Tuesday, September 11, 2007
"It's times like this that I'm glad to be a robot."
Truer words were never spoken. The Coalition for Cinematic Conservation and Preservation - Southern California Chapter (CCCP-SCC) is the umbrella organization under whose aegis the Thrift Store Movie screenings at the the Hammer and numerous programs at The Echo Park Film Center (including Mormon Media and Wienergeist 1: The Cinema of the Hot Dog) are organized. On occasion our organization will endorse a film of not particularly ephemeral or educational nature. One such film is 'Starcrash' (original title: 'Scontri Stellari Oltre la Terza Dimensione'), a 1979 Roger Corman-produced Italian Star Wars ripoff that was found on VHS in a thrift store in Oroville.
Starring Marjoe Gortner, Hammer beauty Caroline Munro, permanently beleagured Christopher Plummer, and featuring the screen debut of David Hasselhoff, 'Starcrash' has been reissued on DVD and developed a considerable cult following, as evidenced by this dissertation on salon.com, this page featuring downloadable sound samples and stills as well as a tart but glowing review, and this over-the-top fansite. All questions of condescending "so bad its good" critiques aside, some of the visuals in this film are transcendent in their beautiousness. And I'm an art critic. (And I think I'm getting an idea for my next curatorial project... Omaggio a Armando Valcauda!)
Gortner's B-movie career was kicked off by the Oscar-winning documentary 'Marjoe' which followed the former Pentecostal child evangelist in his ambivalent attempt to reconcile his youthful experiences with his adult counterculture worldview through an awkward return to the revival tent circuit. His last role to date was as a preacher in Walter Hill's 'Wild Bill' (1995). He was briefly married to Candy Clark, on whom David Bowie vomited in 'The Man Who Fell to Earth'. Most recently Gortner has been sponsoring charity golf tournaments.
The Great John Barry - who was tricked into scoring 'Starcrash' - later reused the haunting theme music for 'Out of Africa', which earned him an Oscar. All roads lead to the Academy.