Friday, July 01, 2011

“Live fast, fight well and have a beautiful ending.”

“Live fast, fight well and have a beautiful ending.”

Posted by rhsmith on July 1, 2011

Ed here: Here's another piece from TCM's great Movie Morlocks blog. This brought back a lot of memories to me. I was about a year and a half done with drink and drugs and hitting cineplexes and drive-ins heavily to keep myself busy and clean. I'd watch virtually anything except family fare. I liked Star Wars especially because my then seven year old son loved it. But I saw a lot of the knocks-offs too and thought they were a lot more fun,


Hitting the shelves of your local department/electronics store this summer is the Roger Corman-produced BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980). The DVD/Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory is timed to mark the 30th anniversary of the film’s premiere back in the day when there was only one STAR WARS (1977) sequel. I was nearly 16 in the summer of 1977 and a bit too old for the Skywalker mythos. A generation later, I have little occasion to revisit STAR WARS or its follow-ups but I derive greater enjoyment from the low budget movies that tried, with equal measures of valor and greed, to rip it off. Be it the Kinji Fukasaku’s MESSAGE FROM SPACE (1978), Howard R. Cohen’s SPACE RAIDERS (1983) or Nick Castle’s THE LAST STARFIGHTER (1984), these lean and hungry space operas often made up with sheer personality what they lacked in budgetary girth. Such is the case with BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, which Corman shot in a disused lumber yard in Venice, California, during the rainy winter of 1979-1980. Corman’s most expensive project at that time, BATTLE was entrusted to animator Jimmy T. Murakami, employing a script by future art house director John Sayles, then known primarily for his witty screenplay for Joe Dante’s PIRANHA (1978). An unapologetic mash-up of EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and both Akira Kurosawa’s SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) and John Sturges’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960), BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS finds Shad (Richard Thomas, post-WALTONS and pre- his redefinition as a respected stage actor), the bright-eyed emissary of a planet slated for domination by the merciless interstellar despot Sador (John Saxon), heading out into space to recruit mercenaries to help the people of Akir stave off enslavement.

for the rest go here:


Hunter Shea said...

As a kid starved between Star Wars movies, I went to see this at the movie theater (a single theater with a balcony, *sigh*) that was 2 blocks from my house no less than 10 times over a 2 week period. Firt day I saw it, I stayed in the theater to watch it 3 times alone. When I got older and saw The Seven Samurai for the first time, I initially thought, hey, they ripped off Battle Beyond the Stars! Oh, I had a lot to learn.

Fred Blosser said...

I know Sayles has lots of fans among the critics, but I never cared much for his STAR WARS imitation or any of the others mentioned in the article. In fact (heresy!), I think Lucas should have left well enough alone with STAR WARS and skipped the sequels. Of course, he'd be a billion dollars poorer today if he had.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I don't remember this one at all and was a huge Star Wars geek at that time.