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A space age version of "Treasure Island". Instead of ships, there are spaceships, and instead of an island, there is a planet. This version also includes androids, laserweapons and skeletal remains of colossal space beasts. Anthony Quinn stars in the Long John Silver part. Written by
Ulvrik Kraft <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I recently acquired this little gem which is next-to-impossible to find over here in the United States. I wasn't prepared for a full 8 hour miniseries split up into four parts! I realize a lot of early 80's Italian films began as miniseries and were later cut down to feature length and sometime rescored for their American release, such as CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, MARCO POLO, HEARTS AND ARMOUR, and YOR THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE, but to my knowledge this film never appeared on American TV despite the top-notch cast.
Basically this flick is what you'd expect from the title and director (if you've seen any of Margheriti's early 60's space operas). Some kid ventures off into space in a ratty old spaceship with a ragtag crew of cut-throat pirates legged Long John Silver in search of a long-lost treasure on a remote planet. The film follows the original novel pretty closely though it drops a few characters and adds a few others. Mostly the outer-space twist on the whole story works to the film's detriment, with lots of silly changes like the fact that the blind man Pew's walking stick is instead a motion sensor.
As I said before, the cast is uncommonly great for such an obviously low-budget effort. Anthony Quinn stars as Long John Silver, David Warbeck is the doctor, and Phillipe Leroy is Squire Tralaney. On top of that we have Ernest Borgnine as Billy Bones, Biagio Pelligra as Pew, and among the pirates such familiar faces as Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Bobby Rhodes, Al Yamanouchi, and Sal Borgese! It's a wonder it seems no one has heard of this movie, as it really isn't that bad at all. Though at times it does feel awfully long and drawn-out, the special effects are much better than Margheriti's 60's offerings, though they range from excellent to marginally terrible. The Hispaniola spacecraft only looks about 2 feet tall in some shots and a lot of the astronauts floating in space look suspiciously like barbie dolls. The dubbing isn't too great either especially with Giovanni Lombardo Radice who's dull voice doesn't go at all with his over-the-top sleazy performance as the head mutineer. There's a wealth of impressive sets and some escapist fun (like the climactic battle in Dinosaur Valley), but too many goofy effects and weak action scenes to make it any better than so-so. I couldn't help but enjoy spending a good half a day sitting through this though. Margheriti injects a lot of the fun into this film in terms of strange camera angles, like shots from behind small objects or up at the actors from floor level. This was his second to last science fiction film, as his last would be the unfairly critically snuffed ALIEN FROM THE DEEP which he shot in the Phillipines for Franco Gaudenzi.
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