Return from Witch Mountain
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|Return from Witch Mountain|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Hough|
|Produced by||Ron Miller
|Written by||Malcolm Marmorstein|
|Based on||Characters created by Alexander Key|
|Music by||Lalo Schifrin|
|Edited by||Bob Bring|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
Return from Witch Mountain is a 1978 American science fiction–adventure film and a sequel to Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) produced by Walt Disney Productions. It was written by Malcolm Marmorstein and is based on the novel by Alexander Key. Ike Eisenmann, Kim Richards, and Denver Pyle reprise their roles as Tony, Tia, and Uncle Bené—humanoid extraterrestrials with special powers including telepathy and telekinesis. The two main villains are played by Bette Davis as Letha Wedge, a greedy woman using the last of her money to finance the scientific experiments of Dr. Victor Gannon, played by Christopher Lee.
In September 1978, the film was re-released to theaters on a double bill with Escape to Witch Mountain.
Having spent a good deal of time enjoying the company of their newfound family and friends at Witch Mountain and intensively studying and practicing their supernatural powers, Tony and his sister Tia are in need of a vacation. Uncle Bené drops them off in their flying saucer at the Rose Bowl stadium in Los Angeles, California, after which the siblings quickly become separated from each other. A man named Dr. Victor Gannon (Lee) and his assistant Letha Wedge (Davis) happen to see Tony using his powers to save their henchman from certain death. Realizing that Tony has supernatural powers, Dr. Gannon drugs the boy with a tranquilizer shot and takes him back to their laboratory. There, Dr. Gannon successfully tests a new mind-control technology on him. Under its influence, Tony is completely hypnotized and does everything that his kidnappers want him to do, including stealing gold from a museum exhibit and stopping Tia from finding them. With Tony at his robotic bidding, Dr. Gannon hopes to achieve recognition within the scientific community and worldwide power, while Letha merely wants a return on her investment.
Tia uses her telepathic powers to locate Tony. She gets additional help from a group of would-be toughs whom she comes across, called the Earthquake Gang, and a hapless truant officer Mr. Yokomoto—whom the toughs call "Yo-Yo"—to find her brother, and foil the villains' nefarious plans.
The otherwise vacant lot, upon which the children's dilapidated hideout mansion stands, was at the Alameda Street railroad yard in California, where the Rochester House (a relic from 1880s) was waiting for restoration and relocation. The house however was never restored and ultimately demolished in 1979.
Scenes of Dr. Victor Gannon's mansion, the location of his laboratory, were filmed at Moby Castle on Durand Drive, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.
The gold-bar robbery sequence was filmed at the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, Los Angeles. The building facing the Park's Rose Garden was used for exterior shots of the museum. The scene in which Yokomoto's van is overturned and breaks a fire-hydrant was filmed near the Sunset Boulevard bridge and Glendale Boulevard underpass intersection, in the Echo Park district.
- Bette Davis as Letha Wedge
- Christopher Lee as Dr. Victor Gannon
- Kim Richards as Tia Malone
- Ike Eisenmann as Tony Malone
- Jack Soo as Mr. "Yo-Yo" Yokomoto
- Anthony James as Sickle
- Richard Bakalyan as Eddie
- Ward Costello as Mr. Clearcole
- Christian Juttner as Dazzler
- Brad Savage as Muscles
- Poindexter as Crusher
- Jeffrey Jacquet as Rocky
- Stu Gilliam as Dolan
- William Bassett as Operations officer
- Tom Scott as Monitor
- Helene Winston as Dowager
- Albert Able as Engineer
- Denver Pyle as Uncle Bene
- Brian Part, Pierre Daniel as Goons
- Wally Brooks as Taxi fare
- Mel Gold as Security guard
- Bob Yothers as Cop
- Casse Jaeger as School patrolman
- Larry Mamorstein as Guard
- Bob James as Gate guard
- Ruth Warshawsky as Lady in car
- Adam Anderson as Man in museum
- Rosemary Lord as Woman in museum
- Ted Noose as Policeman
- Wally Berns as Man in car
Actors Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann appear in at least four films together—this one, the original 1975 Disney film Escape to Witch Mountain, and the television film Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell. Richards portrays the roadside waitress and Eisenmann portrays the Sheriff in a re-imagined remake of the original film, Race to Witch Mountain, released in March 2009.
Jack Soo (Mr. "Yo-Yo" Yokomoto) was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the autumn of 1978, several months after the film's release. Return from Witch Mountain would be his final movie appearance, as he died the following January.
Return from Witch Mountain was released on VHS on June 25, 1986. It was first released as a Special Edition DVD in Region 1 on September 2, 2003, re-released on DVD in a two-movie collection along with Escape to Witch Mountain on September 5, 2006, and re-released as part of the Walt Disney Family Classics line on March 10, 2009.
On October 13, 2015, Return from Witch Mountain was released on Blu-ray Disc as a Disney Movie Club exclusive title.
- Bariscale, Floyd B. (April 5, 2007). "No. 11 - West Temple Apartments (The Rochester)". Big Orange Landmarks. Retrieved June 25, 2016.