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Space Is the Place (1974)

R  |   |  Sci-Fi, Music  |  November 1974 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 530 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 12 critic

Sun Ra--space-age prophet, Pharaonic jester, shaman-philosopher and avant-jazz keyboardist/bandleader--land his spaceship in Oakland, having been presumed lost in space for a few years. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Deloney ...
Candy
Sun Ra ...
Himself
Raymond Johnson ...
The Overseer (as Ray Johnson)
Erika Leder ...
Tania
Christopher Brooks ...
Jimmy Fey
La Shaa Stallings ...
Bertha
Sinthia Ayala ...
Chili Pepper
Clarence Brewer ...
Bernard
June Tyson ...
Arkestra member
Morgan Upton ...
Agent #2
Walter Burns ...
Agent #1
Tiny Parker ...
Tiny
Sam Bankhead ...
Sam
John Gilmore ...
Arkestra member
Marshall Allen ...
Arkestra member
Edit

Storyline

Sun Ra--space-age prophet, Pharaonic jester, shaman-philosopher and avant-jazz keyboardist/bandleader--land his spaceship in Oakland, having been presumed lost in space for a few years. With Black Power on the rise, Ra disembarks and proclaims himself "the alter-destiny." He holds a myth-vs reality rap session with vblack inner-city youth at a rec center, threatening "to chain you up and take you with me, like they did you in Africa" if they resist his mplea to go to outer space. He duels at cards with The Overseer, a satanic overlord, with the fate of the black race at stake. Ra wins the right to a world concert, which features great performance footage of the Arkestra. Agents sent by the Overseer attempt to assassinate Ra, but he vanishes, rescues his people, and departs in his spaceship from the exploding planet Earth. Written by Jim Newman <jnew@sirius.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Music

Certificate:

R
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Arkestra: Space Is the Place  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director 'John Coney (I)', the film utilized a sound stage that was controlled by 'Artie Mitchell' and 'Jim Mitchell (IV)', who were concurrently filming Behind the Green Door (1972). The production teams from both films shared the sound stage expenses, as well as the sound stage itself: the riser on which the Arkestra performed was also used by the Mitchell Bros. for "other purposes." See more »

Quotes

[Drunk walks into Sun Ra's employment agency]
Drunk: My man, what's happenin?
Sun Ra: Everything is happenin.
Drunk: What is this... I mean what... where am I? Who is you?
Sun Ra: I am everything, and nuthin.
Drunk: Nuthin? Well you betta tell me about this nuthin stuff, cause, uh, I need a job. I... I don't know what to do.
Sun Ra: What have you been doin lately?
Drunk: Uh huh uh, nuthin, really, nuthin.
Sun Ra: How long have you been doing nuthin?
Drunk: Quite some time. Quite some time.
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Part science fiction, part music documentary
24 August 1999 | by (Here) – See all my reviews

I can't help but think that Vxf111 is either joking, or (unfortunately) did not know who Sun Ra was before viewing the film. Yes, the film was certainly produced with a low budget, and it might not be of much interest to those who aren't fans of, or at least interested in, Sun Ra.

Sun Ra maintained that he was from Saturn, although historical documents note that he was born Herman Blount (or Poole) in Birmingham, AL. Sun Ra was a first-rate pianist, arranger, and composer, and worked with Fletcher Henderson's orchestra. He formed his own big band, the Arkestra, during the 1950s in Chicago. This ensemble was completely unlike any other big band, as it incorporated elements of Egyptian mythology, science fiction, and other exotica and esoterica (those familiar with Earth, Wind, and Fire and Parliament-Funkadelic should take note). Sun Ra was also an early proponent of electronic instruments in jazz.

The film "Space Is The Place" is part science fiction and part musical documentary. A comparison could also be made to the "blaxploitation" films of the 1970s. The story centers around Sun Ra's return to Earth after an extended absence, and focuses on his concern for the fate of humanity and African-Americans in particular. All of this is infused with his mythological outlook. This certainly makes Sun Ra an "interesting character" but he was very serious about what he did and what he said. If any of this makes you the least bit curious about Sun Ra then I would recommend the film, which is available on videocassette.


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