Cold Equations, The

Tagged: Film

Made-for-tv film (1996). USA Pictures/Alliance Communications Corporation/Chanticleer Films. Produced by Yoram Barzilai and Jana Sue Memel. Directed by Peter Geiger. Written by Stephen Berger, Geiger and Norman Plotkin, based on "The Cold Equations" (August 1954 Astounding) by Tom Godwin. Cast includes Billy Campbell (as Bill Campbell), Poppy Montgomery and William R Moses. 92 minutes. Colour.

Sometime in the future, Lieutenant John Barton (Campbell) is piloting a rescue mission to a mining colony on a distant planet with a shipment of desperately-needed medications, when he discovers that Marilyn "Lee" Cross (Montgomery) has stowed away aboard the Spaceship, wishing to visit her colonist brother (Moses). Her added weight makes a successful landing impossible, leading to the inescapable fact that Lee will have to be ejected from the vessel due to insufficient fuel. This eventually takes place, although offscreen, and the craft lands successfully. An unnecessary twist is Barton's discovery that the supposed medications are in reality Drugs which will help the miners work more efficiently for the corporation that owns the operation.

Godwin's short story was padded considerably to meet the length requirements; the altered nature of the drugs makes The Cold Equations resemble the film Outland (1981) somewhat more than the actual short story. This story seems to work best in a 30-minute format as in its adaptation for The Twilight Zone (1985-1987). An earlier dramatization was for the UK series Out of This World (1962). [GFi]

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