, I don’t think many people would care even if they could tell the difference.
MAROONED is available on DVD, and a review is available at DVDFile. All in all, a good flick.