Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
Watching this very entertaining film for the first time today, I was
curiously reminded of the screwball comedy "Start the Revolution
Without Me" made twenty years later. I didn't even remember Welles
participation in the film, which starred Gene Wilder and Donald
Sutherland, but rather the Queen's annoyance toward her husband's
obsession with clocks.
I had always wondered why Welles appeared in this zany farce directed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin. Now I'm sure he had a hand in writing the script! The antics between Marie Antoinette and the King seem to be a continuation of ideas that began with "Black Magic".
This fine Alexander Dumas classic utilizes the same plot device from "The Man in the Iron Mask". In that one Louis the XIV has a twin while Marie Antoinette has one in "Black Magic". Not only does this movie deserve a DVD release, but would be a great one to see in a theater as well.
OK, after reading a few posts, I had to include one as well. I too was
a charter watcher of space 1999, back when the 20th century was but
just 3/4 through. I was excited because the Moonbase Alpha was
obviously inspired by the Moonbase in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course
Space 1999 was no 2001, so my expectations were met with
disappointment. Early in the first Season my dad came in while
"Dragon's Domain" was airing. We both frowned when the tentacled
monster came in, seemed every bit as childish as one of those "Lost in
Space" episodes with a monster on the prowl, and my dad asked to change
the channel, arguing that that show could have been made by any idiot!
As much as I hated agreeing with with him I felt the same way, and
changed the channel to a nature program. Neither one of us were aware
that episode was directed by Charles Crichton (who died in 1999) the
man behind the British classic "The Lavender Hill Mob" in 1951 and
later "A Fish called Wanda" in 1987!
I continued to watch this show and few weeks later my dad plopped down on the couch for "The Black Sun". This time we were both deeply moved with the same awe and wonder of Kubrick's 2001. To me this type of stuff is science fiction at it's best (Everything Disney's "The Black Hole" should have been). Space 1999 was a mixed bag for me; some of the shows like the one where they became prehistoric cavemen, really sucked, while others were highly imaginative. Several episodes later my dad sat in on another viewing and after awhile, exclaimed that "it's a much more beautifully made show than that one by Desilu!" (referring to "Star Trek").
Space 1999 came out at a time when television was in an interesting era. 1975 yielded a record worst season; the most embarrassing new TV shows to premier and disappear in a single season. Many dreadful sitcoms including one set in a prison (On the Rocks) clearly revealed the desperate state of affairs the entertainment industry was in at the time. Meanwhile an offbeat show featuring never-before-imagined live comedy sketches premiered one late Saturday night and television would never be the same again!
Space 1999 was another attempt to give the audiences something new and I'm glad it lasted as long as it did. Shortly after it's American premier, Barbra Bain appeared on "The Tonight Show" and explained to Johnny Carson why this series was syndicated for broadcast on local channels rather than network television. Producer Gerry Anderson had offered it to the networks who guaranteed only 13 air dates with more to follow...........if the Nielsen ratings were high enough. With 26 episodes already in the can, the only package Gerry would consider was a full season, which the networks balked at. So the big budget show ended up on KHJ channel 9 here in Los Angeles, and after a full season, lasted another round. Some new changes included women in skirts instead the the pantsuits And lovely transmute alien Catherine Schell added some eye candy to the show. Also more humorous overtones were introduced.
Some of these episodes remain with me today, including one where they retrieve an early unmanned Earth spacecraft with the help of a scientist who had engineered the propulsion system; the notorious Quella drive, which was responsible for massive destruction and loss of life including aliens which dispatched scouts to follow and exact revenge upon the planet of origin (Earth).
Really powerful stuff this show could sometimes be! Like Saturday Night Live, and "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (another syndicated series that came a couple months later which creator Norman Lear said "The show the networks couldn't handle"), Space 1999 was part of a golden era when television was experimenting with new ideas. SNL live took the crown for television and a couple years later "Star Wars" got it for the silver screen, redefining to most what science fiction should be (in that case a western!) But Space 1999 aimed much higher IMHO, seeking out what science fiction can be!
Prior to this show I was a sometimes watcher a previous Gerry Anderson show: "U.F.O." and I really liked his feature "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun" It's too bad creatively in science fiction today is in itself a science.............of just how much money the dam thing is going to make!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Indeed it did originally air in color! I saw it way back then in 1973
it premiered as an episode of an anthology series that ABC broadcast
opposite the Tonight Show! Shot on videotape, it had the delightful crude
look of a typical cheap soap opera of that period! Yes, very early 70's
the kinky music track! I'm surprised a kinetoscope was even made of this
Back in those carefree days, all kinds of weird stuff was cranked out on videotape. I remember another episode from this short-lived series about a criminal having himself cryogenicly frozen to escape the law, very bizarre!
The Screaming Skull episode was inspired by the B flick from 1958, though the vengeful disceased wife is really the only common thread. I liked this remake for what it was, a terrific piece of kitsch video from an uncertain time, with a long war suddenly over and the president involved in wiretapping, strange things surfaced on the tube!!
A couple years later another bizarre show premiered late at night. It was Saturday Night Live! That proved to be the experiment that ended late night experimentation!
I once owned what was probably the only existing print of this
primitive sound Western. Very low budget and flimsy acting complete
with a rowdy saloon scene and cheesy dancing chorus girls galore!
The plot concerns a counterfeit operation(rather unusual)and is set in the present(1930)with automobiles as well as horses. An over reliance on inter titles to set the scenes dates this fresh from the silent era.
My ancient brittle and shrunken nitrate film clanged nervously through my projector and after just one screening, I donated the highly flammable celluloid to the American Film Institute. Probably beyond restoration, but should you wish to see this flick from long ago, check the with the AFI, maybe they got around to transferring it to videotape. My print lacked the titles and credits and maybe a scene or two. About an hour in length, this is typical of many early low-budget sound movies.