It is being widely reported today that the great actor, director, and writer Maximilian Schell died on Friday after a short illness. Schell won a Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Judgement at Nuremberg, but Disney fans will know him as the demented-genius Dr. Hans Reinhardt in Walt Disney’s The Black Hole.
The Black Hole opened in 1979 and was, in many ways, an attempt by The Walt Disney Studios to show they could produce an epic adventure film packed with special effects. However, Star Wars, which opened two years prior, outclassed Disney in the FX department and at the box office. By the time The Black Hole reached theaters audiences had largely moved on to the next craze. Although who can forget the cute talking trash can that was V.I.N.CENT.
In the end of the movie Reinhardt became encased inside his evil attack robot Maximilian. That was not a comment on Snell’s performance; the robot was named Maximilian in the script before he was cast. I wonder if the irony was lost on Schell that he became trapped in Maximilian’s Shell.
Disney has put a re-make of The Black Hole into pre-production, led by TRON: Legacy’s director Joseph Kosinski. Things have been pretty quiet since they announced a writer had been hired in 2013. No word on if the remake is proceeding or was allowed to drift beyond the event horizon of unworkable films.
Here’s the original theatrical trailer for Walt Disney’s The Black Hole:
Do you remember your first time watching the movie? Did Maximilian scare you as much as the robot did me?
Fond memories of the Black Hole as a kid, a fantastic actor who excelled no matter the role or film, RIP to a legend.
Maximilian Schell made many films that were better than The Black Hole, but I still love that movie. The cast was just so good — Ernest Borgnine, Anthony Perkins, even Roddy McDowell’s voice.
I don’t really see any need to create a remake of The Black Hole. The Black Hole itself was essentially a retelling of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Half of Wall-E was essentially a retelling of The Black Hole. The story has been done. Disney needs to find new an original ideas for films.