Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Yvette Mimieux and Anthony Perkins
THE BLACK HOLE (1979). Director: Gary Nelson.

On an exploratory trip in space, a ship discovers what at first appears to be a derelict vessel floating near a deadly black hole. But inside this huge ship, the Cygnus, the crew come across Dr. Reinhardt (Maximilian Schell of Return From the Ashes), who claims to be the only survivor. Reinhardt is determined to actually take the Cygnus inside the black hole and hopefully discover some of the secrets of the universe. Dr. Durant (Anthony Perkins) is anxious to go with Reinhardt on the trip, but psychic Dr. MacCrae (Yvette Mimieux)  and the others -- Captain Holland (Robert Forster), Lt. Pizer (Joseph Bottoms), and Harry Booth (Ernest Borgnine) -- desperately try to talk him out of it. The Black Hole features some fine scenic design and FX, but its schizoid script, tediously stretched-out climax, unfortunate comedy relief involving cute robots playing video games and the like, and a disappointing finale (reportedly the Disney studio ran out of either time, money, or both to create the Black Hole sequence in the intended manner), make this a disappointing effort to say the least. Slim Pickens [Night Gallery] and Roddy McDowall [Fright Night] voice the two overly precious robots who help the team and seem modeled on R2D2 from Star Wars. A lot more could have been made of the fact that some of Reinhardt's "robots" actually turn out to be sort-of lobotomized crew members. Some of the more exciting scenes involve an asteroid shower and a harrowing journey through a tunnel. The acting is generally good (even if Perkins is doing his usual "spooky" routine), with Schell taking top honors.

Verdict: Good idea just misses. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Yes, I agree with your review 100%, Bill, a very good cast but a not-great film. Good idea though, to jump on the sci-fi bandwagon started by Star Wars!! But I would much rather see Tony in On the Beach or Psycho and Maximilian in Judgement at Nuremberg or Julia! Whatever became of the beautiful Yvette Mimieux?

William said...

She probably retired due to getting older, and with a few exceptions, it's death in Hollywood for women of a certain age. The other films you mention are all much, much better than this.