The Glitterball (1977)
Article 6067 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Harley Cokeliss
Featuring Ben Buckton, Keith Jayne, Ron Pember
What it is: The Children’s Film Foundation strikes again.
Two children have a close encounter with a tiny spherical alien that is stranded on planet earth and needs a massive amount of electrical energy to summon a mothership to rescue it. Will it get away despite interference from the military and a petty thief?
Those looking for another variation on the type of story Spielberg used for his E.T. will quickly recognize that this movie shares some definite plot elements with the later movie; there’s a definite similarity in the alien’s attempt to contact the mothership and the whole “E.T. Phone Home” plot element. Granted, this movie has none of the grandiosity of the later movie; it’s pretty slight, with a lion’s share of the plot focused on the hapless petty thief. Nonetheless, it’s watchable and harmless; it keeps the plot moving, even to the point where it starts running its end credits in the middle of the “final scene” of the movie; whatever its other flaws (such as a plethora of coincidences), the story is efficiently told. All in all, this is about average for a Chidlren’s Film Foundation movie.