(1963)1.5Craig ButlerBuying a foreign film, re-cutting it (with a few extra shots added here and there) and adding a substantially revised script to it is almost certainly a recipe for failure (unless you're Woody Allen and intentionally trying to be funny, as in What's Up, Tiger Lily?). Alas, Francis Ford Coppola and Roger Corman weren't really trying for laughs with Battle Beyond the Sun. Even more unfortunately, the resulting film, while bad, is not one of those bad films that provide a high quotient of unintentional comedy. For the most part, Battle is just a poor film, except for those moments when it's an incomprehensible one. Its schizophrenia is understandable, of course, given its origins, but that doesn't make it any more acceptable. Clearly, Coppola does not show any signs of his genius here; this was strictly a work-for-hire arrangement, an opportunity to get his foot in the door. Likewise, Corman's involvement is pretty minor, and there's none of the cheesy-but-irresistible quality that one finds in his better movies. The acting is poor, as are most of the special effects, but the production design itself is actually pretty good. Fans who know Coppola's major works like the back of their hands may find something of minor value here, but most people are better off skipping this one.
Roger Corman and future super director Francis Ford Coppola (using the pseudonym Thomas Colchart) are behind this sci-fi adventure of two warring hemispheres competing to be the first on Mars. Instead, they end up lost and landing in a small store where monsters (suspiciously shaped like male and female genitalia) constantly battle it out. The bulk of the scenes come from the Soviet sci-fi adventure Nebo Zovyot, which Corman had purchased a few years before. He dropped the cold-war aspects and assigned young Coppola to rewrite, edit and produce the film. The Soviet cast was given "American" names like "Edd Perry" and "Andy Stewart".