Friday, October 24, 2014

Masterful Vintage THE BLACK HOLE Concept Art by Robert T. McCall

Friday, October 24, 2014 - by Maurice Mitchell 6

 The Black Hole (1979) concept art by Robert T. McCall
Check out The Black Hole concept art by Robert T. McCall!

Every Friday I feature artwork from a classic of science fiction cinema. This week's "Flashback Friday" post is on The Black Hole (1979)

The movie The Black Hole (originally known as "Space Probe One") is a forgotten classic, but stands as a landmark film in science fiction cinema. Back in 1979, The Walt Disney Company was known for it's all-ages rated films, but this film was Disney's first PG-rated production, and Buena Vista Distribution's second release with that rating. It also marked the first time Disney had made a straight sci-fi film and was the most expensive picture Disney ever made because of it's ground-breaking effects. While the movie got mixed reviews because of it's metaphysical and quasi-religous themes it still inspires film-makers generations later. One of the artists that helped develop the unique look of the film, that predated the production of Star Wars by the way, was the late Robert T. McCall.

Robert T. McCall was a professional art director and conceptual artist who worked on Hollywood films like Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Future Flight (1987).

Click on the images to enlarge.



V.I.N.CENT ("Vital Information Necessary CENTralized")
Originally V.I.N.CE NT was designed to have hinged legs to allow the robot to walk.

They got rid of the legs and this much more complicated design of the robot was made to float. McCall said, "I thought of him as a hummingbird, as being able to levitate and dart around very gracefully." Peter Ellenshaw would later refine the look of the design into the familiar look it had in the film.

USS Palomino
The ship the crew rode in was designed to look very different from the final design but finally got close to the final look.


The Palomino's observation deck


See more of Robert Theodore McCall's uplifting work at http://www.mccallstudios.com/index.html

Click on the links if you want to see more of Robert T. McCall's work or The Black Hole artwork on my blog.

What do you think of the concept art? If you've seen The Black Hole what do you think of the movie?

Some images via Gavin Rothery and Disney's The Black Hole Fan Site

Official The Black Hole Summary
"The U.S.S. Cygnus is perched precariously at the edge of a black hole -- the vast, empty nothingness where space and time end. Anything that crosses its border enters a universe of the complete unknown. And so begins a story that only Disney's film magicians could tell. A story of robots and humanoids. Of human genius and madness. And a spectacular descent into nature's ultimate mystery -- The Black Hole."Directed by Gary Nelson
Cinematography by Frank Phillips
Production Design by NAME
Starring Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux
Release Dates: December 21, 1979
Official Site: http://movies.disney.com/the-black-hole
© Copyright 1979 Walt Disney Productions, Buena Vista Distribution. All rights reserved

About the Author

Maurice Mitchell
Lover of science fiction and art.

6 comments:

  1. I've seen that top image before completely divorced from its original context, so I had no idea it was actually concept art for this film!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The original V.I.N.C.E.N.T. was really different.
    I have fond memories of seeing this film in the theater. I still like it, bad special effects and all.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've never seen this film, but the art is wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Alex, calling out the effects in any pre-millennium sci-fi seems a bit harsh. I saw The Black Hole again quite recently and was pleasantly surprised how well the SFX held up (as well as how dark the tone was), back from the era when effects were indeed special, actual model and matte work, not 3D renderings.
    So, come on Disney, where's our blu-ray?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I saw it a few years ago and they weren't awful, just a sign of the times. But then, Close Encounters came out two years earlier and its effects are still very impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've never seen it. I love the art.

    I think you'd like our film society movie this month: Space Battleship Yamato. The ship design, in particular, is outstanding.

    ReplyDelete

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