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Trapped in Space

Entry updated 28 April 2021. Tagged: Film.

Film (1994). Paramount Pictures, Wilshire Court Productions, C.N.M. Entertainment Ltd. Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman. Written by John Vincent Curtis (as Arlington Hughes) and Melinda M Snodgrass, based on Arthur C Clarke's "Thirty Seconds – Thirty Days" (December 1949 Thrilling Wonder Stories; vt "Breaking Strain" in No Place Like Earth, anth 1952, ed John Carnell). Cast includes Jack Coleman, Kevin Colson, Kay Lenz, Sigrid Thornton, Jack Wagner and Craig Wasson. 87 minutes. Colour.

In this Spacesuit Film, as in the original Arthur C Clarke story, a meteor impact leaves a Spaceship with severely depleted resources of oxygen, making it impossible for the entire crew to survive their journey. Rather than follow Clarke's storyline of understated psychological interplay between two men, one of whom must die, the movie expands the crew to six people, two female, plus a dog. Captain Michael Howard (Colson) escapes in the solitary lifeboat, leaving the rest to negotiate or fight over who will survive. Some suspense is duly generated – with the audience kept guessing as to who will make it – and the performances are mostly adequate, though plausibility is somewhat lessened by the low-budget sets and special effects. Crew member Palmer (Wasson) goes on a mad, scenery-chewing rampage. Some blood flows as a spacesuit decompresses. Bodies are committed to the void.

The general scenario is long familiar from Tom Godwin's unrelenting "The Cold Equations" (August 1954 Astounding), filmed as The Cold Equations (1996). Trapped in Space eventually works its way to an anticlimactic deus ex machina in the form of a Suspended Animation chamber. [DRL]

see also: Stowaway.


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