HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lodgers, The
Eagle vs Shark
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
   
 
Newest Articles
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
   
 
  Space is the Place Brother From Another PlanetBuy this film here.
Year: 1974
Director: John Coney
Stars: Sun Ra, Raymond Johnson, Christopher Brooks, Barbara Deloney, Erika Leder, La Shaa Stallings, Sinthia Ayala, Clarence Brewer, June Tyson, Morgan Upton, Walter Burns, Tiny Parker, Sam Bankhead, Jack Baker
Genre: Weirdo, Music
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The musician Sun Ra (as himself) has been missing on Planet Earth since 1969, but that is because he was transported off the globe by his music and onto another far off in outer space. Wandering its garden-like strange foliage, he realises this would be a perfect place to bring his black brethren away from the troubles and turmoil of Earth, somewhere to settle and start again, though he recognises that not every one of his race is suitable for this journey. One man in particular offers an obstacle: The Overseer (Raymond Johnson) who is pulling the strings in the American black community...

Sun Ra was one of the great eccentrics of twentieth century music, a jazz composer and leader of his self-styled Arkestra which would play his cosmic tunes to appreciative audiences, whether they believed his arcane pronouncements or otherwise, and to be fair his beliefs were so "out there" that many found his ideas easier to indulge than actively go along with as some kind of gospel. So there were few who truly accepted his most famous claim, that he was a being from Saturn, but his fans didn't mind as his music was so spaced out and vivid that it was possible to be transported by it should you be in the correct frame of mind, however you wished to attain that level.

But as with many a pop or rock musician, Sun Ra fancied a go at the movies to spread his message of empowerment, and Space is the Place, his most celebrated musical acheivement, was chosen to be made into a film. Unfortunately for him, working with director John Coney he wasn't too pleased with the results and took it out of Coney's hands to fashion his own shorter cut of the movie. Which is the definitive version was dependent on your thoughts about whether Sun Ra was aware what he was doing or not, and it was true the actual meaning of this was hard to grasp, as if he knew what he was on about yet was having trouble translating that to a wider audience, though whether something so esoteric could ever do that was open for debate.

Certainly the material Sun Ra objected to rendered this closer to an especially nutty blaxploitation flick with its broad depictions of its characters which had them posing as pimps or prostitutes, an attitude to race and gender which didn't appear half as progressive as you might have hoped for a film that intended to expand your consciousness. The Overseer was undoubtedly the villain of the piece, in one scene orchestrating his forces of society and the netherworld against Sun Ra, and in other taking a more hands on approach, such as the scene where his new disciple, radio presenter Jimmy Fey (Christopher Brooks, who didn't half have a strange filmography) lies comatose in a hospital room when he wakes him up by slapping his palms and offering him the services of two nurses (Barbara Deloney and Erika Leder).

Even more problematic was not just the way that everyone apart from Sun Ra was deeply inconsistent, so later on the two ex-nurses, now The Overseer's prostitutes, are beaten up by two NASA engineers visiting them in a whorehouse which did not speak to much sexual liberation, not to mention a view of NASA which was unflattering to say the least, the main beef with them being the lack of black astronauts. As if to make up for this, Sun Ra offers a way out for his fellow African Americans, but other races seem to be going along as well, confusingly; you'll note the mixed audiences in the concert footage - was he planning to leave half his fans behind because they weren't black enough? Not that the majority of his aficionados thought he was really going to a different planet, though he gets his wish at the end of the movie when he flies off in the spaceship he arrived in with his Arkestra, feeling there's nothing more to be done presumably: when you see the last scene you'd be forced to agree.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 925 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: