The Black Hole (1979) Movie Review

Director: Gary Nelson

Writer: Jeb Rosebrook, Gerry Day (Screenplay) Jeb Rosebrook, Bob Barbash, Richard H Landau (Story)

Starring: Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine

Plot: A research vessel finds a missing ship, commanded by a mysterious scientist, on the edge of a black hole.

Tagline – There is an inexorable force in the cosmos, a place where time and space converge. A place beyond man’s vision…but not beyond his reach.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sci-Fi 101

Story: The Black Hole starts with an interstellar research vessel travelling through space with Dr Alex Durant (Perkins), Captain Dan Holland (Forster), LT Charles Pizer (Bottoms), Dr Kate McCrae (Mimieux), Harry Booth (Borgnine) along with their robot Vincent, the crew discover a black hole, with a vessel sitting in what looks like a dangerous location which would see them under threat.

When the crew board the ship they learn that Dr Hans Reinhardt (Schell) has been living alone on the vessel with his army of robots as he has made history with his discovery, but not everything seems right on board the vessel.

Thoughts on The Black Hole

Characters – Dr Hans Reinhardt has been living on this ship alone for years, he has perfected energy harvesting which could help Earth, but has spent his time waiting on the edge of a black hole for somebody to find him, so he can continue to build his army and have witnesses to his desire to travel through one, he is welcoming to guest, while he speech could make him come off like a cult leader, always looking to recruit. Dr Alex Durant is one of the crew that is willing to listen to science over anything else, he quickly starts to see the positives in Hans’ plan looking to accept the idea he has created hoping to remain with him on the ship. Captain Dan Holland is quick to start looking around the ship, learning things aren’t always what they seem, he does what he can to make it look like the crew are following the instructions, but is always looking for the quickest way to safely get his crew off the ship. Charles Pizer is the weapons expert, he isn’t afraid to run into a battle, but he could find himself getting in trouble more often than not. Dr Kate McCrae has seen her father vanish off this ship, she has a connection with the robot which makes her valuable when it comes to dealing with situations that arise. Harry Booth is the engineer who has been worried about everything on board for too long, now he will cause the panic when he doesn’t need to. Vincent is the robot that is always going to help his crew, he isn’t scared of getting into confrontation.

PerformancesMaximilian Schell in the lead villainous role does help us believe he can control people on everything in his genius mind. Anthony Perkins does well making see how easily somebody can turn to believe everything. Robert Forster does make for a great captain through the film, while the rest of the cast all work well with each other.

StoryThe story here follows a research space travelling crew that discover a block hole and a ship on the edge, only to learn that the man living on the ship is the only one on the ship and he has bigger plans for his genius idea. This is a story that plays into the ideas of space travel that could see a black hole being one of the biggest problems. We see how one person could become made with power and how other could be torn between following him or escaping from him, leading to the crew needing to try and escape before they become his latest victims. This is one that could be something truly special and for the time it most likely was, but we have seen it done so many times through the years and is much better.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is typical sci-fi action, we have laser guns, explosions and destruction on the ship, it isn’t anything overly fancy, but does what it needs to.

SettingsThe film is set on the spaceship which shows the wide corridors and rooms that would be important to long distance space travel.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film would have been great for the time, while some of the effects might have dated, they still get the peril over when the meteor strikes.

Scene of the Movie – The Meteor roll.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Harry’s decision.

Final Thoughts This is a sci-fi film that could have been the first of its type, it opened us up to an idea that could be faced by many if they went into space one day, even if the story seems to have been used a lot more in the future.

Overall: Ground Breaking Sci-Fi.

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