Thursday, January 13, 2011

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Or, Star Trek IV: The Search for Whales.  Released in 1986, this was the fourth Star Trek journey to the big screen.  It starred the original TV series cast.  There is no need to go into any more discussion about the stars.

My impression of this movie is that they were saving money by using time travel to go back to the 1980s, which allowed location shooting rather than expensive, futuristic sets, makeup and costumes.  "Star Trek" on television did this a lot in the early days.  But the story still works, if you are a Star Trek fan.  It has all of the normal interactions between the characters, and it adds some new faces. 

As far as some of the old, but not very regular faces, we again see Mark Lenard (1924 - 1999) as Spock's father, and Jane Wyatt (1910 - 2006) as his mother. 

Jane Wyatt has 93 titles listed on IMDb, from 1934 to 1992.  Her early successes include Lost Horizon (1937) which was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and won two others. 

The advent of television seemed to be a good thing for Wyatt.  Her most famous role (at least for us baby boomers) was as Jane Anderson on "Father Knows Best."  In 1967 she is cast as Spock's mother, Amanda in an episode of "Star Trek."  The Voyage Home was her last motion picture.

Mark Lenard has 57 titles listed.  He did more work in the Star Trek franchise than Wyatt.  Not only was he Spock's father, Sarek, but he also played several other aliens.  His first appearance was as a Romulan captain, and he also played a Klingon.  Everybody knows he is really Vulcan.

Lenard started acting on TV in "Search for Tomorrow" around 1959.  His first movie was The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) directed by George Stevens (1904 - 1975) and starring Max von Sydow (b. 1929).  I saw that one at the Keswick Theatre!

Catherine Hicks (b. 1951) is the present day scientist who helps bring the whales back to the future.  (That sounds weird.)  Hicks also started on TV and had regular parts on "Ryan's Hope" and "The Bad News Bears."  She played Marilyn Monroe in the 1980 TV movie, "Marilyn: The Untold Story."  She was in some other good movies as well.  Look for her in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and Child's Play (1988).

One other interesting Bit Actor in this film was Brock Peters (1927 - 2005) who plays Star Fleet Admiral Cartwright.  Peters has 121 roles listed to his credit, starting in 1954.  Peters was also a singer, and was in the 1959 screen version of Porgy and Bess, starring Sidney Poiter (b. 1927), Dorothy Dandridge (1922 - 1965), Sammy Davis Jr., and Pearl Bailey

Peters then appears in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) with Gregory Peck.  He continues to work on TV and in movies, and does some voice-over as well.  In the 1990s he shows up in a regular role on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." 

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home may not be a perfect movie, but it is entertaining, and when you look at the Bit Actors involved, it becomes a good voyage.


  1. Very nice. I had forgotten Brock Peters played in the Star Trek films. ALso, I think it would be fair to mention Ms. Hicks' best known role, as the mother on Seventh Heaven.

  2. I'd forgotten that Brock Peters was in it (a far cry, indeed, from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD). THE VOYAGE HOME is probably my second favorite of the original STAR TREK film series, with the top spot going to THE WRATH OF KHAN.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Tom and Classic Film. Brock Peters is a good actor and he has a great voice. I always like actors with good voices, such as Basil Rathbone or Andy Devine. His part in ST-IV was rather small.

    I an not familiar with the TV series "Seventh Heaven" starring Hicks, but it is in its 11th year, so it must be good! She is still quite a looker!


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