This coming Saturday (June 20, 2009) the American Cinemateque’s Aero Theater in Santa Monica will be screening the single greatest night of filmed entertainment in motion picture history: for this first time ever in this country, not one, not two, but all three old school Battlestar Galactica feature films will be shown. What’s that? You knew the original pilot was shown in theaters in Sensurround but what the hell is all this gibberish about three feature films? Read on, old friend…
As most of you probably know, in order to help recoup the cost of the enormously expensive three-hour pilot, the original Battlestar Galactica was cut down to two hours and shown theatrically outside the US. It was such a hit Universal decided to release it in American theaters after the show had premiered, but used the gimmick of Sensurround to help draw people in.
What is less common knowledge is that Universal had planned to release episodes of BSG to foreign theaters on a regular basis (this is why there are so many two-part episodes). The episodes “Living Legend” and “Fire in Space” were cut together to make the movie “Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack.” This made it into overseas theaters and eventually found its way onto HBO in the states (which is how I first found out about it).
I’m not sure how well “Mission Galactica” did, but it was the only BSG episode to actually find theatrical release… until Galactica: 1980 made its debut. I’ve never seen it, but a heavily edited version of Galactica’s bastard stepchild found it’s way into European theaters under the name “Conquest of the Earth” (I assume this was to round out and conclude the “Galactica trilogy”).
In any case, the Aero is running a triple-feature Galactica marathon on Saturday, showing all three of these beginning at 7:30 pm (click here to visit the theater’s home page). I saw the pilot in a theater just a few years ago, but what I’m really looking forward to is seeing Living Legend up on the big screen and finally getting a look at “Conquest of the Earth” (no doubt the audience of die-hard BSG fans are going to have fun with that one).
If you live in the Los Angeles area and want to join us for the ultimate original Galactica experience, send me a message in the “about me” section and I’ll fill you in on the details! And if you don’t live nearby – that’s what planes are for. So come and join us for what may be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
I’ll be sure to post a write-up about the screening on Monday.
UPDATE: The Aero is going to have a few of the original visual effects artists on hand to discuss their work, and they’re going to screen some never-before-seen home movies Dennis Muren had shot while working on the original movie at Apogee. In addition, reader Peter Noble tells us that members of the Resin Illuminati modelling forum (www.resinilluminati.com) will be on hand with models to show off as well as a recently restored original Rag Tag Fleet ship!