After spending months in a space-lab, three astronuats try in vain to fire up their engines to head home. In the face of hurricane gusts (at the launch site) and a dwindling air supply (aboard the spacecraft), NASA undertakes a daring rescue mission.
This Melodrama in space pays less attention to its special effects and hardware than to the astronauts trapped in their tin can and their wives cracking up at ground control, which is odd given that the FX are the most riveting things in the movie, winning an Oscar and putting the human contingent to shame.
Gregory Peck, Gene Hackman and Lee Grant are reliable enough in a tight spot, and the eventual involvement of the Russians in the rescue mission is an interesting move given the Cold War, but, basically, not enough happens in this two-hour plus waiting game.
Like the stranded astronauts, we are forced to sit around for too long in stale air, waiting for something to happen. An overly-long, vacuous foray into space.