The Black Hole

Year: 1979

Production: Walt Disney

Director: Gary Nelson

Starring: Maxmilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine

Screenwriter: Jeb Rosebrook, Gerry Day

Based on a story by Jeb Rosebrook, Bob Barbash, and Richard Landau. Novelization (1979) by Alan Dean Foster

98 minutes; Color

The disappointment of its year in sf movies, this was a ludicrous though expensive reprise in space of Disney's 20000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954). Astronauts enter a derelict survey vessel orbiting a black hole (painted red so that we can see it better); they find a Captain-Nemo-like figure (Schell) served by a killer-robor and android henchmen, who turn out to be the original crew evilly transformed by the mad scientist. His desire is to venture within the hole. After adventures involving two post-Star Wars cute robots and a strike by a meteor (although the size of a house, it fails to bring about the decompression of the spacecraft), all enter the hole, which appears to Schell like Dante Alighieri's Inferno and to the good guys like a kitschy cathedral. The screenwriters, who appear to have no knowledge of science even to primary-school level, give all the fanatical oratory to Schell, leaving the remainder of the cast quite wooden.

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