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The Black Hole

November 14, 2015

TBHThe Black Hole is by no means a great film; in fact, it’s not even a good film, but it’s fun, and for the contrast of ambition and target audience, not to mention John Barry’s epic score (and- an overture which reminds me of a sadly missed element of going to the movies), it’s definitely worth seeking out. A good film with which to begin a life-long pilgrimage into cinema. Gareth Higgins p. xxii

Ok so it WAS 1979 but even back then we knew enough physics to know that this film is impossible – you don’t retreat from black hole but get sucked in while time slows down to virtually nothing.

Some science-fiction writers suggest that black holes are tunnels in space, and that if we fell into one we might emerge (a bit scorched, perhaps) from a “white hole” some. where else in the universe. Because black holes are “singularities” that do not correspond to models of the universe constructed by Einstein or anybody else, they’ve also inspired wonderfully apocalyptic notions. My favorite is that they’re intergalactic bathtub drains, and that we’ll all whirl down them some day and turn up in the sewer system of the universe next door.

Supposedly it is now the year 2130. The robots talk like humans and even depart from their pre-programmed words, showing some personality. But they look like Henry the Hoover. (The character of V.I.N.CENT. was originally to have more elaborate electronic eyes (based on electronic stock ticker-type billboards), which would have given him a greater range of facial expressions. Unfortunately, the electro-mechanical eyes simply didn’t work properly and the effect was abandoned at the beginning of principal photography.)

Once the meteorite crashes into the Cygnus, the Palomino crew should have been killed within seconds due to loss of oxygen. However, they survive for several minutes and are even seen scrambling out into the vacuum of space to board the probe ship without any protective suits.

They think they’re going to hell but seem to end up in heaven.

The visual effect of the black hole itself was created by forming a whirlpool in a round Plexiglas water tank, and adding different colors of paint.

Dr. Reinhardt’s dying words, “more light,” were supposedly Goethe’s final words as well.

TBH 2Dr. Hans Reinhardt: The word “impossible”, Mr. Booth, is only found in the dictionary of fools.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: We’d be better off without you and Maximilian trying to knock heads.

V.I.N.CENT: I can handle that thing.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Well, far be it from you to admit there isn’t anything you can’t handle.

V.I.N.CENT: There are three basic types, Mr. Pizer: the Wills, the Won’ts, and the Can’ts. The Wills accomplish everything, the Won’ts oppose everything, and the Can’ts won’t try anything.

Captain Dan Holland: Well, do us all a favor, V.I.N.CENT, and try to be a Can’t, especially where that monster is concerned. We need you, not another corkscrew.

V.I.N.CENT: To quote Cicero: rashness is the characteristic of youth, prudence that of mellowed age, and discretion the better part of valor.

Kate McCrae: [to Reinhardt] If there’s any justice at all, the black hole will be your grave!

V.I.N.CENT: A wolf remains a wolf, even if it has not eaten your sheep.

Captain Dan Holland: The controls aren’t responding.

V.I.N.CENT: Captain, the ship has been programmed!

Captain Dan Holland: [resigned] To Reinhardt’s course!

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: [shocked] You mean we’re going into the black hole?

Captain Dan Holland: [confirmed] Yup.

Kate McCrae: Let’s pray he was a genius!

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: You know what they say, Vincent, all work and no play…

V.I.N.CENT: All sunshine makes a desert, so the Arabs say.

V.I.N.CENT: We have to go!

B.O.B.: Nope, I can’t make it! My main circuits are gone, my anti-grav-systems blown, and both backup systems are failing.

V.I.N.CENT: You *can* make it!

B.O.B.: It’s no use, V.I.N.CENT! My useful days are finished! But part of me goes with ya. You’ll never be obsolete. [starts to shut down] Carry on the tradition. We’re the best… [shuts down and falls back V.I.N.CENT’s eyes slowly look down at his comrade in arms, then turns towards the probe ship, turning his head backwards to look at B.O.B. once more as he leaves]

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Dan, I’m sorry I blew my stack.

Captain Dan Holland: It’s all right Charlie, I think we all have a soft spot for the little guy.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Yeah.

V.I.N.CENT: [the little robot enters the Parts Storage warehouse on the Cygnus. Old B.O.B. floats in one of the corners and comes out upon V.I.N.CENT’s entry]

B.O.B.: My name’s B.O.B., Bio-Sanitation Batallion. I couldn’t talk freely before, but I have a whole lot to tell ya. If Maximilian knew you were here, it would be the end for the both of us.

V.I.N.CENT: Can you permanently re-arm my lasers?

B.O.B.: Yeah, I can. V.I.N.CENT, you and your friends are in grave danger. Reinhardt only turned the lights on to prevent any damage to the Cygnus. This is a death ship.

V.I.N.CENTB.O.B.: [the two robots float in the hospital, to observe drones being programmed. Two rotating turntables are seen, with cavity cut-outs in the shape of humanoid forms on each turntable, which rotate under a 5-point triangular beam and focus on the cranial area of each cutout] These poor creatures are what’s left of the crew. Kept alive by means I don’t pretend to understand.

V.I.N.CENT: Humans?

B.O.B.: They’re more robot than human. Let’s get out of here before we’re discovered.

V.I.N.CENT: [the hospital door opens to reveal two armed sentry droids] Too late! Watch it! [a firefight ensues. V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B. manage to destroy both droids] Think there are any more?

B.O.B.: All clear. Let’s get rid of the evidence.

V.I.N.CENT: [the two robots put the remains of the sentry droids behind the control console table] How long before they’ll start searching for these two?

B.O.B.: It depends on their duty schedule. It could be anytime.

V.I.N.CENT: Then we’ll have to move fast.

Dr. Hans Reinhardt: Some cause must have created all this, but what caused that cause?

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: V.I.N.CENT, were you programmed to bug me?

V.I.N.CENT: No, sir, to educate you.

Dr. Hans Reinhardt: In, through… and beyond.

Kate McCrae: Alex, I will not have you throw your life away for this!

Dr. Alex Durant: He can do it, Kate. I know he can.

Kate McCrae: Oh, God, Alex!

Dr. Alex Durant: There’s an entirely different universe beyond that black hole. A point where time and space as we know it no longer exists. We will be the first to see it, to explore it, to experience it!

[Inside the Palomino] Harry Booth: Damn it all, Dan! If we wait for Alex, we may be too late! Don’t you see? He’s hypnotized by that man!

Captain Dan Holland: V.I.N.CENT!

V.I.N.CENT: Yes, Captain?

Captain Dan Holland: Tell Kate I want her back here fast, with or without Alex. Tell her why.

[after first seeing the black hole] Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Every time I see one of those things I expect to spot some guy dressed in red with horns and a pitchfork.

Captain Dan Holland: It’s a monster, all right.

V.I.N.CENT: A rip in the very fabric of space and time.

[V.I.N.CENT’s tether breaks while repairing the ship]

Kate McCrae: Dan, the tether’s broken!

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: I’m going after him!

Captain Dan Holland: Stay at your post, Charlie.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: What the hell are you made of? What if it was one of us out there?

Captain Dan Holland: V.I.N.CENT is one of us.

Harry Booth: If Reinhart has anti-gravity strong enough to hold us here, I figure he’s got enough to pull away.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: So?

Harry Booth: So? So why not take this ship and Reinhart back home?

Captain Dan Holland: That’s a long shot you’re talking, Harry.

Harry Booth: Oh, come on! You’ve got two scientific wizards here who could figure out the computers and possibly even reprogram the robots. And the three of us can handle Reinhart and that pet monster of his. I tell ya… we could all be heroes.

Captain Dan Holland: We could also be dead.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: When I volunteered for this mission, I never thought I’d end up playing straight man to a tin can.

[as Captain S.T.A.R moves toward B.O.B] B.O.B.: Oh, Lordy, he wants a rematch!

V.I.N.CENT: As an old war hero once said, “Damn the torpedos! full speed ahead!”

B.O.B.: He also said something about going in harm’s way.

Captain Dan Holland: It’s only dinner.

V.I.N.CENT: Said the spider to the fly.

V.I.N.CENT: I don’t mean to sound superior, but I hate the company of robots.

Harry Booth: No sense leaving the story of a lifetime untold, Captain.

Captain Dan Holland: I’m afraid there is, Harry. [pointing to the black hole] And it’s staring straight at us right now.

V.I.N.CENT: A pint can not hold a quart, Mr. Pizer. If it holds the pint. it’s doing the best it can.

B.O.B.: [after helping to defeat the sentry robots] First fighting I’ve done in thirty years! I just wish it’d been Reinhardt and Maximilian out there!

Dr. Hans Reinhardt: [after watching the defeat of the sentry robots, Reinhardt turns to Maxililian] Your crack unit, outwitted and outfought by some Earth robot, and that antique from Storage! [slaps himself three times on the forehead]

Dr. Hans Reinhardt: Maximilian, the time has come to liquidate our guests.

V.I.N.CENT: If one dances, one must pay the piper. [S.T.A.R collapses onto the floor] If there’s one thing I *cannot* stand, it’s a sore loser!

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: [Saluting a sentry robot] As you were! [the robot turns to look at Pizer]

[Reinhardt contacts the Palamino to tell Holland that Alex and Kate have elected to remain aboard the Cygnus] V.I.N.CENT: Captain! Dr. Durant is dead! Maximillian killed him! They’re taking Dr. Kate to the Hospital!

Captain Dan Holland: [heading for the exit] V.I.N.CENT, get Old B.O.B. to show us the quickest way there!

Dr. Hans Reinhardt: [the overhead screen falls down on Reinhardt, pinning him to a table] Ohhhhhh! Ah, ah! Maximilian!

Maximilian: [turns his head as the elevator door closes]

Dr. Hans Reinhardt: Help me! Help me! [shouts to the sentrys around the command consoles] Fools! Listen to me! Listen to me! Help! Help, help, help!

Captain Dan Holland: [sees the drones fire something out into space towards the black hole, then turns quickly around as the door behind him opens to reveal Maximilian] Hmph. Must have taken a wrong turn, Max.

Maximilian: [the giant robot turns his head to watch Holland leave, then back to the assembly. His vision display pulsates intensely]

Captain Dan Holland: Kate, either there’s something wrong with our communications, or there’s too much interference from the outside. See if you can get through to V.I.N.CENT with your ESP.

Kate McCrae: [gets a distant look in her eyes as she communicates telepathically. The camera pans to V.I.N.CENT outside the ship, his head turns and his eye balls glow, communicating back] I got through to V.I.N.CENT! He said there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are very few old, bold pilots!

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: She’s tuned into V.I.N.CENT all right!

Captain Dan Holland: Good.

V.I.N.CENT: Mr. Pizer?

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Yes, V.I.N.CENT?

V.I.N.CENT: Mr. Pizer, I think you should come up here.

Captain Dan Holland: [begins to float upward as a result of a meteor damaging the ceiling of the arboretum] I gotcha, B.O.B.!

B.O.B.: Let go, Cap’n! Save yourself!

[the Palamino crew are climbing the pylon structure to board the probe ship. Charlie loses his grip and begins to drift out into space, towards the black hole] Captain Dan Holland: Charlie!

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Heeelllllllppppp!

Kate McCrae: No!

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Heeeeeeelllllllllpppppp! [Charlie begins to flip over as he is drawn towards the black hole’s event horizon]

V.I.N.CENT: [the little robot emerges from the passage, sees Charlie floating away, and floats out into space to retrieve him. Charlie grabs V.I.N.CENT, and the two float back and board the probe ship]

[Outside the Palimino’s docking area, B.O.B. and V.I.N.CENT brief Charlie, Captain Holland and Harry about the real story regarding the Cygnus] B.O.B.: The officer the men trusted most was Frank McCrae.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Kate’s father.

B.O.B.: They turned to him when Dr. Reinhardt ignored the orders to return home. He tried to take control of the Cygnus. Reinhardt called it mutiny and killed Mr. McCrae.

Captain Dan Holland: What became of the crew?

B.O.B.: They were captured by the sentry robots and are still on board.

Harry Booth: What?

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Where?

B.O.B.: In the command tower, and the power center.

V.I.N.CENT: *Robots*, Mr. Pizer. *Humanoid* robots!

B.O.B.: The most valuable thing in the universe, intelligent life, means nothing to Dr. Reinhardt. Without their wills, the crew became things he could command.

Captain Dan Holland: That explains the funeral.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Right!

Captain Dan Holland: [looks to Harry] And the limping robot you spotted.

Harry Booth: [turns B.O.B. around to face him] Do you mean to tell me that there is actually a human *body* under that clothing?

B.O.B.: Exactly, Mr. Booth.

Captain Dan Holland: We can’t just take off and leave these poor devils behind. Harry, looks like we’re going to have to try your plan.

Harry Booth: What? And end up just like the rest of the crew? Why, if they couldn’t pull it off, what chance do *we* have?

B.O.B.: Cap’n, the damage is irreversable. Death is their *only* release.

Harry Booth: That’s right! For God’s sakes, Dan! We can’t take on that mechanical army!

V.I.N.CENT: Captain, I was forced to destroy two sentry robots. The others are searching *now*. If they’re found…

Captain Dan Holland: Gotcha, V.I.N.CENT. Charlie, start the countdown.

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Right!

Captain Dan Holland: V.I.N.CENT, tell Kate I want her and Alex back here on the double!

V.I.N.CENT: [the little robot turns to the camera. We see his eyballs glowing; he is communicating via ESP with Kate]

[first lines] V.I.N.CENT: [beep] 2130; day 547. Unscheduled course correction due at 2200. Pre-correction check: rotation axis plus three degrees. Nitrous oxide pressure: 4100 rising to 5,000. Quad jet C and D on preselect. Rotor ignition sequence beginning in 3-0. Thruster line reactors on standby.

Captain Dan Holland: V.I.N.CENT, notify me with 15 to go. Alex?

Dr. Alex Durant: Yes, Dan?

Captain Dan Holland: Have you determined a difference in ETAs with and without our correction?

Dr. Alex Durant: Working on it. You know, we shouldn’t be needing a correction at this time. V.I.N.CENT, run a confirmation on the last inertial fix and check it with another celestial, please.

V.I.N.CENT: [beep] I have. It is correct. But I think I’ve found the reason for our present variation. Mr. Pizer?

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: Yes, V.I.N.CENT?

V.I.N.CENT: [beep] Mr. Pizer, I think you should come up here.

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