Doppleganger (1969) | a.k.a. Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun – Posters : Gallery
Fifteen weeks of principal photography started at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, on 1 July 1968, ending on 16 October and running alongside filming for Joe 90. In September, location shooting in Albufeira, Portugal, had to be completed in a shorter timeframe of two weeks as opposed to a whole month when politician Marcello Caetano deposed incapacitated Prime Minister Antonio Salazar, leaving Parrish concerned that the coup d’état would cause the production of Doppelgänger to fall behind schedule. Location filming in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, used the exterior of Neptune House (now part of the BBC Elstree Studios) to double for the EUROSEC Headquarters in Portugal. Heatherden Hall (a building at Pinewood Studios) features as the nursing home that is seen to be the residence of the old Jason Webb at the end of the film.
The designers used forced perspective and metallic materials, besides other modifications to the set, to realise the EUROSEC teleconferencescene at a cost lower than that of filming with actual monitor screens.
To create the illusion of the parallel Earth — which is apparent in images such as reversed text – quickly and cheaply, the production team inverted the film negatives in an optical process known as “flop-over”. This technique saved the time and money that would otherwise needed to have been spent building sets and props with specially reversed elements, or organising road closures to film cars driving on the “wrong” side of the road. However, the scenes set in or around the parallel EUROSEC Headquarters required careful rehearsal and co-ordination with cast and crew prior to filming. The incorporation of the flop-over technique results in some continuity errors: for example, the terminals of the Heart Lung Kidney machines onboard Phoenix are initially seen connected to Ross and Kane’s left wrists, but this later changes to their right wrists.
The production staff encountered difficulties in transferring from script to screen a scene that depicts an internationalteleconference being held on high-resolution viewing monitors. Due to both the limited use of colour images at the time of production, and the need to avoid black-and-white images to honour the futuristic setting of Doppelgänger, it was decided to have the actors playing the conference delegates positioned behind the set, and have the shapes of the monitors cut out of the set wall. Silver paper reflected light from behind the actors, producing a realistic impression of high-resolution screens. Altered eyelines strengthen the audience’s perception that each delegate is facing a camera rather than the other actors in the scene, and are in different locations around the world. Archer and Hearn promote the teleconference scene as an example of how Anderson “proved once again that his productions were ahead of their time.”
In the course of the production, the creative approaches of Anderson and Parrish came into conflict. Anderson remembered that, “On two or three occasions we had to go and see Jay Kanter so he could mediate between us … [Sylvia and I] both knew how important the picture was to our careers, and we both desperately wanted to be in the big time.” In one filming session, Parrish refused to follow the shooting script, deciding that some of the scenes that had been scripted did not need to appear in the film. When Anderson reminded Parrish that this would be in breach of contract, the director announced to the cast and crew, “Hell, you heard the producer. If I don’t shoot these scenes which I don’t really want, don’t need and will cut out anyway, I’ll be in breach of contract. So what we’ll do is shoot those scenes next!”Anderson has discussed how the production of Doppelgänger presented new challenges, explaining, “I had worked for so many years employing directors to do what I told them … Suddenly I came up against a Hollywood movie director who didn’t want to play and we ended up extremely bad friends.” In his 2002 biography, Anderson stated, “The only regret I have about the Doppelgänger situation is that I hired Bob Parrish in the first place.” Of Parrish, Sylvia Anderson has said that his direction was “uninspired. We had a lot of trouble getting what we wanted from him.”
One dispute among the founders of Century 21 – Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, Reg Hill and John Read — emerged from the filming of other scenes, including one in which the character of Lise Hartman washes herself in a shower. Read, the director of photography, had complied with Parrish’s instructions to light the sequence insilhouette. Anderson, who had intended the scene to present actress Loni von Friedl in the nude, demanded a re-shoot, insisting that Read honour his obligations not just to Parrish as director but also to his Century 21 partners. According to Sylvia Anderson, “Gerry was very keen to show that he was part of the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and felt that seeing a detailed nude shot – as he visualised it – was more ‘with it’ than the more subdued version.” Anderson clashed with Read and Parrish for a second time when special effects shots of Phoenix in space were filmed with a hand-held camera: “I was furious because I knew enough about space travel to know that in a vacuum a spacecraft will travel as straight as a die … [Parrish] told me that people were not familiar with space travel and therefore they would expect to see this kind of movement.” Refusing to re-shoot the scenes on the grounds that Parrish’s instructions had precedence over Anderson’s, Read resigned from both Century 21 and the production of Doppelgänger at the behest of the Andersons and Hill. Anderson has elaborated, “Clearly John was in a difficult position. I do now understand how he must have felt, but in my heart I feel he couldn’t play a double role.”
Dove (right) exits Phoenix (left) as Ross and Kane prepare to land on the planet. In general, reception to thescale model and special effects shots has been positive, and the designs of the Phoenix and Dove spacecraft have been praised. The Doppelganger shuttle that Ross uses to return to Phoenix is identical to Dove.
The production base for special effects remained the Century 21 Studios in Slough, Berkshire, which had been prepared for shooting on the final Supermarionation series, The Secret Service. Supervising directorDerek Meddings supervised the completion of more than 200 shots, including the sequence presenting the destruction of the EUROSEC Headquarters at the end of the film. A six-foot (1.8 m) Phoenix scale model, which emulated the design of the NASA multi-stage Saturn V rocket, had to be rebuilt after igniting and almost injuring a technician. For authenticity, the effects staff mounted the Phoenix lift-off shots outdoors, in a section of the Century 21 car park, to film against a genuine sky backdrop. Archer and Hearn describe the sequence as “one of the most spectacular” of its sort produced at the Century 21 Studios. Sylvia Anderson, who believes that it is indistinguishable from a Cape Kennedy launch, comments that she is “still impressed by the magic of the effects. Technology has come a long way since the early Seventies, but Derek’s effects have endured.”
Although Century 21 had constructed a life-size Dove capsule in Slough, it could not be used for filming atPinewood Studios due to an arrangement with the National Association of Theatrical Television and Kine Employees (NATTKE) to build and use such props exclusively on-site. Once the original had been incinerated, carpenters at Pinewood rebuilt the prop, although Anderson remains disappointed with the finished product, which he considered inferior. Reviewing the scale models of Doppelgänger, Martin Anderson of the Den of Geek website describes the Phoenix command module as “beautifully ergonomic without losing too much NASA-ness”, and the Dove lander module as “a beautiful fusion of JPL gloss with classic lines”. He argues that the Phoenix launch sequence remained the finest example of Meddings’ effects until his work on the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker, and praises his efforts in light of the absence of computer animation in the 1960s.
Composer Barry Gray recorded his score, his favourite of all his musical contributions to the Anderson productions, in three days from 27 to 29 March 1969.Fifty-five musicians attended the first studio session, 44 the second and 28 the last. The track titled “Sleeping Astronauts”, which accompanies the scenes of Ross and Kane’s journey through the Solar System, features an Ondes Martenot, played by French ondiste Sylvette Allart. Archer and Hearn credit “Sleeping Astronauts” as “one of the most enchanting pieces Gray ever wrote”, and state that the soundtrack, which has not been commercially released, evokes a “traditionalHollywood feel” that is in contrast to the 2069 setting of Doppelgänger. The inspiration for the title sequence came from the theme of espionage connected to Dr Hassler: a miniature camera is seen concealed inside the character’s ocular prosthesis in what Archer and Hearn describe as an imitation of the style of 1960s James Bond films.
When production on Doppelgänger ended in October 1968, all 30 episodes of Joe 90 had been completed and the Andersons’ upcoming television series, The Secret Service, had entered pre-production. The final cut had a mediocre reception from Universal Pictures executives, leading to the postponement of the film’s release for 12 months. It received an A certificate from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) on 26 March 1969, dispelling rumours of an X rating and fulfilling the Andersons’ objective that Doppelgänger would be suitable for children if viewed with adults. To obtain an A certificate, brief cuts were made to shots of contraceptive pills, shortening the running time from the original 104 minutes.
Doppelgänger opened at the London Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square on 8 October 1969, having premiered on 27 August in the United States. On 1 November, it appeared in Detroit, Michigan, starting another round of presentations in American cinemas. The film received a disappointing box office reception on general release.
British distributors Rank released the film under its original name in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. The title Journey to the Far Side of the Sun has been adopted in the United States and Australia since Universal Pictures determined that the audiences of these countries might not understand the meaning of the term “doppelganger”. Simon Archer and Stan Nicholls, authors of Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Biography, argue that Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, which has superseded Doppelgänger as the more popular title, provides a clearer explanation of the plot, but suggest that it lacks the “intrigue and even poetic quality of Doppelgänger”.
Two prints of Doppelgänger in its original 35 mm format, for UK release, are known to exist. While the British Film Institute (BFI) retains one, the other is in the possession of Fanderson, the official fan organisation dedicated to the Gerry Anderson productions. The original prints of Doppelgänger position Ian Hendry beforeRoy Thinnes in the opening credits. In the Journey to the Far Side of the Sun format, Thinnes is billed before Hendry. Certain UK prints alter the final scene featuring the old Jason Webb with the addition of a short voice-over from Thinnes in character as Ross, who is heard speaking a line that he said to Webb earlier in the film: “Jason, we were right. There are definitely two identical planets.”
For broadcasts in the United Kingdom, Doppelgänger has been aired under the title Journey to the Far Side of the Sun and has been formatted accordingly.Transmissions have often contained inverted picture due to a mistake made in transferring an original print to videotape. Prior to a screening in the 1980s, a telecineoperator viewed the print and, being unfamiliar with the plot, concluded that the scenes set on the parallel Earth had been reversed in error. An additional “flop-over” edit restored the image to normal, which became the standard for all broadcasts but compromised the plot: if Doppelgänger is screened in this modified form, the viewer is led to conclude that the Dove crashes witnesses the parallel Ross landing on the non-parallel Earth.
Previously available in laserdisc format, Doppelgänger has been released on NTSC Region 1 DVD in both 1998 and, in a digitally-remastered presentation, in 2008. The 2008 release included PAL Region 2 for the first time, although the film is marketed as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun rather than Doppelgänger.No additional material is present on the Region 1 releases, although the Region 2 edition contains a film trailer. While the Motion Picture Association of America(MPAA) has certified the film G since its 1969 theatrical release, on its 2008 home release the BBFC re-rated Doppelgänger PG from the original A for “mild violence and language”.