The Apple (1980 film)
|Directed by||Menahem Golan|
|Screenplay by||Menahem Golan|
|Music by||Coby Recht|
|Edited by||Alain Jakubowicz|
|Distributed by||Cannon Group|
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 disco/rock opera, set in a futuristic 1994. It deals with themes of conformity versus rebellion, and makes use of Biblical allegory including the tale of Adam and Eve.
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 they 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. Alphie and Bibi 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
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
In the few reviews that appeared in trade publications and major news outlets, The Apple was generally received poor reviews that noted a lack of originality, weak script, uninspired music and poor execution. Variety gave a negative review of the film, stating that "characters and story are flimsy and seem intended as mere pegs on which to hang the musical numbers" and that "choreography generates a lot of energy, but its frantic tempo doesn't always compensate for lack of imagination." The review also commented that "technically, film is impressive, David Gurfinkel's camera work profusely using every trick in the business, every filter and lighting device, to hold attention up al all times." The Monthly Film Bulletin described The Apple as a "cut-price extravaganza plummets to a new low in opportunistic inanity" and that the "sole saving grace is an enthusiastically camp performance by Vladek Skeybal." The Ottawa Citizen described The Apple (along with Golan's earlier film The Magician of Lublin) as "remarkable feats of ineptitude".
From retrospective reviews, 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." 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.
- "Star Rock". Filmportal.de. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- "The Apple". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- Willis 1985, p. 362: "Review is of a 90 minute version viewed in Cannes on May 14, 1980"
- "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.
- Pulleine, Tim (1982). "Star-Rock". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 49 no. 576 (London: British Film Institute). p. 137.
- Labonte, Richard (November 28, 1981). "Kung Fu Film Flops". The Ottawa Citizen. p. 39.
- "The Apple Review". Slant. August 24, 2004. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- "Review: "The Apple"". TV Guide. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- 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
- 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.