Movies Till Dawn: The Saturday Morning Strange – “The Apple” (1980)

Infamously unhinged sci-fi musical that enjoys a cult following based entirely on its refusal to adhere to anything resembling coherence or good taste. In the distant and dismal future of 1994, sappy Canadian folk singers George Gilmour and Catherine Mary Stewart capture the attention of the unscrupulous Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal), a talent agent who secretly helps world governments keep their citizens docile through his clients’ mindless disco-pop music (the movie’s sole salient point). Besotted with stardom, the pair is plied with the trappings of fame – drugs, fashion (sort of) and worshipful followers – as they are transformed to take the place of Boogalow’s ghastly, glitzy star act, Dandi and Pandi (who sing a pair of wildly inappropriate numbers, one titled “Coming”). Stewart takes the bait and becomes craven and strung out, at one point singing an honest-to-goodness paean to speed, while Gilmour is consigned to obscurity in a hippie colony overseen by Joss Ackland. Things eventually right themselves, with the help of God (really) and his solid gold Cadillac (again, really), but by this point, viewers have either run for the hills or become hopelessly entranced by this parade of flabbergasting nonsense. Directed by Menahem Golan – one-half of the chutzpah behind the notorious schlock studio Cannon Films – “The Apple” is breezy and paper-thin, and performed with summer stock vigor by its cast, but no amount of can-do spirit can make horrible songs, hideous production values and seismic plot shifts like the finale palatable to anyone but diehard badfilm fans or those under the influence of powerful, mood-altering substances. Those demographics will most likely adore the film’s frequent moonshots from sanity (like scenes of the world’s population forced to exercise to Boogalow’s music) and will wear thin the grooves on Kino’s new Blu-ray with repeat viewings. Included on the disc is commentary with Stewart – a good sport of the first order – who’s also showcased in a lengthy interview that covers her entire career (“Weekend at Bernie’s,” etc.), and the original theatrical trailer.

About Paul Gaita

Paul Gaita lives in Sherman Oaks, California with his lovely wife and daughter. He has written for The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Variety and Merry Jane, among many other publications, and was a home video reviewer for from 1998 to 2014. He has also interviewed countless entertainment figures, but his favorites remain Elmore Leonard, Ray Bradbury, and George Newall, who created both "Schoolhouse Rock" and the Hai Karate aftershave commercials. He once shared a Thanksgiving dinner with celebrity astrologer Joyce Jillson and regrettably, still owes the late character actor Charles Napier a dollar.
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