Battle Beyond the Sun (1963) is a clunky retooling of the 1959 Soviet sci fi masterpiece Niebo Zowiet. American B-movie king Roger Corman bought the North American rights and brought in an up-and-coming young film director named Francis Ford Coppola to rework the movie for audiences in the U.S.
Under the pseudonym Thomas Colchart, Coppola turned the original plot -- a Russian space crew sent to find out the fate of an earlier mission to intercept an alien probe -- into a potboiler about a Russian/American space race. In it, the American astronauts wind up battling some nasty-looking monsters, including one that resembles a certain part of the female anatomy -- with teeth!
The film’s original Russian title translates into The Heavens Call. Battle Beyond the Sun no doubt sounded more exciting and thus more likely to draw in viewers, despite the fact that the action doesn’t take place beyond the sun and there’s no real battle in it.
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