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Film / Doppelgänger

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Doppelgänger, known outside of Europe as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, is a 1969 British sci-fi film directed by Robert Parrish, produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons), and starring Roy Thinnes, Ian Hendry, Lynn Loring, Patrick Wynmark, Loni von Friedl, and Herbert Lom.

Set in 2069, the film concerns a joint European-NASA mission to investigate a newly-discovered planet that lies opposite Earth on the other side of the Sun. The mission ends in disaster and the death of one of the astronauts, after which his colleague comes to believe that the planet is a mirror image of Earth.


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Includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Cool Car: The futuristic-looking cars and six-wheeled jeeps used on both Earths. Some of these vehicles would re-appear in the Andersons' later series UFO.
  • Cool Plane: The VTOL-capable NASA transport with a detachable cargo pod and the EUROSEC transport resembling a futuristic B-52 with a dorsal "accordion" structure.
  • Cool Spaceship: The Phoenix interplanetary spacecraft and the Dove lifting body, not to mention the Saturn V-inspired launch vehicle, all certainly qualify as such.
  • Counter-Earth: The premise is that astronauts discover such a world that not only looks like Earth, but everything that happens on Earth also happens there, like mirror images, including the astronauts' landing. The ultimate failure of the mission hinged upon an uncertainty as to whether or not electrons would flow in the same direction on both Earths. They do, but the scientists who built the replacement spacecraft bet the other way, causing the replacement lander to not be compatible with the mother ship. Some laws of physics are still fundamental no matter which side of the mirror you're on.
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  • Exty Years from Publication: 2069 would be exactly 100 years in the future at the time of filming.
  • Human Popsicle: Ross and Kane are placed in suspended animation for their outbound journey, being revived three weeks later when they reach the counter-Earth.
  • No Ending: As the film comes to an end, when Jason Webb sees his reflection in a mirror, he rolls forward quickly, trying to touch his doppelgänger, but crashes into the mirror and dies, and then the camera cuts to zooming away from what appears to be the Sun in outer space.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Despite the story taking place in the late 21st century, there's a very 1960s look to the character's wardrobe.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Turns out it's a mirror Earth. Literally; the exact same things happen, the exact same people are there, all of the writing is just backwards. Colonel Glenn Ross is thought to have aborted his mission to the mysterious planet on the other side of the sun; instead, he's arrived on it, but since the mirror Earth sent an identical astronaut to our Earth, both Earths believe their own astronaut has chickened out and returned home. Glenn spends most of the film trying to prove he's not crazy, finds the evidence in orbit (his spacecraft with right-sided lettering- all other evidence was destroyed when his landing craft explodes), loses radio contact before he can tell anyone else of his evidence, crashes and dies immediately thereafter, and the only person who semi-believes him falls out a window to his death at the very end. Glenn is dead, never vindicated, still no one knows what the planet on the other side of the sun is, and due to the inextricable mirroring of events, this happens on both Earths.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Ross crashes the replacement lander into a parked spacecraft, killing him and causing a chain reaction that destroys most of the Space Centre and all records of his presence on the counter-Earth.
  • Technology Porn: This being a Gerry Anderson production, there's bound to be some pretty nice equipment. See Cool Car, Cool Plane, and Cool Spaceship for specific examples.


 
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The Downfall of Space Centre

Ross crashes the replacement lander into a parked spacecraft, killing him and causing a chain reaction that destroys most of the Space Centre and all records of his presence on the counter-Earth.

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