Moon Hoax, The

Moon Hoax, The
SemiReal
Another Masterpiece By Stanley Kubrick
8S12
1995/10/04
Movie Review: The Apollo Missions
Kubrick, Stanley
Moon, The

Author:
C. Powers (lost on internet)

Date:
1995/10/04


Great North Wind (gnwind@io.org) wrote:

Does anyone really believe that human beings have actually set foot on the moon? I don't know, but I believe that if it wasn't for the sci-fi feats of Kubrick in 2001, the American brain trust would have offered us only audio of the so-called moon landing. It was 2001 that showed NASA how to stage a moon landing.

Excellent observation. In fact, in early 1968, Mr. Kubrick was secretly approached by NASA officials who presented him with a lucrative offer to "direct" the first three moon landings.

Initially Kubrick declined, as "2001: A Space Odyssey" was in post-production at the time, but NASA sweetened the deal by offering to allow Mr. Kubrick exclusive access to the alien artifacts and autopsy footage from the Roswell crash site.

NASA further leveraged their position by threatening to publicly reveal the heavy involvement of Mr. Kubrick's younger brother, Raul, with the American Communist Party. This would have been an intolerable embarrassment to Mr. Kubrick, especially since the release of "Dr. Strangelove".

Kubrick finally relented, and for sixteen months he and a special effects team -- led by Douglas Trumbull -- worked in a specially-built sound stage in Huntsville, Alabama, "creating" the first and second moon landings. This effort resulted in hundreds of hours of 35mm and video "footage" of the Apollo 11 and 12 moon missions.

The bogus Apollo 11 mission was masterfully staged in July of 1969. A Saturn V rocket with astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins was launched into low Earth orbit, remaining there while NASA carefully released Kubrick's studio footage to the press. After the spectacular "lunar landing" and "return to Earth," the astronauts reentered Earth's atmosphere and made a perfect splash down in the Pacific, right on schedule.

Several months later, the Apollo 12 mission was successfully staged in a similar manner.

Mr. Kubrick refused to direct the Apollo 13 mission, however, because NASA officials rejected his screenplay in which the Apollo 13 mission fails. Kubrick insisted that a dramatic failed mission from which the astronauts were safely returned to Earth would ultimately prove to be NASA's "finest hour."

NASA maintained that a failed mission would unnecessarily jeopardize the agency's image, so Kubrick quit the project. Ironically, NASA later decided to use the failed mission scenario, for which Randall Cunningham -- a little known but highly respected British director -- was recruited to direct.

Kubrick's relentless perfectionism is evident throughout the Apollo production, from the chilling "1201 alarm" during the final seconds of the Eagle's descent to the lunar surface, right down to the lunar dust covering the astronaut's EVA suites.

The production itself was not without problems, however. For example, the front-projection process -- used so successfully in the "Dawn of Man" sequences in 2001, proved to be inadequate for reproducing a convincing lunar landscape. Particularly vexing was the challenge of recreating the harsh lighting conditions and the one-sixth G environment on the Moon.

Consequently, the moon walk sequences were actually filmed on location in the Sea of Tranquility. Kubrick did not accompany the crew to the lunar site because of his well-known fear of flying. However, all of the scenes were carefully scripted in advance, and Kubrick was able to direct remotely from the Johnson Space Center in Houston -- a film making "first."

An interesting side note: Kubrick is well-known for his interest in theoretical mathematics. During breaks in the filming of the Apollo missions, Kubrick would often dabble in orbital mechanics, frequently consulting with Werner von Braun who lived in Huntsville at the time.

After several of these sessions, Kubrick inadvertently derived an elegant solution to the "free return trajectory" problem -- the very problem that prevented NASA from completing a real moon mission in the first place.

Sadly, this discovery came about far too late into the production for it be of any practical use to the engineers at NASA, and was soon forgotten.

To this day, however, Stanley Kubrick's brilliant work on the Apollo missions remains both unsurpassed and -- regrettably -- uncredited.


See also

Subtitle: 
Another Masterpiece By Stanley Kubrick
Factuality: 
SemiReal
PGG Author: 
C. Powers (lost on internet)
PGG Number: 
8S12
PGG Index: 
Kubrick, Stanley
PGG Date: 
1995/10/04
PGG Xref: 
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