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Film / Battle Beyond the Sun

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An American translation of the Soviet sci-fi film Nebo Zovyot, produced by Roger Corman and with a young Francis Ford Coppola tasked with directing the adaptation. The plot basically involves a space race between two future superstates: North Hemis (originally the USA) and South Hemis (originally the USSR) after a supposed nuclear war, with both nations competing in a top-secret race to be the first to land on the planet Mars.

Notable changes to the Soviet original include the obvious removal of any Soviet propaganda which might have not played well to Cold War American audiences - such as the superpowers being replaced by fictitious future ones and names being Anglicized - and the addition by Coppola of a fight between two alien monsters which are supposed to resemble male and female genetalia (come on, this is supposed to be a B-Movie after all...)

Not to be confused with Corman's later work, Battle Beyond the Stars.

Contains examples of:

  • After the End: The future setting is in the wake of a nuclear war, complete with introductory Stock Footage of The Deadliest Mushroom just so we know.
  • Dub Name Change: All of the characters who were originally Soviet have been given Anglicized names; for example the scientists working on the South Hemis project are a husband-and-wife team, Drs. Albert and Ruth Gordon, and the principal astronaut (cosmonaut) is called Craig Mathews. The North Hemis, originally American astronauts also have names changed.
  • Gag Penis: One of the two monsters in a filmed insert made by Coppola was supposed to resemble one.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The good guys are in South Hemis and have Anglicized names, yet the dubbed-in accents sound vaguely American or very slightly British on occasion. One might expect them to sound more Antipodean.
  • Space-Filling Empire: North Hemis (most of North America, Britain, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia) and South Hemis (everywhere else). Conveniently, this implicitly makes both Americans and Russians to be the antagonists and means both sides can have Anglicized names.
  • Stock Footage:
    • Including the obligatory mushroom cloud and scenes of jubilant crowds from both Soviet and American sources.
    • Corman took a professional Soviet sci-fi movie and added additional scenes so he could make a B-Movie with far better special effects than he could normally afford.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Both the Soviet original and this edit use this as their starting point. In the Soviet version, it's the dream of a reporter interviewing a rocket concept designer about his work on future space vehicles; in the American version, we just get a short but tedious mini-documentary showing American concept models (just in case we thought things were too Russian) of future space vehicles, with the inference this could be a possible future for space travel.
  • Vagina Dentata: The other monster in Coppola's insert resembles this, naturally.
  • Zeerust: Since the original film was made in 1959, the film is naturally quite heavy on this for modern viewers.