The Catacombs Production Guide
Observations: Matter of Life and Death

Matter Of Life And Death

The Computer text is different from the dialogue: the text reads "Resources capable of sustaining human life", the dialogue heard is "Resources to sustain human life unlimited."

Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death

Eagle 1 (Parks and Bannion) lands on the launch pad with portside to the docking tube. The subsequent shot shows it docking to the starboard side. Note also in this shot (close by the front of the Eagle) that the ship is very far from the tube and has in fact landed way off the cross markings. The shot is repeated later in the episode, representing Eagle 2.

Matter Of Life And Death

Wouldn't an experienced astronaut like Koenig recognise a member of an important space mission, even if he didn't know them personally? (Subsequent episodes suggest whole missions were not widely known, so this may not be surprising).

Matter Of Life And Death

There are several close-ups of monitor screens. The reflection of Helena is deliberate; the camera on the left side isn't.

Matter Of Life And Death

In some scenes, Koenig's commlock is missing button 1. This prop was in use until Collision Course. This shot is a rehearsal: in the final episode, Helena doesn't wear her lab coat.

Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death

Koenig and Bergman look at the thermographic prints. At the end of the scene, they return to the board- where the first image has disappeared from the lightboard. Later, when Koenig and Bergman rush out after Mathias is knocked down by Lee, the first picture is back up but the second one is missing.

Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death

In this scene we see Koenig's desk is centered in the path of the Main Mission doors. In the next camera angle, showing Koenig, he is able to close the doors behind him.

Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death

In the autopsy room, Mathias and his assistant are thrown to the floor. As they fall, they knock over a medicine rack. The next shot shows the empty bed- but the medicine rack is upright and all the bottles are back in place.

Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death
Matter Of Life And Death

Koenig briefs the crew before they leave the Eagle. Paul Morrow is trying to swing a strap over his shoulder but it keeps getting caught on his elbow. Thanks to George Eichler

Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death

Just before they leave the Eagle, as Koenig walks round the camera reveals the Eagle front doors are open. Beyond, there is no access corridor or Eagle cockpit. There is a bare studio wall, with wooden planks visible. The scene cuts to a reverse camera angle showing Koenig, who then walks to open the door. As he moves, the front doors are wisely closed. The passenger module set was built on the side of M stage, so the door could open to reveal the planet surface. However, there was not room to build the cockpit or access corridor. Thanks to Marcus Lindroos.

Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death

There are many shots of the commlock screen. One close up shot, of Alan in the smoke filled Eagle, is shot on a special mockup with a much larger screen, probably because the actual 1.5"/35mm screen was too small to show the action.

Matter Of Life And Death Matter Of Life And Death

There is a long tracking shot as Koenig and Helena struggle through the storm. At one point Helena turns round, and Koenig takes her arm to pull her on. We cut to a closer tracking shot of Helena. The trees in foreground and background are the same as in the previous shot (a fruit is seen on a foreground tree in both). The movements of both actors are also the same. The second shot seems to be a second camera view of the previous, or a near-identical second take. Thanks to Andrea Gualco.

Matter Of Life And Death

The rocks that fell on Koenig roll in the wind. Stuntman Paul Weston was the stunt double for Landau for the shot. Before the stunt, he checked the rocks and found many were polystyrene covered in plaster, to give them weight. He complained to director Charlie Crichton that the stunt would be dangerous. Charlie assured him it would be safe, and to demonstrate he picked up one of the rocks and hit himself in the forehead. He staggered back, with a bleeding head. Weston was allowed to remove the plaster covered rocks and just use simple polystyrene rocks.


Copyright Martin Willey