The Beastmaster (1982)

PG | 118 mins | Adventure, Fantasy | 20 August 1982

Director:

Don Coscarelli

Cinematographer:

John Alcott

Editor:

Roy Watts

Production Designer:

Conrad E. Angone
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HISTORY

       An undated Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) synopsis found in the AMPAS library production files suggested that in early drafts of the screenplay, the character “Kiri” was originally named “Lara,” while the ferret, “Kodo,” was called “Riki.” The document also refers to “Young Dar’s father” as “Paghl,” though he was not given a proper name in the final film. A 19 Feb 1982 LAHExam article described a number of effects- and stunt-heavy sequences not shown in the final movie, including one featuring producer Sylvio Tabet’s five-year-old daughter, Kim.
       A 7 May 1980 Var news item announced that production was set to begin following the Cannes Film Festival that spring. In a 16 Jan 1982 article for Screen International, Sylvio Tabet explained that he and writer-director Don Coscarelli spent two years making arrangements just to begin the film’s five-month pre-production process. Tabet claimed to have financed the picture entirely on his own through private investments and European bank loans, but a 25 Aug 1982 Var article stated that the $9 million budget came from a “consortium of foreign investors” and the sale of foreign distribution rights at Cannes and the MIFED International Film and Multimedia Market in Milan in 1981. LAHExam and a 19 Jul 1982 press packet in AMPAS library files cited the cost at $10 million. According to production notes also found at AMPAS, the budget for stunts had to be increased, as funds were depleted within the first week of filming.
       On 17 Dec 1981, HR reported principal photography began on 1 Dec 1981 in the Los Angeles, CA, area. Union Oil Company provided a ... More Less

       An undated Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) synopsis found in the AMPAS library production files suggested that in early drafts of the screenplay, the character “Kiri” was originally named “Lara,” while the ferret, “Kodo,” was called “Riki.” The document also refers to “Young Dar’s father” as “Paghl,” though he was not given a proper name in the final film. A 19 Feb 1982 LAHExam article described a number of effects- and stunt-heavy sequences not shown in the final movie, including one featuring producer Sylvio Tabet’s five-year-old daughter, Kim.
       A 7 May 1980 Var news item announced that production was set to begin following the Cannes Film Festival that spring. In a 16 Jan 1982 article for Screen International, Sylvio Tabet explained that he and writer-director Don Coscarelli spent two years making arrangements just to begin the film’s five-month pre-production process. Tabet claimed to have financed the picture entirely on his own through private investments and European bank loans, but a 25 Aug 1982 Var article stated that the $9 million budget came from a “consortium of foreign investors” and the sale of foreign distribution rights at Cannes and the MIFED International Film and Multimedia Market in Milan in 1981. LAHExam and a 19 Jul 1982 press packet in AMPAS library files cited the cost at $10 million. According to production notes also found at AMPAS, the budget for stunts had to be increased, as funds were depleted within the first week of filming.
       On 17 Dec 1981, HR reported principal photography began on 1 Dec 1981 in the Los Angeles, CA, area. Union Oil Company provided a 3,000-acre tract in Simi Valley, CA, to serve as the principal filming location. Interior sets and production offices were constructed inside a former toy warehouse in North Hollywood, CA, and landscapes were shot at Valley of Fire State Park, NV. LAHExam also named AZ among the locations. Exterior night shooting took up three weeks of the ten-week production.
       Production notes credited Ralph Helfer, the owner of Gentle Jungle, Inc., for supplying twenty ferrets, three grizzly bears, a wedgetail eagle, and three tigers for the shoot. The film’s featured tiger, Kipling, underwent six weeks of training and was dyed black to resemble a panther. For a particular scene involving flames, producers cited the assistance of the Ventura County Fire Department, but the unit receives no onscreen credit.
       The picture was planned to open Christmas 1982 until the 8 Jul 1982 DV announced that United Artists had acquired domestic distribution rights and rescheduled the film for a summer release. A 30 Jul 1982 Reader specified a late Aug 1982 release date and advertised a promotional sneak peak of the film at the Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. The 25 Aug 1982 Var reported that The Beastmaster opened to mixed reviews on 20 Aug 1982 on 1,100 screens.
       According to the 16 Jan 1982 Screen International, production on The Beastmaster was only half complete when Tabet began planning a sequel, with the hope of also creating an accompanying comic book. In 1991, Tabet directed Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (see entry), with Marc Singer reprising the lead role. Singer played “Dar” again in a 1996 television movie, while Tabet went on to create the television series, BeastMaster (SyFy, Oct 1999--May 2002).
       End credits note that the film was made in cooperation with the American Humane Association.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Jul 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1982
p. 5, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1998
p. 3, 8.
LAHExam
19 Feb 1982
Section D, p. 27, 29.
Los Angeles Times
19 Aug 1982
p. 4.
New York Times
20 Aug 1982
p. 19.
Reader
30 Jul 1982.
---
Screen International
16 Jan 1982
p. 54.
Variety
7 May 1980
p. 14, 340.
Variety
18 Aug 1982
p. 12.
Variety
25 Aug 1982.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Leisure Investment Company presents
A Don Coscarelli Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Prod mgr/Asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Elec
Key grip/dolly grip
Best boy grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Asst to the prod des
Asst to the prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Lead set dresser
Asst set dec
Set dresser
Props
Props asst
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Dar's sword by
Set painter
Set painter
Const coord
Const coord
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Set dresser, 2d unit
SOUND
Boom op
Sd eff
Sd des by
Sd des by
Sd des by
ADR supv
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Consultant: spec visual eff
Miniature photog
Model shop supv
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Graphic eng
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Make-up eff artist
Makeup
Hairdresser
Spec make-up eff des
Make-up eff asst
Make-up eff asst
Make-up eff asst
Make-up eff asst
Make-up artist, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Consultant
Exec in charge of post prod
Prod supv
Prod coord
Scr supv
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Operations liason [sic]
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Craft services
Animals supplied by
Head animal trainer
Trainer
Trainer
Trainer
Trainer
Trainer
Casting
Security
Exec consultant
Scr supv, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Beast Master by Andre Norton (New York, 1959).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 August 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 20 August 1982
Production Date:
1 December 1981--mid February 1982 in Simi Valley and North Hollywood, CA
Valley Fire State Park, NV
and AZ
Copyright Claimant:
Beastmaster N.V. & ECTA Filmproduktion, GmbH & Co., K.G.
Copyright Date:
19 January 1984
Copyright Number:
PA204797
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo™
Color
Duration(in mins):
118
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Germany (West), United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26762
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Inside the temple of the city of Aruk, three witches tell a hooded priest named Maax of a prophecy that destines him to die by the hand of King Zed’s unborn son. Maax denies the prophecy and intends to kill Zed’s child that night in a sacrificial ritual. Hearing of Maax’s plan, Zed banishes him and his heathen religious practices from the valley of Aruk. As Maax leaves the city, a witch approaches Zed and his pregnant wife while they sleep. Using magical forces, she extracts the unborn child from the queen’s body and transfers it to the womb of a cow. The witch later cuts the baby from the cow and brands the child’s palm with a spiral symbol. Just as the witch is about to slit the infant’s throat, a passing man fights the witch and throws her into the fire. The man takes the baby to the remote desert village of Emer and raises him to be a skilled fighter named Dar. One day while training in the woods, young Dar encounters a violent bear and drives it away with mental telepathy. His father tells Dar that he will one day discover the reason the gods marked his hand. Many years later, Dar’s village is plundered and burned by a hoard called the Juns. Dar is knocked unconscious in the fight, but his large dog drags him to safety. Dar wakes to find his father, the dog, and his entire village dead. Determined to discover his destiny, he leaves home and treks across the land, guided by an eagle. As he practices with his sword in the wilderness, two ferrets run away with his belt, leading ... +


Inside the temple of the city of Aruk, three witches tell a hooded priest named Maax of a prophecy that destines him to die by the hand of King Zed’s unborn son. Maax denies the prophecy and intends to kill Zed’s child that night in a sacrificial ritual. Hearing of Maax’s plan, Zed banishes him and his heathen religious practices from the valley of Aruk. As Maax leaves the city, a witch approaches Zed and his pregnant wife while they sleep. Using magical forces, she extracts the unborn child from the queen’s body and transfers it to the womb of a cow. The witch later cuts the baby from the cow and brands the child’s palm with a spiral symbol. Just as the witch is about to slit the infant’s throat, a passing man fights the witch and throws her into the fire. The man takes the baby to the remote desert village of Emer and raises him to be a skilled fighter named Dar. One day while training in the woods, young Dar encounters a violent bear and drives it away with mental telepathy. His father tells Dar that he will one day discover the reason the gods marked his hand. Many years later, Dar’s village is plundered and burned by a hoard called the Juns. Dar is knocked unconscious in the fight, but his large dog drags him to safety. Dar wakes to find his father, the dog, and his entire village dead. Determined to discover his destiny, he leaves home and treks across the land, guided by an eagle. As he practices with his sword in the wilderness, two ferrets run away with his belt, leading him into a pit of quicksand. Using his mind, he commands the two ferrets to bite off a tree branch with which he can pull himself free. Dar names the animals “Kodo” and “Podo” and brings them on his journey. He soon has a vision of three nearby Jun soldiers attempting to kill a panther. With the help of the ferrets and the eagle, Dar fights the Juns and names the rescued tiger “Ruh.” Later, Kodo and Podo steal the belt of a woman bathing in a pond. When she chases them, Dar attempts to impress her by taming Ruh. After he forces the woman to kiss him, she identifies herself as Kiri, slave to the priest in Aruk. He follows her into the night, but finds himself lost in a cave containing a cauldron filled with boiling corpses. Dar frees a man hanging in a cage above the boiling pot, but the prisoner is captured and brutally killed by the guards. A mysterious cloaked figure gives Dar a medal depicting the image of an eagle, and he is allowed to escape. The next morning, he finds himself on the outskirts of Aruk, now under Maax’s rule. The crazed leader throws a child into a fire pit, claiming him as a sacrifice for the city’s safety against the Juns. As Dar’s eagle lifts a second sacrificial boy to safety, he spots the slave girl from the pond in the crowd. That night, Dar returns the rescued child to his father, Sacco, who explains that Maax overthrew and imprisoned King Zed, and is now ruling Aruk under influence of the Juns. Dar leaves to find Kiri, who has been taken into the mountains to be sacrificed. Maax gives one of his servants a ring with an all-seeing eye that will show him Dar’s whereabouts in his magical observation pool. Recognizing the mark on Dar’s hand, Maax orders the servants to kill him and Ruh, but they are saved by Seth and his young companion, Tal. The three vow to travel together back to Aruk to free King Zed, who, it turns out, is Tal’s father. The three look through items the ferrets have stolen, including the ring belonging to Maax’s servant, which Tal wears, and Kiri’s belt, prompting Tal to explain that the slave girl is his cousin. Dar sees through the eagle’s eyes to determine Kiri's path. The next day, the group kills the Jun escorts and escapes on a raft with Kiri. Seth leaves in search of men to build an army. When Dar, Tal, and Kiri reach the temple, they encounter a chamber where men are transformed into fighting beasts, their brains extracted and their bodies encased in metal armor. Dar sends his ferrets to steal the keys to Zed’s prison cell, but soon finds a way inside the temple on his own. Dar and his comrades lead the now-blind Zed to a secret underground tunnel, but Dar stays behind, waiting for the ferrets. Too late, the ferrets arrive with the keys. Kiri returns for Dar and the pair leaves the temple through a window. The ferrets chew the gate ropes open and the group escapes the city. On the hillside, Zed speaks to Seth and his new followers about killing Maax to reclaim the city, but Dar protests, stating that this plan will only attract the attention of the Juns. Angered by his defiance, Zed calls Dar a freak for his ability to communicate with animals, and orders him out of the group. That night, Seth realizes the power of Tal’s ring and destroys it, but Maax has already learned of Zed’s plans. At daybreak, Sacco alerts Dar that the entire group has been captured and will be sacrificed at the temple. Although Maax kills Zed, Dar stabs him and the priest falls into the fire, dragging Kodo with him. As Dar leads Aruk’s citizens into battle against the incoming Juns, the hooded figure from the cave appears with two companions, who kill the remaining enemy soldiers. Tal receives a severe shoulder wound, but he survives the night. The next morning, Seth realizes that Dar is actually Zed’s firstborn son and true heir to Aruk. However, Dar leaves the city behind, insisting that Tal will be a great ruler once he is returned to full health. Kiri follows Dar and his animals to the cliffs, where they kiss. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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