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The Black Hole, 1979 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on July 7, 2009

Director: Gary Nelson
Starring: Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, Roddy McDowall, Slim Pickens
Running Time: 98 minutes

Another great review by the mighty Paul S

Well, it was a quiet Sunday for me for once. All house tasks done, breakfast at 2 (full English of course) and I was reviewing the glossy TV guide. That’s where i saw it, jumping out of the page in bold News-Of-The-World-glossymag font – The Black Hole, Channel 5 (who’d of thought it eh? five channels!), 15:35. OK then I thought, washing nearly finished I can make this.

But those that have seen the film will understand when I say my first thought was Maximilian. What a scary robot that was! I went to the pictures to see this. I understand it’s a Disney production so we went as a family to watch it. I definitely fell asleep. My older brother on the other hand stayed awake, ‘cos he had Maximilian as a trading card, whereas I had Oscar.

Anyway, the plot. Well, bit intense for a kids film. It’s about a doctor that robbed a spaceship, gave out a distress signal, watched all the crew die, replaced them with robots, and hung around the edge of a black hole with a hard red robot for company. Oh, and also went a bit mad.

If I remember correctly (it was 3 wks ago man) a crew had to stop there for refueling/repairs and found the doctor. (on an aside, Im sure it’s the same fella that played Hans Zarkov in Flash Gordon, can LFF work their wonder here? – Nope it’s not that dude. In this one the mad scientist was played by Maximilian Schell and Hans Zarkov was played by Topol – LFF) with his robot staff. Oh that’s it! He converted them into cyborg people to sustain their life.

Now Disney thought they could jump on the Star Wars newly-opened genre with this, but forgot that kids like explosions and fighters, laser beams and hyperspace! all this gave us was a trippy 10 min sequence when they entered the black hole. it was like 2001 for kids!

That aside, watching it as an adult on a Sunday with a beer and nice cigarettes (ahem) it was a different matter. I understood what the doctor was on about! The tension between them, the ‘accidental’ death (still a bit graphic for a kids movie), the token hot scientist. Visually it fine, but its more of a dialogue film, really well written to be honest. Kinda like Reservoir Dogs in space!

I haven’t given it the justice it deserves here, I know. So re-watch it and post your response. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

As a kid – 4/10
Re-watch as adult – 8/10

A hidden gem
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