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SPACING-OUT ON THE MAINSTREAM-CULT FROM 'CAPRICORN ONE'

Novelization artwork cover MOVIE RELEASED: 1977
Football hero turned murderer THE TOWERING INFERNO co-star OJ Simpson follows the lead of square-jawed man's man James Brolin's solid yet sophisticated, thoroughly intense persona along with the always capable Sam Waterston, turning in constant one-liners, which can be genuinely humorous — even as he's climbing to an inevitably dire situation...

Great Poster Artwork
This trio of eclectic and likeable astronauts, using last names only... Brubaker, Willis and Walker... separate across a vast desert, taking a sporadic survival story backseat within their own central storyline. Meanwhile, an affable and lightweight Elliott Gould is rather out of place under the ultra-serious direction of Peter Hyams. A few years earlier, he reigned as flaky smooth-talkers under improvisational auteur Robert Altman in films like MASH, THE LONG GOODBYE and CALIFORNIA SPLIT. So this is basically the tail-end of Gould's prime/peak popularity...

Robert Walden and Elliott Gould
As the snoopy and intrepid reporter Robert Caulfield, he gets first-star billing but is the first character forgotten when this multi-genre vehicle stops rolling. An important yet thankless role injecting sloppy Noir into the taut Science-Fiction realm embodied by what's based on a perpetual real life conspiracy surrounding the first men to walk on the Moon circa 1969...

The basic plot of CAPRICORN ONE, named after the rocket that, in front of the nation's eyes and, in particular, a breezy U.S. VP verses a perturbed David Huddleston, lets us in on what the real late-seventies Washington D.C. felt about space travel...

Meeting of a death-time
So the titular vessel really doesn't go anywhere since the astronauts, at the last minute before ignition — occurring at a steady-paced fifteen minutes or so into the picture — are given a locked-door speech by Hal Holbrook, turning in a sophisticated villain role, especially while providing a beautiful verbal combination of patriotic reverie under a bewitching spell of remorseful repose — yet most of his other scenes merely concern sitting in the "Houston Room" with a finger on the dump button, just in case the idealistic Brubaker (Brolin) decides to go off script, and thus, ruin the whole show... literally.

James Brolin not buying it
The only real problem with the otherwise perfectly lightweight and entertaining CAPRICORN ONE is how quickly Gould catches on to (or that he catches on at all to) an extremely farfetched connection concerning Brubaker's wife (the always-annoying Brenda Vacarro), rushing the proverbial bridge (while literally driving over a real one) to have an ending point in sight...

Capricorn One import DVD
Along the way, some of the best scenes involve character-actor Robert Walden, the smartest of the Houston techies, figuring something's off and not only making his buddy Caulfield (Gould) curious, but genuinely catapulting the plot into motion: ultimately involving an 11th hour "Guest Star" Telly Savalas in a dilapidated underdog desert biplane verses shiny and formidable government helicopters that, after all the brainy espionage, closes the door with simplistic and frolicking action...

If ever there's discovered a more sublime example of Sick Day Afternoon Cinema, to pass the time while enjoying passing time, let us know, because this ONE is the CITIZEN KANE of time-filling fluff... A special kind of "I grew up loving this movie" project that should cross over into any generation given the straight-out, unapologetic entertainment value since both halves are like completely different movies telling one neat story.
Robert Walden and Hal Holbrook in CAPRICORN ONE
Karen Black in a 70's classy hot rod with a troubled Elliott Gould towards the end of the movie
A fantastic theme by Jerry Goldsmith plays along while this terrific-looking font's shown


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