Disc Jockey: The silly ‘Saturn 3′ is the only film written by Martin Amis

Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett (and a dog) star in the Martin Amis-written, Stanley Donen-directed sci-fi anti-classic "Saturn 3." Credit: Shout! Factory
Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett (and a dog) star in the Martin Amis-written, Stanley Donen-directed sci-fi anti-classic “Saturn 3.”
Credit: Shout! Factory

‘Saturn 3′
Shout! Factory
$26.99

In the Golden Age of Hollywood, the greatest of America’s writers — William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler — were whisked out to Los Angeles to make some quick, copious, dubious bucks writing movies. There, they attached their names to material fathoms below their talent — or even adapting eachother’s novels. (Faulkner did Chandler’s “The Big Sleep,” as well helped make a masterpiece of “To Have and Have Not,” generally agreed upon as Hemingway’s worst.) Many of them turned to drink. The Coens’ “Barton Fink” is about just this subject, with John Mahoney as its own boozing Faulkner.

Decades later, Martin Amis escaped this particular patch of quicksand. The acid-tongued English novelist (and current Cobble Hill resident) never brought up his brief, dispiriting stint in Hollywood within the pages of “Experience,” his 2000 memoir. He didn’t have to: A version of the events cropped up in his beloved 1984 novel “Money.” Among the grotesques met by our self-destructive anti-hero — a British commercial director hoping to make his La-La Land debut — is Lorne Guyland, an aging ham who insists on thrusting his decaying body upon a young actress.

One need not look far for its inspiration. As it happens, Amis’ sole screenwriting credit remains “Saturn 3,” a 1980 sci-fi and bad cinema entry that boasts Kirk Douglas, 64, cavorting — in the shower, in bed, often wincingly au natural — with Farrah Fawcett on a remote space station. There’s more: There’s Harvey Keitel, with a ponytail, dubbed by a less Brooklyn-accented voice artist. There’s also a randy eight-foot robot with no head.

Even the ambitious Amis-head won’t be able to find authorial marks throughout this chamber piece, which sports only three main (human) characters, struggling to defeat the cunning and deadly killer bot. For what it’s worth, Amis’ work may have once read well: When Johnny Carson jokingly brought it up a year after its withering box office performance, Fawcett claimed the script was butchered in production.

Perhaps the strangest credit of all is its director: Stanley Donen. Best cherished for his musicals (“Singin’ in the Rain,” “It’s Always Fair Weather,” etc.), Donen adapted strangely and richly to the ‘60s, churning out the zoom-heavy likes of “Arabesque” and the devastating, time-hopping relationship saga “Two for the Road.”

Donen was a last-minute replacement on “Saturn 3,” on which he had already been a producer, but he treats the stark, bare, largely black sets like one of his early musicals. Not much interesting happens in the film, but its sleek look is always worth gawking at, even when the frame contains the wrinkled sixty-something derriere of Hollywood’s most distinctive thespians. Watch it with the sound off and it almost — almost — seems pretty good.

Also out

‘Fast & Furious 6’
The sudden  death of Paul Walker has caused many who took him for granted to belatedly note that he was quite good at doing something few could do with the same ease: Play the rugged — if absurdly, cartoonishly handsome — everyguy. Here’s another chance to notice the thing you never really thought to notice. And there’s a hilariously illogical climactic chase on the world’s longest runway to boot.

‘Despicable Me 2’
No one’s clamoring for a second “Megamind,” but there can be as many “Despicable Me”s — also about a lovable supervillain ¬— as possible, largely because those Minions are objectively adorable.

‘Mary Poppins’: 50th Anniversary Edition
Released just in time for the “Poppins” biopic “Saving Mr. Banks,” here comes Disney’s delightful massacre of P.L. Travers’ books, featuring Julie Andrews as a very hot brunette.

Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project
The filmmaker is one of the few people the masses listen to for obscure film references, so here’s hoping people buy this box of films from Senegal, Morocco, Bangladesh and South Korea, including the latter country’s stupendous 1960 satire “The Housemaid.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.