1985 - Revenge Of The Stolen Stars (Six Stars Productions/AMA Film)
[Filmed in the
Director Ulli Lommel Screenplay Uli Lommel, Ben A. Hein Producers Ulli Lommel, Roger Deutsch Line Producer Kevin Kallberg Associate Producer Suzanna Love Cinematography David Sperling, Jürg V. Walther Music Bob Thiele Editors Warren G. Peters, Lynn M. Zook Production Executive Joanna Plafsky First Assistant Director William Glasser Second Assistant Director Socrates B. Jose Script Supervisor Nicolaus Schmutnig Production Manager King Aguiluz Location Manager Tikoy Aguiluz Special Effects Camera Nuovo Assistant Special Effects Court Wizard, A. Brunelli Production Designer Andrea Leone Costume Designer/Makeup Joyce Figueroa Sound Engineer Warren G. Peters 1st Camera Assistant Bill Boatman 2nd Camera Assistant “Juan”/Leodigario B. Dalawis Jr Lighting/Grip Crew Eric Ward, David Kellmenson, Ira Eichner, Zul Nalan, Rick Zao, Steve Wong Production Accountant Sid Stern Production Assistants Robert Gregor, Rob Reiland, Fred Barr, Ray Caldera Transportation Captain Paul McNeill Animal Wrangler Bob Dunn Painter Leslie Toomay Catering Fumyo Okumura Location Manager: Mexico Rudolpho Adame Production Supervisor Ron Norman Production Supervisor: Philippines Jose Luis M. Aspinas Post-Production Supervisor Randy Cashmere Post-Production Co-Ordinator Sigrid Nunez Continuity Richard S. Brummer Casting Susan Magee Music Producer Ole Georg Composer: Additional Music Chris Adelmann Lyrics Denise Ult? Assistant to Mr. Lommel Nancy Van Iderstain Assistant to Mr. Deutsch Lisa Isaacs Production Secretary Rose Maragioglio Titles Peter Volkart Color Timer Danny De Vincent Negative Cutter Bernardo Gómez Sound Mixer William Wong PR Co-Ordinator Sharon Lynn Post-Production Gary Jacobson
Cast Suzanna Love (Kelly), Barry Hickey (Gene McBride), Ulli Lommel (Max Stern), Klaus Kinski (Donald McBride), Kitty O'Shea (Lupe), Andy Lyon (Alex), James Marshall (Consul), Joyce Lew (Maid), Eugene Choy (Malu), Ho Sik Pak (Prince Kali), Tania Aija (Shace Maron), Thom Jones Sarah Golden Tikoy Aguiluz, Jocelyne Figueroa, Vincent Kramer, Calvin Yoshida, Kyung Yea, James Chung, Craig Ninomiya, Norman Ino, Tuny Leo, Mike Yamasaki, Eric Wong, Herman Zhu, Kay Lichtenwalter, Christine Banda, Susan Smith, Margette Person, Kim Pauk, Gaby Yink, Peter Lar, Ruh Tagama, Murian Martinez, Kanlal Sargent, Evy Ziega, Pattl? Chavez, Melissa Fennla, Caroline Kachanovsky, Kazu Masuta, Eny Zuniga, Rick Tagawa
NOTE: Director Ulli Lommel was unsure about casting Klaus Kinski, but he met him and Kinski was very nice, according to Lommel. But when the filming started, Kinski was very hard to work with. He complained about the lights and microphones, so eventually they had only few soft lights and very small microphones in the Kinski scenes, which is the reason why the sound quality changes much in different shots. Kinski also didn't want to sit on a chair when camera crew was about to shoot from different angle, so continuity wasn't possible. Because of that Lommel decided to change Kinski's character to a ghost, which was a brilliant idea in Kinski's opinion. Later he was so happy with the director that he said he doesn't work in the future with anyone else than Lommel, but Lommel's answer was simply "Yeah, right".
Suzanne Love on Revenge Of The Stolen Stars
[interviewed by Calum Waddell in Shock Cinema #35 (June 2008), p.48]
Calum: Before you got divorced, the last film that yourself and Ulli worked on was Six Stars To Sindanao, which was retitled Revenge Of The Stolen Stars…
Calum: What was Klaus Kinski like to work with on this movie?
Suzanne: Klaus Kinski was an infant terrible. Ulli was not being very nice to me again so I ran off with Klaus. That is my main story from Six Stars… It was great going to the
Calum: But you did not stay with Klaus for long, right?
Suzanne: Yes… It was good while it lasted but I did finally leave and I called him a stinky old man. He was a total tyrant and always putting people down all the time.
Review from the Internet Movie Database:
They must have paid Klaus Kinski some major dinero for this stinkeroo. YIKES!!!! It is hard to imagine that the great Kinski and Uli Lommel could team up and have a product so sorely lacking in any professionalism whatsoever. I've seen better acting and directing on the TBS monkey channel. I am not going to begin to comment on the movie itself which is so ridiculous as to not even warrant any type of review so as to justify it as a real movie. Based on what I watched (painfully so), the movie should have been filmed on video tape using a hand held home video camera. The budget of this film; about 3 or 4 dollars after Kinski's salary; was more than this disaster deserved. Klaus...you done yourself wrong buddy. But...if you are the Kinski completist then this is definitely a must own...if you can find it. Actually it does exist on PAL VHS and was, believe it or not, released on home video. Hard to imagine that this film ever had a theater debut. If it did I am certain the every movie goer wanted their money back. And I am doubly certain that if there were a premier of this movie, Kinski most certainly did not attend out of shame.
Dan Taylor’s review from Exploitation Retrospect
To enjoy – or simply tolerate – Uli Lommel's REVENGE OF THE STOLEN STARS requires a couple things.
One, you have to check out the back story on the production from Barry Hickey, the flick's "star."
After failing to secure the talents of Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine, director/writer Lommel forked over a handsome sum for our boy Klaus Kinski to handle the role of Duncan McBride, Hickey's on-screen uncle.
Two, grab yourself something to do during the film's many long, dull, stupid stretches. A magazine. A video game. A laptop with internet access.
Third, crack open your favorite adult beverage. For me, any 80s Klaus flick goes better with a little Vitamin Y. (Read that Yuengling Lager for you non-Pennsylvania residents.)
You are now ready to enjoy, appreciate, or tolerate REVENGE OF THE STOLEN STARS.
Right off the bat, one has to ask the question: Could Klaus look any LESS like a guy named Duncan McBride? But that question goes flying out of your head when you realize that
Oh sure, there are some performances that rival some of the regional dinner theatre I've seen through the years. And the villainous couple chasing our hero and heroine (Lommell's semi-cute-but-not-quite-hot wife Suzanna Love) would've been right at home during the heyday of the old Carol Burnett show. But the overall acting in this makes ISLAND CLAWS look like THE PIANIST.
After a run-in with what he believes to be a traitorous worker, Klaus ends up on the short end of a knife. But, like old adage goes, never bring a knife to a gun fight and Klaus takes his opponent with him. Cue establishing shot of
Hickey has the bland good looks of a reality show contestant. Not really handsome but with the wide-eyed innocence you need in a flick where every other character is wearing a fedora, pith helmet or dinner tux and monocle!
As the ghost of Uncle Duncan (whom Gene calls "Donald" numerous times), Kinski is in full 80s overdrive. He's a powder blue t-shirt wearing, linen suit sleeve rolling, whispering, drinking ghost with the most. Talent that is.
Kinski and Hickey engage in a wacky sequence with Kinski appearing and disappearing around the room, delivering his lines in a stage whisper that's barely audible one moment, indecipherable the next.
In the interview I did with Hickey, he explained that Klaus thought: "No, no, no, he's a ghost... he doesn't yell anymore. He's a dead man and he's living with the dead. And when you live with the dead you whisper because voices have no meaning anymore."
Riiiiiiiiight. Once Klaus makes his exit (taking his $75,000 for two days' work with him) the flick slides into a Z-grade INDIANA JONES wannabe with Gene and Kelly trying to find all of the hidden rubies while Max and Lupe shadow their every move. Complete with pith helmet, safari outfit, monocle and dinner tuxedo.
Weird but not unwatchable, REVENGE OF THE STOLEN STARS is strictly for Kinski Kompletists only.
[originally published on the Exploitation Restropect website]
EDITOR’S NOTE: I was contacted by Barry Hickey some time ago. He’d read our Comlete Guide to Klaus Kinski at the ER Web Site and wanted to contribute his own tales of Klaus.
You see, Barry had actually acted with Kinski — well, sorta, but that’s getting ahead of things — in the flick REVENGE OF THE STOLEN STARS (available from Video Search of Miami). This was late in
Barry and I finally got together over the phone one night and chatted for a couple hours about his career in low-budget cinema and working with Kinski in
I’d also like to point out that Kinski’s dead, so he’s not here to defend any of the stories set forth in the pages to follow — this is simply one man’s tale of Klaus Encounters.
It was the first film that I ever did in
There was a Saturday audition for this movie called SIX STARS TO SINDINAO and the director was Ulli Lommel, who had a film a few years earlier called THE BOOGEYMAN (1980). Another good German schlock film.
And it has been said that that movie really started the HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH movies, you know, that kind of psycho slasher stuff. Personally, I think it was TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, but Ulli wanted to take credit for it. He’d read articles so Ulli believed his own hype. The movie made about a million and a half, two million dollars in the [late] 70s. He basically kept remaking that film for the next five years.
And here I was doing singing telegrams and there was an open audition for [this movie] down at the Coronet Theater. I went down there at 9 in the morning and I had six singing telegrams that day, I remember. There was about a hundred guys in line, so I waited in line, couldn’t get in, went and did my singing telegram thing and came back. Now there were about another 50 people on line, [and] I had to do another singing telegram. I kept coming back for the audition — this was for the lead. They were looking for an unknown. I came back about four o’clock and the line was way down and I was the last guy they auditioned out of a couple hundred dudes.
They hired me and four days later I’m on a plane to the
So [he's] like my buddy... he still is. He’s as crazy as a loon. Anyway, I’m on a plane with him and I’d never really been overseas to a tropical destination. So I get drunk as a skunk on the plane, we get to the
She’s one of the stars with me, and she’s in other films, of which I can never remember any of the titles. Anyway, she’s a pretty girl and a decent actress; she was actually in HAIR on Broadway — that was her claim to fame.
Ulli, when he was younger, his claim to fame was that he was an actor and did the German ‘Starsky and Hutch.’ He was the German “Starsky.” He was also the voice of Robin in the Batman tv series.
What’s really funny is about two-and-a-half years ago I’m sitting out at Burt Ward’s house and he’s married to the heiress of RC Cola. So I’m sitting there with Burt Ward and Ulli Lommel and we’re talking about this movie we’re all going to do together and I realize that I’m in a room with the two Robins. And I knew my career was in trouble.
I’ve done about 20 movies with Ulli. He’d call me out of the blue and say, “Barry, can you be a detective today?” And he’d always give me like $300 cash when I showed up. I’d ask, “Well, what’s this movie about?,” and he never knew. He’d say, “It’s about a man in the bushes with a gun...stand over there.” And that’s the kind of movies he’d be doing. I’d show up and there’d be all these Germans or Swiss or French people, there’s some guy Nick something who was a big actor in
So there I am in the
And this is all before I knew Klaus was in the movie. They gave me a script which was supposed to be, at the time, an action script. Sort of like Indiana Jones. That’s what he was trying to do — a B-movie version of Indiana Jones. The story was about a guy named Gene and I’m a musician for the San Francisco Orchestra and I find out my uncle died, my favorite uncle, played by Tony Curtis. He died and left me a ruby mine in the fictitious country of Sindinao and I had to go there personally to take the mine on or I lose it.
So I go to Sindinao and I meet Suzanna Love who [played] the secretary to my dead uncle. And Ulli played the villain, he’s this mysterious lawyer. And apparently, when my uncle died he had all the rubies hidden, which are worth a lot of money and there’s all these ghosts and curses. My uncle’s murdered by one of his foremen over the location of the rubies.
We’re filming in the
Then we had some problem with the distributor, Media Home Entertainment, about something. And I’m starring in this movie and I got paid for four months work, $1200.00 to star in my first movie. And I had to beg for that!
Meanwhile, Tony Curtis is supposed to film in five days. But we had to make it out of this country because he couldn’t work [in the
At the last minute Curtis couldn’t do it. Then they had Ernest Borgnine, but he wouldn’t do it because he was selling some cosmetics with his wife. All of a sudden [the agency] says, “You know, Klaus is available.” And Klaus Kinski was [Ulli’s] idol.
And I was a big fan of Werner Herzog’s work and I knew about the whole story in Brazil and thought this guy was really interesting. Plus, I was a film buff and I saw all of these [Kinski] films when I was in college. So I thought it was really cool to work with this guy. I also thought he’d be totally wrong for the role. Ulli said, “It doesn’t matter, he’s a star in Germany.”
Barry and KlausMeanwhile they send me on to Mexico — the “star” — to find locations, [and] Klaus will work next Monday. So [Ulli] sends me down to Mexico. So I go to Mexico and I bring a friend of mine. He used to recruit football players for Stanford. I bring [him] with me because he said he spoke Spanish, but he didn’t speak a word of it hardly.
[He] and I go there and we stay at the Rosarita Beach Hotel, and I go out to find locations to film in. I finally go out and find a bullfighter who was a well-known Mexican bullfighter and he used to know a realtor. He takes me to the Johnny Carson of Mexico’s house in Tijuana and he has the perfect house — it matches the Philippines as much as we could.
Meanwhile, I call the US and Klaus has committed and now here’s the deal. “Barry, we’re paying Klaus $75,000 for two days. He wanted $50,000 per day but we had to pay him cash. So everything’s gotta be ready.” But I don’t have any money, we’re charging everything to my room and I’m wearing the same shoes I had from four days ago.
We’re ready to go. Klaus comes in from Marin County they pick him up at LAX in a stretch limo and they’re driving to Mexico. We have this girl who played a maid in the movie, she was also a part-time makeup artist, and her name is Joyce Lin-Lew. She used to be on ‘Kung-Fu’ the tv series. She played David Carradine’s girlfriend who gets killed when he’s a little Chinese guy. She’s our makeup artist on it, too.
They’re driving down in the limo the whole way and Klaus wants to sleep with Ulli’s wife. That’s how Ulli hooked him because he knew about his sexual stuff. And Suzanna’s playing like she likes him. Klaus has this ego and he buys into everything about him, he thinks he’s the center of the universe. That’s also why they brought Joyce along because, well, Klaus liked anything female.
So they’re driving down and [Ulli] didn’t tell Joyce this, she just thought she was going down to be the makeup artist. The whole way [Klaus] keeps trying to put his hand up between her legs. Ulli’s not doing anything to stop it and Suzanna’s laughing like it’s a good time and Joyce’s totally freaked out. She’s going to Mexico with this sex maniac she doesn’t know, nobody’s helping her, she’s in a limousine going 80 and they’re all giggling!
They get down to Mexico, Klaus is staying at the Rosarita, I get back from location and I haven’t met the guy yet. Ulli runs up to me and goes, “You can’t meet Klaus yet.”
“What is he, the prince?” And realize something, I grew up in Chicago in a gang on the South Side. To me, just having moved to Hollywood was a joke. I don’t come across that way, people think I’m this real naive, Michael J. Fox kind of guy.
“What do you mean I can’t meet him, he’s sitting right over there.”
“Please Barry you don’t understand how delicate the situation is — Klaus thinks he’s the star.”
“Ulli, he’s working a fucking day on it.”
So I sat at the bar drinking and I kept waiting for him to introduce me. And Klaus, at that point in his life, I don’t know why, he always wore these linen jackets. He always rolled the sleeves up and that’s what he wanted to wear in movies. In the later movies he’s basically wearing the same clothes. You know, he’s a weird dude, he’s 5’6”, he never bathed, he smelled. It’s nine o’clock at night and I’m with Ray who’s drunk as a skunk. Finally, I say, “This is bullshit” and I just walked up to him, “Klaus, Barry” and stuck my hand out.
And he doesn’t even raise his hand. He looks at Ulli and Suzanna and Joyce who’s sitting there with this terrified face.
“What is this?”
“Oh, this is Barry, he plays Gene.”
“Yes, but what is this with the hand?”
“I’m Barry, I’m starring in the movie, I guess you play my uncle.”
“I don’t shake hands with people.”
I just started laughing and I walked away.
So Ulli came out and said, “You shouldn’t have done that.”
“Come on Ulli, what’s the big deal he’s just like everybody else.”
“No, he’s the Laurence Olivier of Germany, you can’t do that.”
The next day we’re all at the set. I get there earlier, they bring him in the stretch again. By this time Klaus is now totally hitting on Joyce. He’s sitting in a makeup chair, I come in and sit in another makeup chair. We’re supposed to be doing our scene together where I come into this room where my uncle’s [been] killed and his ghost appears and talks to me, telling me what to do. You know, I’m getting ready for the scene and he looks at me and goes out of the room. And Joyce, the makeup artist, whispers to me, “SAVE ME!”
I go, “What?”
“Save me from him.”
“What do you mean?”
“This guy’s the weirdest dude I’ve ever met!”
So Ulli comes in ten minutes later and says, “Barry, we’re going to shoot the scene a bit differently. We’re going to shoot Klaus first and then I’m going to shoot you.” I figured reverse angles, no big deal. Finally, they’re in there and about to shoot and I come into the room. They’re shooting and Klaus gestures for Ulli and whispers something in his ear.
Ulli comes over to me and says, “Barry, you have to leave the room.”
“Because you can’t see Klaus.” And he’s buying into this, he’s explaining to me Klaus’ logic.
“Because Klaus is a ghost.”
“Yeah, I know, he’s my uncle.”
“But you can’t see him and if you see him now it’ll destroy his performance.”
“Help me out here Ulli. This is my comedic, fun-loving Irish uncle, now he’s a crazy German who whispers...?”
“That’s what he wants and that’s how he acts. I’m paying him all this money Barry.”
“Payin’ him for what, the guy’s a nut!” So I walk out of the room and I’m back in the makeup chair.
Joyce comes up and says, “He’s putting his hand up my skirt. The night before he kept coming to my room, he came to my door, he came to my window, he tried to get in. One time he saw me, he stood up and said he was Nosferatu...anything to get me to open the window.”
JoyceMeanwhile I’m back at the house talking to her and he sees me. So he tells Ulli he wants the makeup artist on the set the whole time for him. She’s sitting on the set all day, Klaus is working all day, and he would never talk. He would only whisper.
So the funny part is, I come into the room and say, “Uncle! You’re alive!” and he would whisper, “No Gene, I’m a ghost.” And thirty of us say, “What?” Ulli walks up and says, “Klaus, could you say it a little louder. Think about it Klaus, this kid barges in and sees you and he’s surprised to see you.”
“No, no, no, he’s a ghost...he doesn’t yell anymore. He’s a dead man and he’s living with the dead. And when you live with the dead you whisper because voices have no meaning anymore.”
And Ulli says, “Ah, yeah, that makes sense, let’s film it.”
By this time I’ve snuck into the room and I’m standing in the corner. He doesn’t see me. We did this one take 50 times. All he has to do is say, “Gene, listen to me.” Over and over again. Nobody can hear him. The soundman can’t get a level and I’m not sure what he’s doing half the time. Meanwhile, the Johnny Carson of Mexico is there now and so’s the bullfighter, and these guys are doing the Mafia thing on me: “Okay, you’re filming here now, I know we told you you could film here for $300 a day, but now that we realize you’ve got these famous stars here maybe it’s worth more like $3,000 a day.” And it turns out that “Johnny Carson” is best friends with the head of the police department.
So I realize we’re getting railroaded by the Mexicans.
Meanwhile, I can’t tell anyone because I know what I’m going to do: I’m going to sneak all the equipment out when nobody’s looking. But these German people are too bizarre and the director’s already freaked out on me in the Philippines. He freaked out on me in a few more locations. And now he’s freaking out with Klaus.
So we film the first night, well, they did — I’m not even in the scene. We all go back to the hotel and everybody’s having dinner. Klaus is being Klaus, I still can’t go near him so I’m sitting there with a few of the extras and [Joyce] comes across to me and says, “Barry, will you do me a favor? Will you stay with me in my room tonight?”
“First of all, I want to sleep with you and second it keeps him away from me. Will you come over to the table and just sit down next to me?”
She’s over there with Klaus and Ulli because they’re treating her like a hooker. I just walk up and sit down next to her, kiss her on the cheek, hold her hand and he’s freaking out, but in a very subtle way. The funny thing about Klaus Kinski is that for all the bravado he’s just a scared little man. All you have to do is stand up to him. Herzog knew and I knew that, too. He wasn’t a bad person, he’s just so self-centered. Everything was his way or the highway. I admired a lot of the work that he did previously, then he got into all the great stuff like the attic movie and the sorority things. That’s when I knew my career was really over, when the guy from CRAWLSPACE was playing my uncle.
So here I am, this is my first movie and I’m thinking this is what it’s all about. I go back to her room with her and Klaus is knocking on the door for half the night and I finally answer. “Klaus, do you mind? I won, you lost, now get outta here.” And he leaves. Now I know he’ll never act with me, not a chance.
The next day he’s totally the ghost now, won’t even acknowledge me, doesn’t talk or anything. Won’t talk to Joyce anymore either. This kind of business went on and we couldn’t even get him to come in [afterward] and do foley work or anything. The next night I had one more shot at getting him to work with me. Then he’s [playing] games with the director about me: “Well, I can’t act with him, he’s a nobody.” And now he’s trying to pick up Ulli’s wife. So that was the new game.
All he cared about was money. Ulli would say, “Klaus, say this line.” And Klaus would say, “You didn’t give me those lines before. It’ll cost you $5000 for me to say this line. Or, I can make the sentence shorter and I’ll charge you $3000.” By the third day I said screw him — I just sat there.
It’s kind of sad in a way.
[Here’s] a few of the funnier stories I knew about him, one [from] after I did the movie with him, one from before. Why Ulli was impressed with him was back, I want to say in the 50s, Klaus did a show at one of the soccer stadiums in
The other story was from a girl in CRAWLSPACE, I forget her name. He [plays] an older man that gets into bed to seduce the girl. She gets in bed with Klaus, they kiss, the sheets are over them. All of a sudden the girl jumps out of bed and goes “AH!” She walks up to the director and says, tell him to stop it. And the director says, “Stop what?” She says, “I can’t tell you.” So the director walks up to Klaus and says, “Klaus, what’re you doin’?” “I’m doing nothing, what?” He goes back to the actress and says, “We’re okay, get back in bed.” Klaus leans over, kisses her and “AH!” she jumps out of bed again. And she slaps him this time and says, “That’s it, tell him to stop it or I’m not going to do the scene,” and she leaves the room. He walks over, says “Klaus, what’re you doing?” “I’m doing nothing, I’m making love to her like you told me.” He goes to the girl’s trailer and says, “Come on, you can come back, you can do the scene. He says he’s not going to do anything.” This goes on for like two hours, finally she’s crying in the trailer and [the director] says, “Alright, just tell me what he’s doing.” She says, “Well every time you yell ‘Action’ he leans over and kisses me and then he sticks his finger up my ass!” So he goes back to Klaus and says, “What’re you doing? She says you’re sticking your finger up her butt.” Klaus says, “Yeah, what’s wrong with that? That’s how I make love.” And that’s how he was those last eight years or so.
The movie ended up being called REVENGE OF THE STOLEN STARS and it was aired in
It also got into litigation between Media Home Entertainment, Tri-Mark somehow got involved, so it really became a question of international rights, who owned the picture. Ulli was the kind of guy who didn’t care about any contract. He’d say, “Yeah okay, thanks for the $50,000” and then go shoot two days. Then he’d sell the movie to another company and get $60,000. You’d have nine companies on your movie and he didn’t care. So he made a lot of pictures that were never released.