Tuesday, February 18, 2014

THE BLACK HOLE (1979) Lobby Cards

Courtesy of Star Kid Paul Quinn, here is a selection of colorful lobby cards from Disney's 1979 entry in the post-Star Wars cinematic space opera wave, The Black Hole. These scans are from a set of reproductions included in the 1999 special "tin box" VHS edition of the film, released by Anchor Bay Entertainment.

This is a cool collection, because aside from the familiar "rolling meteor" shot above, and the standard aft shot of the Cygnus, there are a bunch of lesser-seen stills from the movie included in this set. Enjoy.

And, before I forget, I'd like to express my appreciation for the late Maximilian Schell, who portrayed the demented Doctor Hans Reinhardt in The Black Hole, who passed away just a few weeks ago on February 1st. The highly-respected and acclaimed Austrian actor was 83 years of age. R.I.P.

12 comments:

  1. That always struck me as strange, how the evil robot was named Maximilian.

    That had to be confusing (and weird).

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  2. My grandfather was a theatre manager, which allowed me the benefit of seeing a lot of movies for free in the era of the 1970s and 80s.

    I also got some posters and lobby cards on occasion. For some reason, the film companies would sometimes send someone to pick up all the promotional material and other times tell my Pop (my grand dad's nickname) to just throw it all away.

    I believe I had this set of lobby cards at one time. Seeing these really brings back memories. Love this blog.

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  3. These are great! Thanks for posting. I love "The Black Hole,." I know I'm in the minority when I write that, but I love the effects, the cast and the ship design. I also love how the light coming from the Cygnus seems to be illuminating the space around it. I think I also like that there is really no mistaking that this is a Disney movie. It's a science fiction movie for kids. And there's nothing wrong wtih that. I like that it has robots with southern accents and that look like they were modeled on Mickey Mouse. I live in Austin, TX and a few years ago, the Alamo Drafthouse ran a special Saturday matinee of "The Black Hole," the staff were a lot more excited than the kids in attendance, who didn't really know what to do with some of the vintage toys being given away in a raffle. Unfortunately, the print was in HORRIBLE shape and the beautiful effects and production design were all lost in the washed out picture. It was still fun to see it again so many years later on the big screen. I hope I get another chance one day - but hopefully with a new print! Thanks, again!

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    1. I don't think you're in the minority in your affection for this movie. If you go on its IMDB board it's one of the busier Sci-Fi boards on the sight. Of course it isn't as busy as Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien or Blade Runner, but it's definitely pretty up there. I envy you for being able to see it again. I wish more movie theaters would show great old movies. I think if they did than Hollywood wouldn't need to put out so many bad remakes of (usually) good films.

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  4. What a great image the Cygnus floating in space is, it really does look massive. Say what you like about the rest of it, The Black Hole has such terrific visuals, you can see where the budget went.

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  5. When Allan Dean Foster was writing the book said that the movie was visually stunning, but the science was terribly flawed and he had a hard time explaining it in a logical way while he was writing. He went on to say that he felt bad for all of the people who did the matte paintings, models and special effects because they truly were spectacular.

    Despite the movies short comings I truly believe that there is a masterpiece hidden in this movie. To this day when the Cygnus lights up for the very first time, or Dan walks down the long hallway where the crew members abandoned rooms are there is a sense dead and of awe.

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  6. In case anyone is interested, The Black Hole is currently (late Feb 2014) in rotation on Showtime's Beyond channel (and actually just starting as I type this).

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  7. I loved this movie back in the day, I still have a stack of bubblegum cards, It took me years to realize its a remake of 2,000 leagues under the sea.

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  8. It is really painful for me to watch this movie because it is so hard to believe that it came out in 1979. It feels like it is 15 years older than that. It feels pre-2001 A Space Odyssey and certainly pre-Star Wars. It's just so clunky in so many ways.

    Recently when I re-watched it I was reminded about how mis-cast it was. Whose idea was it to cast Yvette Mimieux? One of the things that often bothers me about science fiction movies is that they often use actors who are way too young for the roles. You want to think that the adults are commanding the spaceship. By that measure, Mimieux was the right age. But she never had much screen presence, and so they should have gone for a younger actress instead. They made some other mistakes in casting as well. I didn't exactly care if these people all fell down a hole or not.

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    1. I disagree with you on almost every point.

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    2. Yeah, I have to disagree with this anonymous post in it's entirety. I don't think we were watching the same movie.

      First of all, "The Black Hole" fits right into the 70's from the excellent cinematography and effects. It's actually quite a step up from the standard Disney effects of the time. And while 2001 is definitely a good movie to measure by, this movie hardly seems older than that. The set design, costumes and robot/ship design are imaginative and quite believable. And the score by John Barry is hauntingly appropriate for this type of movie.

      I think Robert Forster was fantastic as Captain Holland. You can tell that he's a veteran who knows how to handle a tough situation. He never panics and keeps his options open (while maintaining the command of his crew). His performance makes you believe that he's a good leader and wise beyond his years. Joseph Bottoms was perfect as the younger, hotheaded hero who still needs to be schooled by his captain and V.I.N.CENT. Bottoms performance gave us the action hero who's loyal to his friends and is willing to bend the rules in order to save them. Yvette Mimieux and Anthony Perkins remind us that the Palamino crew is on a scientific mission and their dueling personalities provide a superb contrast to each other. Perkin's role as Dr. Durant is one of the best performances of the movie. He's idealistic, slightly obsessive and wants to make his mark in the world. His hero-worship of Reinhardt is disturbing, because the exchanges between the two men can be creepy at times. He's like a moth to a flame and really nails the part. Mimieux's portrayal of Dr. McRae is perfect. She's a scientist with a conscience and remains cool when things spiral out of control on the Cygnus. I love her performance when she desperately tries to get Dr. Durant away from Reinhardt. She's hell-bent on saving Durant from himself and his suicidal quest for glory. She also provides a quiet romantic angle with Captain Holland. And Ernest Borgnine shines at the jovial blowhard, Harry Booth. He does a great job emulating an investigative journalist who wants to uncover the big story AND be a hero. But he's also got that tragic side where he'll sell his friends out to save his own skin. He talks big, but let's others do the work. He's not a very deep character, but with Borgnine it works -- and he also makes it look easy. And Maximilian Schell provides an incredible performance as the maniacal Dr. Reinhardt. He provides glimpses into the mind of an obsessive genius gone mad. He's arrogant, controlling and condescending (except with Dr. Durant). At times, he sounds like Einstein, until you see a bit of his sinister side peek through. And yes, it's easy to make the comparison with Captain Nemo, but the two of them are cut from the same block.

      Sure, there are issues with the science in the movie. But as we learn more about physics in the cosmos, we must forgive these flaws -- especially in a film that's 35 years old. And yes, even I have an issue where the crew goes outside to climb into the probe ship. But I'm not going to disregard a fun movie over a few little things like this. It's science fiction, not science fact. And it provides a good story with great characters that (in my opinion) have aged well. I consider it a classic.

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  9. (different Anonymous from above) I do think the cast is not quite electrifying, but they fit the roles well, and I still love the movie. When I was young this was right up there with Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. I didn't judge it as inferior. And as an adult I really appreciate the darker tone and ominous mood, which are handled so well in the film. I watch it today, and don't get why anyone would have serious issues with it. There's a lot of good stuff there!

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