Monday, August 23, 2010

THE BLACK HOLE (1979) Theatrical Posters

It's probably obvious that Disney's The Black Hole is one of my favorite science fiction movies of the 1970s. There's so much about it that I love - the production design, the amazing miniature effects, the robots, the cast, John Barry's marvelous score - and all of these cool posters!

Don't get me wrong - the movie isn't perfect, and I'm not blind to its flaws, but man, it's just so much fun, and a great example of the genre as it existed in the late 70s, with its strange mix of heady pseudo-philosophy, frequently dark tone and Star Wars-inspired 'bots and laser battles. I'll definitely be writing a lot more about this movie as time goes on.


  1. The first half of the movie is amazing and the second, well, let's just say it descends into it's own black hole of scifi cheese. It's really striking how the tone of the film so abruptly switches.

  2. I have a soft spot for this movie as well. Before I even saw it, I had the comic book/storybook tie in that had a different ending than the movie. (I think you mentioned it on a previous entry).

  3. I LOVE this movie and I of course have it on DVD. I don't find it cheesy at all, OK maybe the design of V.I.N.C.E.N.T. the robot was a bit too comic relief for my tastes but it does not detract from the movie. I look forward to more posts on this overlooked SF gem. There's so much to love: the design of the Cygnus spacecraft, the creepy score, that whacked out ending (he's in freakin' HELL!) and so much more.

  4. There's way more good than bad in this film. Call me crazy, but I think it's held up pretty well.

    The posters are cool, really conveying a sense of majesty and epic scale, with the power of the black hole being palpable when you look at it. They don't really do movie art like this anymore, and it's a shame.

  5. there were some rumors years ago about a special edition on Laserdisc that never came. What a Shame, I love this movie too.

    here is the list of the extras
    •Theatrical teaser.
    •Theatrical trailer. (an "extended" version appeared on the DVD)
    •Two deleted scenes (not restored within the movie).
    •An alternate ending.
    •Behind-the-scenes making of feature, with 1979 interviews with the likes of Anthony Perkins, Maximilian Schell, Ernest Borgnine, Yvette Mimieux and director Gary Nelson.
    •Publicity and promotional materials.
    •Storyboards and conceptual drawings and paintings.
    •Merchandising materials
    •A look at the special effects process.
    •Articles focusing on the controversy surrounding this, Disney's first "PG"-rated film.

    The making of feature would have been the 1979 "Disneyland" episode "Black Holes: Monsters That Eat Space and Time".

  6. Well, if the rumored remake by the guys who made TRON LEGACY ever goes into production, maybe we'll actually get a remastered Blu-Ray disc of THE BLACK HOLE with special features....

  7. It would have been a good cross of Forbidden Planet and 20,000 leagues under the sea hard-scifi if it hadn't gone campy with the robots.

    The movie just doesn't know whether it wants to be serious or a kid's flick. I mean, one moment Max is scrambling Norman Bates' guts and the next moment the robots are hamming it up.

    So it's really just the writing that sabotaged the film. It has a distinct production design, good music, and serviceable performances.

  8. The film's schizophrenia is reflective of the time at Disney Studios during which it was produced, and, for me, it's a large part of its appeal.

  9. The movie is basically 20000 leagues under sea. It isn't a really a good movie but unlike star wars, star trek or BSG Space really needs to be expolerd. It has a Jules Vernes naivety and adventure, at least in the beginning of the movie (the Palomino's encounter with the Cygnus). None of the performances were memorable I think. The special effects still look great, they were done without motion control. I like the late seventies robots.

  10. COOL MOVIE without the 21st century crap of today..LOL!

  11. Sorry for the late comment on an old post, but I wanted to respond to this:

    "It would have been a good cross of Forbidden Planet and 20,000 leagues under the sea hard-scifi if it hadn't gone campy with the robots."

    Given the campiness (Firefox's spell checker says that's not a word, but I disagree) of Forbidden Planet - Robby the Robot fabricating a boat-load of gin for the cook? - I'd say Black Hole was right on par with that film.

    Black Hole is one of my all-time favorites, and I don't see the uneven nature people allude to - life can have its funny and cheesy moments, even in times of stress. And once things turned really serious for the crew of the Palomino, the comedy/camp vanished, as one would expect. It all seemed fairly natural to me. The only thing that ever seemed out of place to me was the heavy-handed Christian symbolism at the very end. YMMV, of course.

  12. There is much to like about The Black Hole: John Barry's underrated score (I had the LP years ago and I'd love to find a CD copy), the design of the Cygnus, and the variety of robot designs. On the other hand, you have a heavyweight cast that deserved better developed characters to play, an eye-rolling climax which crossbreeds the Star Gate sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey with the "Ave Maria" finale from Fantasia, and a script which (like too many big-money sci-fi films then and now)lags behind the special effects.

  13. Hey, love the blog - just wanted to chime in here and say i have a soft spot for The Black Hole too - not much to add to what most people have written except I wrote a blog post on the movie and made a recut of some of the film with my own music - check it out..

    cheers, simotron

  14. An excellent film all in all, and one of my all time favorites. I love how dark it actually is, with Max scrambling Perkins and a murdered zombie crew in a DISNEY movie. The score is beautiful and the sets and design is outstanding. The ball robots are designed to appeal to kids and are forerunners of BB8...which is a good thing. Maximillian is hands down the most sinister bot in movie history...and one of the coolest. This new generation is too cynical and had been programmed to love violence over wonder.They will miss a lot, including this movie. The end is wondrous and thought provoking. What exists in between as it were? And how much of any of it is real or in the mind? The unremarkable armchair intellectuals cry foul of the spiritual ideas at the end, but anyone with a real education will recognize the archtypes. It is such a fun film and so much better than the legions of mindless Marvel CGI on the conveyor belt. Interestingly, the deep red Style D poster is very modern in design with the floating heads. All of the posters are excellent, which you will only rarely see today.