Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The "Never Got Made" File #54: TWO IN THE STARS

Since we have inadvertently found ourselves in a sci-fi spaghetti nightmare, it seems only fitting that the next NGM entry focus on an unrealized Italian STAR WARS rip-off.  In October 1979, Filmitalia ran an impressive ad in Variety for TWO IN THE STARS:

With a declaration of a start of "spectacular special effects filming," the impressive ad featured a kid standing next to a badass looking robot on desolate planet (that was without a doubt going to be real with a rock quarry in Italy).  Even more impressive are the cast and crew attached to the project.  Now this is where we get your inner EuroCult geek to tear up as the leads listed were Fred Williamson and Bo Svenson, who had just been in THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (1978).  In addition, there is Jackie Basehart (also from INGLORIOUS), Sven Valsecchi (who most likely was going to play the kid), Antonella Interlenghi, and super slumming Arthur Kennedy (who had just gotten his sci-fi freak on in THE HUMANOID).

The director listed is Anthony Ascot, the pseudonym for Giuliano Carnimeo.  He did a bunch of spaghetti westerns in the 1960s, but the only film of his I've seen is the amusing THE DIAMOND PEDDLERS (1976) starring Paul Smith.  Also notable in the announced credits is a score by ace composer Stelvio Cipriani, who had previously scored two of Carnimeo's westerns starring George Hilton.

Eight months later, Filmitalia ran a bigger, two-page ad that offered even more visual information to run sci-fi ravaged brains wild.  Interestingly, this promo piece declares the "completion of spectacular special effects filming."  Williamson and Svenson are no longer attached and the empty "with an important international cast" offers nothing (don't forget who the Italians considered "important").  The artwork does promise a white guy and black guy teaming up in space though, meaning someone in Italy heard about Billy Dee Williams being cast in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980).

And here is something really exciting - two FX shots that ran in Starlog that were sent in by the effects man. These shots in the September 1980 issue might be the only publicly released images from the film's special effects shooting. And I'm convinced that is Raimund Harmstorf's beard in that second shot. :-)

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