The Groundstar Conspiracy (1972)

Article 2081 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-26-2006
Posting Date: 4-24-2007
Directed by Lamont Johnson
Featuring George Peppard, Michael Sarrazin, Christine Belford

The only survivor of an explosion in a secret government installation is a man known to be a spy now suffering from amnesia. A government agent vows to get the truth out of him, and then decides to let him escape in order to use him for bait to catch the people behind him.

This movie put me off initially; the direction is rather uninvolving, the acting is uneven, and the dialogue is sometimes quite awful. However, there’s an excellent story in the center, and once the story gets moving, the movie’s problems take a back seat and the ride becomes quite enjoyable. The first three-quarters of the movie works in a pretty standard thriller mode, but the last quarter takes some very interesting twists and ends with a memorable showdown between the two stars, George Peppard and Michael Sarrazin. The movie starts out as borderline science fiction (we never really know what was being worked on at Groundstar), but it veers much closer once we learn the twists in the final quarter of the movie. I can’t go into detail without giving away the end of the movie, but suffice it to say that it involves medical techniques that most likely didn’t exist at the time. The movie also deals with a theme that is quite topical indeed; to what lengths should the government be allowed to go to protect itself?



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