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27 August 1969 (United States)
8 October 1969 (United Kingdom)

Doppelgänger is a 1969 British science fiction film written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and Donald James, and directed by Robert Parrish. Filmed by the Andersons' production company Century 21, it stars Roy Thinnes, Ian Hendry, Lynn Loring, Loni von Friedl, and Patrick Wymark. Outside Europe, it was released as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, the title by which it is now more commonly known. 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.

Known for their Supermarionation television programmes for children such as Thunderbirds, Doppelgänger was the Andersons' first major live-action production. Initially developed as a television play, they were encouraged by their financial backer Lew Grade to pitch the project as a feature film to Jay Kanter of Universal Pictures; although unimpressed by the script, Kanter greenlit the film after Parrish was hired as director. Doppelgänger was shot between July and October 1968 at Pinewood Studios, and on location in England and Portugal. The relationship between Parrish and the Andersons became strained as filming progressed, while creative disagreements between Gerry Anderson and his business partner John Read, the film's director of photography, led to Read's dismissal from Century 21. Although the Andersons wrote adult themes into the script in an attempt to distinguish Doppelgänger from their puppet productions, cuts were needed to allow the film to be certified A by the British Board of Film Censors.

Doppelgänger premiered in August 1969 in the United States and October 1969 in the United Kingdom. It performed poorly at the box office during its initial theatrical run, but since has garnered a cult following. The film has attracted mixed reviews from critics; while the special effects and set design have been praised, some have judged the parallel Earth premise to be clichéd and uninspired. Some of the plot devices and imagery have been viewed as pastiches of other science-fiction films, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Cast members and props from the film later re-appeared during the production of the Andersons' first live-action TV series, UFO.

Storyline

The European Space Exploration Council sends two astronauts to explore a planet similar to the Earth but located on the opposite side of the sun.

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