The Apple (1980 film)
US DVD package art
|Directed by||Menahem Golan|
|Produced by||Yoram Globus
|Screenplay by||Menahem Golan|
|Story by||Coby Recht
|Starring||Catherine Mary Stewart
|Music by||Coby Recht|
|Edited by||Alain Jakubowicz|
|Distributed by||Cannon Film Distributors (theatrical)
MGM (DVD, 2004)
|1979 (West Germany)
November 21, 1980 (U.S.A.)
90 minutes (preview print)
The Apple (also called Star Rock) is a 1979 musical science fiction film starring Catherine Mary Stewart and directed by Menahem Golan. It is a discoesque rock opera-styled feature, set in a futuristic 1994, dealing with themes of conformity versus rebellion and infused with Biblical allegories (namely the tale of Adam and Eve).
The film was a low budget attempt by the young Cannon studio to capitalize on the success of music-oriented films like Saturday Night Fever and Grease. Set in America but filmed in Germany, it was released in West Germany as Star Rock in 1979. The film was critically panned and a box office bomb when given an extremely limited U.S. release in the fall of 1980 under its current title. It may have underperformed in theaters because of the waning popularity of disco music and its rather campy plotline. However, in later years the film has gone on to enjoy a small cult following.
Alphie (George Gilmour) and Bibi (Catherine Mary Stewart), two youths from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in Canada, travel to America to take part in the 1994 Worldvision Song Festival. Despite being the most talented performers, they are beaten by BIM (Boogalow International Music) and its leader, Mr. Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal), who use underhanded tactics to secure a victory. The duo are approached by Mr. Boogalow to sign to his music label, but soon discover the darker side of the music industry. Bibi is caught up in the wild lifestyle BIM offers, while Alphie risks his life to free her from the company's evil clutches. He eventually convinces her to run away with him and the pair live as hippies for a year (and produce a child) before being tracked down by Mr. Boogalow who insists Bibi owes him ten million dollars. However, the two are saved by the Rapture, and all good souls are taken away by Mr. Topps (aka God).
- Catherine Mary Stewart as Bibi
- George Gilmour as Alphie
- Grace Kennedy as Pandi
- Allan Love as Dandi
- Joss Ackland as Hippie Leader/Mr. Topps
- Vladek Sheybal as Mr. Boogalow
- Ray Shell as Shake
- Miriam Margolyes as Alphie's Landlady
- Leslie Meadows as Ashley/Dancer
- Derek Deadman as Bulldog
- Günther Notthoff as Fatdog
- Michael Logan as James
- Clem Davies as Clark James
- George S. Clinton as Joe Pittman, reporter
- Coby Recht as Jean-Louis
- Francesca Poston as Vampire, Mr. Bugalow's s Receptionist, Keyboard Player and Ashley's 'lap-mate' at Mr. Boogalow's Penthouse party
- Iris Recht as Dominique
- Finola Hughes as Dancer
- Lance Aston as Dancer
- Wendy Baldock as Dancer
- Lennie Bickely as Dancer
- Mandy Carole as Dancer
- John Chester as Dancer
- Julie Collins as Dancer
- Mary Corpe as Dancer
- Susan Daly as Dancer
- Jane Danielle as Dancer
- Kathy Evans as Dancer
- Jane Faithe as Dancer
- Bert Francis as Dancer
- Keith Lipinski as Dancer
- Marta Gillot as Dancer
- John Greaves as Dancer
- Paul Henry as Dancer
- Ken Dreiling as Papa Tim
- Beverly Kay as Dancer
- Chrissie Kendall as Dancer
- Heather Laurie as Dancer
- Scott MacKee as Dancer
- Richard Paul Majewski as Dancer (as Richard Majewski)
- Peter Newton as Dancer
- Diana Palmer as Dancer
- Richard Pettyfer as Dancer
- Andrie Reid as Dancer
- Susan Roe as Dancer
- Terry Sheppard as Dancer
- Ricardo Sibelo as Dancer
- David Tate as Dancer
- Femi Taylor as Dancer
- Gess Whitfield as Dancer
- Kevin DeBolt as Hippie #2
- Yvonne Younger as Dancer
- Todd Gerth as Floppy the gopher
The film was originally conceived as a Hebrew stage musical by composers Coby and Iris Recht, but after meeting with movie mogul Menahem Golan, the Rechts agreed to prep the story for an English-language musical film. Golan wrote the script, Coby composed the music, Iris wrote the lyrics and songwriter George S. Clinton was hired as an assistant to polish the lyrics, since the Rechts' English was minimal.
Cattle-call auditions for the film were held in London in 1979. Catherine Mary Stewart was on her way to dance class when she encountered a few classmates heading in the opposite direction to audition for the film, so she tagged along. "The director, Menahem Golan, was sitting by watching the proceedings and I noticed that he was doing that ‘frame thing’ with his hands and fingers and looking through towards ME," Stewart said. Stewart planned to perform her own songs, but having no professional singing experience, the producers decided to switch her voice. "Even though the coach I was working with thought I would be able to do the work, the producers got cold feet and hired Mary [Hylan], a professional singer, before we recorded anything."
A soundtrack album was released by Cannon Records in 1980. Versions of several songs on the album ("Coming", "Showbizness", "Master" and "Child of Love") differ substantially from those used in the film, and Joss Ackland's song "Creation" (a variation of "Universal Melody") didn't make the final cut of the movie. The album has never officially been issued on CD. Yma Sumac is often wrongly accredited with the film, as she did not appear, nor was her music used.
- "BIM" – Grace Kennedy & Allan Love
- "Universal Melody" – Mary Hylan & George Gilmour
- "Coming" – Grace Kennedy
- "I Found Me" – Grace Kennedy
- "The Apple" – Allan Love
- "Cry for Me" – Mary Hylan & George Gilmour
- "Speed" – Mary Hylan
- "Creation" – Joss Ackland
- "Where Has Love Gone?" – George Gilmour
- "Showbizness" – Vladek Sheybal & Ray Shell
- "How to Be a Master" – Vladek Sheybal, Grace Kennedy, Allan Love & Ray Shell
- "Child of Love" – Joss Ackland, Mary Hylan & George Gilmour
Eric Henderson of Slant magazine gave The Apple one star out of four and said "every song in the goddamned movie sucks" and added that the film's "relentless bad taste is sure to appeal to the same audience that won't even realize they're being slapped in the face". TV Guide stated "The Apple was clearly designed to duplicate the success of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) and failed dismally, in large part because the music is so stupendously banal... The lesson: Making a cult hit is harder than it looks." The Ottawa Citizen described The Apple (along with Golan's earlier film The Magician of Lublin) as "remarkable feats of ineptitude". Sean Burns in the Philadelphia Weekly gave the film a scathing review: "The Apple isn't just the worst disco musical ever made; it could very well be the worst movie ever made, period." Bill Gibron of DVD Verdict described The Apple as " a gamy glitterdome of outrageous kitsch passing itself off as a futuristic fable." Gibron strongly criticised the film's music, saying "Lines fail to rhyme, emotions are so spelled out that inbred invertebrates can figure out the meaning, and everything feels like it was produced by Georgio Moroder's [sic] insane brother...The Apple should be a celebration of all that is camp. Instead, it's just seriously disturbed."
In 2008 there was a mixup booking the print for a screening at L.A.'s The Silent Movie Theatre, so MGM sent over uninspected reels marked "Screening Print." Presumably this was an original preview print, as it included additional scenes that were cut out of the widely released version (including the complete Coming and Child of Love musical sequences which had been truncated in the final print), a simpler entrance for Mr. Topps at the end (instead of exiting from a Rolls Royce, he merely transforms from the previously seen hippie leader), and the closing credits were presented in a different font and layout. This version was screened a few times at The Silent Movie Theatre, and it subsequently ran at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in August 2008.
The Apple was released on a Region 1 DVD by MGM Home Video on August 24, 2004.
On April 17, 2013, the film was released as a video on demand from RiffTrax. This edition of the film features a satirical commentary done by the former stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett.
- "Behind the Scenes of The Apple Movie". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "Declaration of Menahem Golan". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "Declaration of Menahem Golan". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "Catherine Mary Stewart (Regina) - Night of the Comet Interview". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "WWTW Interview Catherine Mary Stewart -- Part 1". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "Vinnie Rattolle's: Praise the Apple!". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "The Apple Movie Filming Locations". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "SoundtrackCollector: Soundtrack Details: Apple, The". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "SunVirgin.com". Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- "The Apple Review". Slant. August 24, 2004. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- "Review: "The Apple"". TV Guide. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- Labonte, Richard (November 28, 1981). "Kung Fu Film Flops". The Ottawa Citizen. p. 39.
- Burns, Sean (July 12, 2006). "Summer Camp". Philadelphia Weekly.
- Gibron, Bill. ""The Apple" Review". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- ""The Apple": Lost Footage, Revealed". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "AUSTIN - THE APPLE - Viceland Today". Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- http://www.mst3kinfo.com/?p=15217 New VOD from RiffTrax - The Apple
- Wingrove, David. Science Fiction Film Source Book (Longman Group Limited, 1985)
- The Apple at the Internet Movie Database
- The Apple at AllMovie
- The Apple at The 80's Movie Rewind site.
- The Apple at the MGM Movie Database.