THE BLACK HOLE: How Did I Not See This Film As A Kid?

I was born just in time to experience the slew of disaster films that overwhelmed the 1970’s. A small sampling of those that come to mind include AIRPORT, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, THE TOWERING INFERNO, EARTHQUAKE, THE HINDENBERG, THE SWARM, AVALANCHE, METEOR, and THE CHINA SYNDROME.


One of my earliest bonding experiences with my dad was watching a lot of these films. It was almost like a game to see as many as we could. It seems as though Hollywood spit them out faster than we could keep up. Some of them were even good—THE CHINA SYNDROME in particular stands out to this day as one of my favorite films. For most of the disaster flicks, however, lasting quality was apparently not the goal.

In the late ’70’s, disaster films gave way (and sometimes merged with) the coming of the SciFi space drama. Dad was not as interested, but I sure was. I tried to see them all. So, how did I manage to miss the SciFi space disaster drama THE BLACK HOLE? Maybe I was too young and not allowed. It was, in fact, Disney’s first PG-rated film. Parental guidance or not, maybe I was dismissive simply because it was a Disney film (I had certainly snuck into plenty of other films I was not supposed to see). But for Disney, this film is dark—or as I like to call it, Disney Dark (TM). As an adult (at least chronologically), some of the twists are shocking. As a kid, they would have been downright terrifying.

THE BLACK HOLE stars Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, Roddy McDowall, and Slim Pickens. It was directed by Gary Nelson, who will be in attendance on Sunday, December 10 at 5:35pm for a special retro screening and to accept Other Worlds Austin’s 2017 Defender of the Universe Award. He will also do a Q&A after the screening and there are many questions to ask.

The film begins with the crew of the spaceship Palomino stumbling across the lost ship U.S.S. Cygnus, hovering on the edge of an immense black hole. Once aboard, they find the ship is manned by robots—its only human inhabitant, one Dr. Hans Reinhardt; an eminent scientist, missing for the past twenty years. His plan: to enter the black bole. Whether Dr. Reinhardt is a genius or a madman, one thing is for sure: he will not be denied his life's dream. What lies beyond the Black Hole? Immortality… or oblivion?

I missed this classic film when it first hit theaters in 1979. Don’t miss your chance to see it this time on the big screen, with a great crowd and a chance to meet the director.

Here's the full lineup for #OtherWorlds2017: