Journey to the Far Side of the Sun 1969 ****


The late 1960’s saw the Twilight Zone twists of the popular tv show translate to the big screen; high concept sci-fi, from 2001 to Planet of the Apes was a big deal, and Gerry and Sylvia Anderson made their pitch with Doppleganger aka Journey To The Far Side of the Sun. The idea is great; a mirror image of Earth is discovered on the other wise of the sun, and astronaut Colonel Glenn Ross (Roy Thinnes) is dispatched by the European Space Exploration Council to investigate. He realises on arrival that in the mirror image world, the other Colonel Glenn Ross has just left, and resolves to return to Earth. Journey To The Far Side of the Sun has an incredibly downbeat ending, but it’s a lot of fun getting to that point, especially when Ross wakes up in the world where everything is exactly a mirror image. When shown on UK TV, some enterprising talent decided that the mirror image scenes must have been wrongly processed and reversed them for broadcast, making Robert Parish’s film something of a conundrum for the unwary. Whichever way you look at it, the support from Herbert Lom, Patrick Wymark, George Sewell and Ian Hendry is impeccable.


The Seventh Veil 1945 ***

Something of a sensation back in 1945, The Seventh Veil is a fairly straightforward drama, with new fangled psychiatry centre-stage. Ann Todd plays Francesca, a concert pianist seen attempting suicide in the opening scenes. Compton Bennett’s film then slips back in time to see her education at the hands of guardian Nicolas (James Mason), a hard taskmaster who blocks her relationships with various suitors. Francesca’s story is uncovered by psychiatrist Herbert Lom, intent on lifting the seven metaphorical veils which conceal her secret. What The Seventh Veil says about male-female relationships is probably a moot point; Nicholas pretty much dominates Francesca, and as her second cousin, he’s a strange romantic choice for her. As one of the ten most popular films ever released in the UK, The Seventh Seal owes its reputation largely to the music, and to Todd and Mason, both of whom still shine even when the mechanics creak.