CANNON MONTH: Sleeping Beauty (1987)

Those Cannon Movie Tales keep coming and this time, Menahem and Yoram were able to lure David Irving back for one more chance to direct, as well as a cast that includes Morgan Fairchild as the queen, David Holliday (the voice of Virgil Tracy on Thunderbirds) as her king and Tahnee Welch as their daughter, Princess Rosebud, who is born through the aid of Kenny Baker, the man who played R2D2, before she’s cursed by a Red Fairy played by Sylvia Miles from Midnight Cowboy to remind you this is a Cannon Movie. Yes, because she wasn’t invited to the party, she’s destined to die from a finger prick while sewing, so the king gets rid of all sewing machines and the people of his kingdom suffer the curse of bad fashion. Perhaps the White Fairy, played by Go-Go Jane Wiedlin, can save them all.

Man, Jane Wiedlin! She’s also in Clue as the singing telegram girl, a communications officer in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Joan of Arc in the first Bill & Ted movie, alongside Mike Patton and Karen Black in Firecracker and as the voice of returning Scooby-Doo character and Hex Girls drummer Dusk in several cartoons. She also directed her own film, The Pyrex Glitch.

Anyways, the White Fairy figures out how to transmute the curse of death into a centuries long sleep for the entire kingdom, which seems like putting the needs of the few or the one ahead of the many in a reverse Spock theorem but there you go. Of course a prince (Nicholas Clay, Lancelot from Excalibur and Oliver from Lady Chatterley’s Lover) comes and saves everyone with a kiss.

Oh yeah — the master elf is played by Shaike Ophir, who was Kassam in King Solomon’s Mines, Father Nicholas in The Delta Force and Lelz in America 3000. This was his last role and he was the first mime ever in Israel.

Want some more facts? This was written by Michael Berz, who played Kenny in Cannon’s Hot Resort. He also was behind the Cannon Snow White. To save money — Cannon style — this was shot simultaneously with Hansel and Gretel, which sounds like a good idea, but both crews were fighting over the equipment, costumes and sets throughout.

Meanwhile, Daryl Hannah’s sister Page — she’s one of the girls killed by The Raft in Creepshow 2 — was fired after a week of shooting and replaced by Welch. Then all of the fairy costumes got stolen. And then David Irving had just a week to prep for this movie after filming went long on another Cannon Movie Tale, Rumpelstiltskin. That may be why he referred to this film as a nightmare.

Of all the Cannon Movie Tales, this might be my favorite. Admittedly, the bar is not high.

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