For some time, legendary director Stanley Kubrick has been connected to a conspiracy theory about faking the first American moon landings. In the odd documentary Room 237, one close watcher of The Shinning is convinced the director is apologizing for his involvement in the hoax with blink-and-you'll-miss-them clues embedded in the film.
And it seems the fan in Room 237 is not alone in this belief, as the director's daughter, Vivian Kubrick, took to Twitter to decry it earlier this morning.
Re: Faked Moon Landings
Many people have asked me about this. And this feels like the right time to respond … pic.twitter.com/UVlNFofFW8
— Vivian Kubrick (@ViKu1111) July 5, 2016
On the surface, the notion that the moon landing was faked would seem ludicrous. But it is the premise behind the 1977 film Capricorn One. In that film three astronauts — played by James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O.J. Simpson — are pressed into helping the United States fake a Mars landing. When their spacecraft is destroyed on reentry, the three become a threat to the government. Meanwhile, a reporter played by Elliott Gould investigates the disappearance of a friend and becomes involved in uncovering the hoax.
Curiously, the film was written and directed by Peter Hyams, who would go on to direct 2010, the sequel to Kubrick's 2001: a space odyssey. When discussing the film, he maintains he was inspired by the fact he worked for CBS at the time of the Apollo 11 landing and wondered "what if it was fake?"
Moon landing hoax theories have been around since the mid-1970s, but Kubrick's "involvement" in the supposed hoax did not gain traction until this century, though Wikipedia notes a 1995 Usenet post poking fun at moon-landing deniers as one of the first reference to theory online. Kubrick's alleged part in the fraud would also be used in a 2002 mockumentary titled Dark Side of the Moon.
The fact all of the sources for Kubrick's involvement keep coming from parodies of actual conspiracy theories is telling.
But it still served as the basis for the 2015 film Moonwalkers and another hoax perpetrated by T. Patrick Murray, who presented "footage" of Kubrick admitting to filming the Apollo 11 moon landing. Sadly, that material no longer appears to be online.
And while Vivian Kubrick may be fed up with questions about something so obviously false, it is a fascinating look at how easy it is for a legend to gain steam and overwhelm reality. In a century's time — especially if we fail to get back to the moon — the moon landings may be packaged as "A Stanley Kubrick Film."