Cinema: One-Half

The men who made Marooned raised a disturbing and fascinating problem: How can stranded astronauts be rescued in space? During the first half of their space saga, they exploit the mental —and national—tensions implicit in the plausible nightmare. Since the hardware and space-shot techniques resemble the real thing as seen on TV, there is an aura of verisimilitude about the mission. But the project is scrubbed after a disturbing word is flashed onscreen: Intermission. After that, Marooned rates about one-half out of a possible 2001.

Three astronauts, Pruett (Richard Crenna), Stone (James Franciscus) and Lloyd (Gene Hackman), have been in orbit for...

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