|Index||5 reviews in total|
My review cannot be taken objectively inasmuch as I wrote
produced it and directed 95% of it. This was a low budget
first released in theatres in 1972, but it has excellent photography, a
and original musical score with country legend Marty Robbins singing two
songs (offscreen). The film
was shot entirely on location in California, Arizona, New
Texas and Mexico for less than $300,000, still, "low budget" even in 1970.
Even though it was a low budget film, several years later, ORION pictures
distributed it for many years on TV,
and it got good audience reaction when first released in theatres. The
production sound mixer went on to gain five Oscar
nominations, and an assistant cameraman, Ed Begley Jr., said
never wanted to act. In spite of a good cast,I would rate
film as "fair," but not bad, especially considering the
budget. It was even a union crew. Leonard Maltin calls this
a "bomb" and describes the plot as a blackmail plot but
was no blackmail plot at all, so we know Maltin never saw
and probably relied on the inaccurate summary of some high school dropout
provide the description. It was never released
on video until early 1998 and then only in truck stops where
outsold all other recent hits by far, wherever it was displayed,
partly due to the fact that all the trucker scenes were technically
accurate, and co-star Charles Napier, in his first
PG film, actually learned to drive a tractor trailer for his
role.Sorry, folks, no gratuitous violence or sex scenes
a little teaser in the beginning, and no cursing. If I had
that Maltin would provide a completely inaccurate plot
I would have put in filthy words and stupid violence in order
elevate Moonfire to the level of all the really inane so-called
trucker movies with unbelievable plots.
As I write this, MOON FIRE's director is the only person to write about the film on IMDb. I saw it on Phoenix, Arizona television in the early 1980s, and was quite taken with it. In fact, it was shown quite regularly on broadcast TV then, and I watched it more than once. I am saddened that I have never found the film on video, nor have I ever found a recording of Marty Robbins' song, "Wheel of Life", used as the theme music for the film. My only quibble with the film is with the use of Richard Egan; he is introduced as the star at the beginning of the film, then suddenly and unexpectedly disappears until the final sequence (indicating some production problems with him, perhaps?), yet he received star billing. Overall, one of my favorite low-budget films, and one I haven't seen in 20 years, and would love to again. Michael Parkhurst, where are you?
Michael Parkhurst wrote, produced, and directed this very early example
of the "trucksploitation" genre that simply exploded during the 1970s.
His is a daffy plot; it's all over the place, involving a missile
launch, a kidnapped pilot, a Nazi hiding out in Mexico, various
(stereotypical) Mexican bad guys, and a biker gang! The late, great
character actor Charles Napier, a favorite of Russ Meyer and Jonathan
Demme, plays Robert W. Morgan, a trucker hired to transport what he's
told are aircraft parts to an undisclosed location. His traveling
companion on this quest is an "insurance policy" of a man known only as
"The Farmer" (boxing legend Sonny Liston).
I wouldn't necessarily consider this a very good movie, but its story and story threads are just interesting enough to keep one watching. It is true what people have said: the top billed Richard Egan just sort of pops in and out of the tale, despite being touted as the star attraction. Really, this is Napiers' show, and as he's shown in later 80s B pictures like "The Night Stalker" and "Deep Space", he did have what it takes to carry a film. Liston is just sort of there, not even having much of a presence. The supporting cast is solid enough: Dayton Lummis, Joaquin Martinez (who gets an "introducing" credit), Richard Bull, William Wintersole, Sandy Rosenthal.
A large part of what appeal there is, lies in the impressive rural scenery, as would be the case for any movie shot in this sort of milieu. Also, the music is great, and that opening number "Wheels of Life", sung by Marty Robbins, does get ones' hopes up that this might be pretty decent.
"Moonfire" does have two memorable scenes to offer: one of Napier using a forklift to strike back at a bad guy, and another of the destruction of a sprinkler leading to a hilariously preposterous death scene.
Six out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a pretty big Charles Napier fan and definitely a big fan of
trucking movies, but somehow I'd never heard of this gem.
I am not sure of my count per se, but I have been and IMDb member for almost 20 years, and I have seen a lot of movies over those years, perhaps a thousand or so in total, and this one ranks as one of best (yet most bizarre) movie experiences I have ever had.
I think above all Sonny Liston seriously tripped me out; especially the scene when he fights the bikers who show up for no reason and seem to sit around wondering why they are on camera.
Charles Napier killing the guy in self-defence with a fork lift tripped me out.
Just the sight of the pilot-guy with the blue tinted glasses tripped me out.
The Mexicans playing guitar and dancing like maniacs tripped me out.
The weird guys who were the billionaire's assistants (the ones wearing wigs and outrageous 70's outfits) tripped me out.
Oh yeah and what about the guy shooting the sprinkler and his bizarre ensuing death... Wow that totally tripped me out.
For some reason the whole damn thing just tripped me out completely...
For the record: I wasn't on drugs when I watched it, but I get the feeling that whoever made this thing was on so much drugs at the time that it was in production that I was tripped out by osmoses 45 years later.
Absolutely bizarre! Absolutely loved it!!
Quite erroneously, many critics believe "The Room" to be greatest, best acted, directed and thematically consistent film ever made. In fact, this credit goes to "Moonfire". How this film didn't win every category at the 1970 Academy Awards is a sad indictment of an industry which rejects films merely because no sane person would willingly sit through to completion. Adjusted for inflation, the budget of this film was the equivalent of $1.38 million US dollars. On that money, lesser films like "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" could only wrangle up a meager $24 million and an Oscar. Truly, if you are searching through a thrift store offering 20 cent films, there could be no better choice than "Moonfire".
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