Richard Nixon authorized the Apollo 13 flight lift off for the doomed "Marooned" mission... which it was launched on April 11, 1970. Thirteen days
earlier, on March 29th, 1970, Richard Nixon screened "The Stalking Moon" (1968)
in Key Biscayne, Florida. Both films starred Gregory Peck,
one of Nixon's favorite actors. Recall that Nixon screened "Marooned", back on 20th of December, 1969.
If I were to follow the academic road (read: non controversial) I would, like Boston Globe Pulitzer winning journalist Mark Feeney, I'd make a
footnote here that Nixon liked Gregory Peck and westerns, in general, and it seems fairly boring to conclude that Nixon was sitting at ease during the
screening of "The Stalking Moon".
I don't have the prestige of an academic/journalistic career to protect, so therefore, I can take these NIXON/APOLLO connections to the next level,
here amongst my ATS research buddies and the ATS general readership. Last night I screened "The Stalking Moon" (1968).
Here is my review:
This film is pure crap. There is very little "moon" in "The Stalking Moon". I saw just one shot of the moon in the sky... a big, blurry white dot
in the sky, throughout the whole film. I expected that there would be some "tie in" to the moon and the murders, but none is ever made.
The acting is awful. Gregory Peck and Eve Marie Saint are emotionless, automatons, going through the motions of a tedious script. The half breed
indian child has only one facial expression and it's not unlike a ten thousand yard stare.
The plot is so awfully drawn out on screen that you can't wait for everyone to DIE! Apparently, Peck's character takes sympathy upon the lone white
woman, Marie-Saint, and her half breed indian boy. The problem is, the boy has a psychotic Apache indian daddy who is presented in the film only as an
The daddy Apache wants his boy back and chases Peck and Marie-Saint into New Mexico where Peck's character owns a piece of land, a cow, a tiny cabin,
and mode of self sufficiency.
We never see daddy Apache very much in this movie for he is presented to the viewer as a stereotypical savage and wild killing indian, he is silent,
never seen, and in fact, his name is "Salvaje", which if you make the "L" silent, it reads "SAVAJE", or savage.
For the entire duration of the movie, "Salvaje" kills, brutally, everyone who comes into contact with Gregory Peck's character. We don't ever see
him do the killing but we see the dead bodies, covered in blood, and we see Peck's reaction to the brutality. Peck's reaction is wooden, scripted
Daddy Apache's best moment comes when he is shot three times in the belly by Gregory Peck. Nixon would have loved that moment. Other than this...
there is no plot to the movie.
Famous film critic Roger Ebert didn't like "The Stalking Moon" (1968)
when it came out, he reviewed it here:
Here is what I really think about Richard Nixon screening "The Stalking Moon"
13 days before the Apollo 13 launch date.... his screening of
this film was a death threat on Richard Nixon from Howard Hughes, via Hollywood, via Key Biscayne.
Richard Nixon, when viewing this film on March 29, 1970, would readily identify himself with the Gregory Peck character. Peck/Nixon's trying to do
the right thing (save the white woman and the half breed indian boy from the savage) but everyone who comes into contact with Nixon/Peck is
I think Nixon would have been deeply disturbed by this film, it's title, it's main character, it's main actor, it's plot and the bloody finish to
it. Later that night, after the screening, Nixon's mind would tumble around the plot and the summary of "The Stalking Moon"
. What did it
mean? "What the hell did Howard mean by that?