The recent post about taking snaps of toys and models outdoors reminded me about the film ‘ Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun’ (or Doppelganger as it was known in Britain), Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s first live action Sci- Fi flick. The reason for the reminiscing was the rocket launch sequence seen in the film which took place outside in the Century 21 car park under the supervision of the late Derek Meddings who wanted a real sky backdrop.
I thought I’d dig out my DVD copy which I hadn’t seen for awhile and check it out.
The Andersons’, keen to move away from programmes aimed at children wanted to produce a film dealing with adult themes. The film’s central premise of a mirror image Earth on the other side of the Sun would take the viewer on ’ a thrill-a-minute space exploration adventure’, or so the press book proclaimed.
The original idea was intended as a TV hour long special, and then after several redrafts developed into a movie.
The final result is very glossy and laden with excellent special effects, but sadly the characters come across as stiff and clichéd. The adult themes have been all but edited out leaving plot threads that lead nowhere.
As far as I’m aware there was no merchandise to accompany the film, although considering it had an A certificate which meant children could see the film if accompanied with an adult it would have been a great opportunity to push the SWORD range as happened with the 2001:A Space Odyssey première in 1968.
The Apollo Saturn Rocket and the Space Glider were reminiscent of the Phoenix and the Dove spacecraft seen in the film. However, as Doppelganger was released in 1969, Century 21 toys would presumably have folded.
Sadly the film was a flop.. Disappointed but undeterred the Andersons’ went on to produce their first live action Sci- Fi TV series, UFO which reused props, music and footage from the film along with several of the actors.
I’ve done a few screen captures and a couple of scans from the pressbook.