Thursday, July 08, 2010

James Cameron's Big Break


Few people know the story of how the great filmmaker James Cameron got his big break in films. But during the production of the low budget science fiction epic, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, for Roger Corman, Cameron was hired after the model maker was fired. Cameron was impressive for working a nearly sleepless schedule for weeks and using cheap materials such as spray painted McDonalds containers as parts of a spaceship interior.


The film was released in 1980 and quickly earned $11 million dollars, with a public appetite looking for more Science fiction after the huge success of the first STAR WARS episode. BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS effectively used spaceship scenes seen in at least two other science fiction films including SPACE RAIDERS.


BATTLE BEYOND THE SUN was a surprisingly good film, heavily borrowing the story from Akira Kurosawa's SEVEN SAMURAI and the western film, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. BATTLE BEYOND THE SUN was a western-styled science fiction epic of galactic hired guns banding together against a common enemy. BATTLE BEYOND THE SUN has former MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. star Robert Vaughn playing one of his toughest guy roles ever. He's a pure cold blooded gun for hire. And George Peppard plays a great space cowboy type character.


My recommendation is to rent this film, or better yet look for a DVD to own, and watch this great film over and over. James Cameron is a great filmmaker because this film gave him his big break in the industry. For such a small budget film, Cameron was able to put up an effective STARS WARS genre effort.