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scsu1975

RICH'S B (AND WORSE) SCI-FI THREAD

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By popular demand (okay, one person asked me), I am placing all my previous pictorial reviews in this thread, and will be posting all my new ones here from now on.




















 

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> {quote:title=scsu1975 wrote:}{quote}

> By popular demand (okay, one person asked me)

 

Rich,

I would have asked, if I hadn't thought perhaps you'd be too busy with the holidays and all. ;)

 

Thanks for the effort, and giving us all some food for thought - as well as a chuckle or two.

 

Happy New Year to you! :D

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The Cyclops (1957)


Writer/Director/Producer Bert I. Gordon had a thing for making movies about giant and/or teenie weenie people. This one obviously falls into the first category.

Gloria Talbott plays a woman searching for her fiance, who was lost in a plane crash somewhere south of the border. Now if you can't figure out who the title character is from that clue, get lost and go contribute to the "Beat up on Ben Mankiewicz" thread.

Talbott enlists the aid of 40s leading men James Craig and Tom Drake. For laughs, she also brings along Lon Chaney, Jr. Guess which one turns rotten. Guess who doesn't come back alive.

We are treated to a few giant lizards and a giant hawk eating a giant rodent. Radiation is to blame, so they can't pin this one on George Bush. The Cyclops does not show his face (if you want to call it a face) until 45 minutes into this 65-minute opus. He is about 25 feet tall, has lost one eye, and all of his marbles. He wears a diaper. He kills a giant snake. He grunts and says "Bwaaaaah" a lot ...kind of like the sound Ralph Kramden made when he threw his back out while bowling.

Boring. Watch this with one eye closed - or better yet, close both of them.



This is either the plot or today's edition of the L.A. Times:
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Hester Prynne goes to confession.
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"Look baby, I'm not kidding. I really was in The Devil and Daniel Webster."
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"Come on, give! What did you do with Burgess Meredith??"
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"Bwaaah. Pull my finger."
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A rejected screen test for "Gulliver's Travels." For some reason the producers
did not want a silver-tinted bald-headed Gulliver in a diaper.
HLFHUpk.jpg



Bert "Eye" Gordon.
9f4xOgs.jpg

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LOL We need all the help we can get.

 

Mom asked me how I'd be spending New Year's Day. When I mentioned CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON, she goes, "There really is a movie with that title?"

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He grunts and says Bwaaaaah a lot

> kind of like the sound Ralph Kramden made when he threw his back out while bowling.

 

 

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! ("Hey, Ralph, it's GREAT to see you!")

 

I'm going to watch THE CYCLOPS right now (with my two eyes) and double-bill it with CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON, even if Sonny Tufts IS in the cast.

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Oh, heavens,, Rich, where do I begin with this monotonous BAD drek? (as opposed to the GOOD bad stuff) Bert Gordon strikes again. (yawn) But first off, I must give kudos to the English-language challenged Mexican actor playing the village governor dispensing advice to Gloria Talbott in the opening scene.

It is to his credit that every torturously conceived syllable not in his native tongue that he valiantly and precisely utters, can actually be understood.

With more heart-stopping tension than exists anywhere else in the movie, just as it seems he'll trip up, he plows through the dialogue with impressive aplomb.

 

Gloria wears ONE expression on her face for the better part of the entire film: p.o.'d, even as the plane carrying her, hunky James Craig (he actually looks BETTER here than he did in his heyday), Tom Drake and Lon Chaney, is threatening to go into a tailspin, initiated by Lon, because he just doesn't give a rat's arse about the safety of himself or the rest of the crew, even when told there are dangerous downdrafts. "Downdrafts, updrafts, what do I care?" Apparently he doesn't realize that if they all die from his stupidity, he'll never get his grubby hands on what he thinks is uranium and therefore tons of riches down in the valley they're going to in search of Gloria's fiance who has been missing the past three years. Chaney is just TERRIBLE as the "colorful" greedy villain with his raspy-voiced, gesticulating, over-played self, I was desperately hoping that when the gang got to their destination, Alfonso Bedoya and his bandits from THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRE MADRE would come down from the mountains and put "Marty" out of his avarious misery. Literally every time Lon opened his headache-enducing pie hole, I was SCREAMING at YouTube: "SHUT THE BLEEP UP!!"

 

I swear the suit that James Craig wears in the beginning looks as though the entire population of that Mexican village is living inside it.

 

When the giant lizard appears, scientist James is surprised. We know this because he takes the pipe he's been smoking out of his mouth.

 

Tom Drake as "Lee" constantly refers to himself in the third person, telling everyone he is in varying degrees an Indian.

 

You were right -- the Cyclops sounds EXACTLY like Jackie Gleason in that episode!!

 

There are credits for "Aeronautical" and "Snake" Supervision.

 

There must have been one for "Dumb".

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Jan 3, 2010 7:23 PM

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> Gloria wears ONE expression on her face for the better part of the entire film: p.o.'d, even as the plane carrying her, hunky James Craig (he actually looks BETTER here than he did in his heyday), Tom Drake and Lon Chaney, is threatening to go into a tailspin, initiated by Lon, because he just doesn't give a rat's arse about the safety of himself or the rest of the crew, even when told there are dangerous downdrafts. "Downdrafts, updrafts, what do I care?" Apparently he doesn't realize that if they all die from his stupidity, he'll never get his grubby hands on what he thinks is uranium and therefore tons of riches down in the valley they're going to in search of Gloria's fiance who has been missing the past three years. >

 

That whole scene made no sense to me.

 

> Tom Drake as "Lee" constantly refers to himself in the third person, telling everyone he is in varying degrees an Indian.

 

He used fractions just to confuse a modern audience.

 

> You were right -- the Cyclops sounds EXACTLY like Jackie Gleason in that episode!!

 

I think the "voice effect" was by Paul Frees - he is listed in the credits.

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The plane scene sets new standards for dumbness. (Gloria doesn't even register an iota of fear) You'd think the script would have waited for them to land before Chaney started in on his myopically-greedy bellowing. (and what was with his SMILE? He indeed seemed to be Lenny-like the way that dopey grin kept spreading across his doughy face)

 

Our boy-next-door Tom Drake -- what a winning performance THAT was, lol.

 

Not one of Paul's better vocal assignments.

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Jan 3, 2010 11:00 PM

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I can only imagine how much worse CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON would be without the true talents and charisma of Victor Jory and Marie Windsor. They seem to be in their own noir and not some stupid science fiction movie with the acting-challenged and irritating Sonny Tufts. Jory has the best lines: "Believe me, baby, if I ever fell in love with you, I'd chase you across the world, around the moon, and all the way stations in between. Now go on and beat it!" "I can be had", and (carrying a gun) "I'm all for love and friendship, but I worry"

 

Marie is the ship's navigator, but we're also reminded she's just a woman, because before they land she takes out a compact and starts primping. Yet she's also a tough cookie, feeling "at home" with a pack of cigarettes stashed in her pants pocket, and like a true femme fatale, manipulating the men around her, albeit with the telepathic help of the cat-women. This feline description is coined by Jory himself. One of them approaches Vic with a platter of what look like over-sized powdered sugar doughnuts, but he's not really interested in food or the girls, only Marie, who keeps him off balance by alternately encouraging and then rebuffing his ardent advances, and letting him think that

Sonny is the man for her. If you can believe it, Victor Jory in this role is strangely attractive -- I'd certainly go out with him, if only he'd lose some of his cynicism and that ever-present gun.

 

There has to be the obligatory greedy crew member, and Douglas Fowley is it. He's constantly thinking up get-rich-quick schemes: "Hey, I can bottle this air as moon mist for coughs and asthma!" He's also thrilled to discover that there is gold in them thar lunar hills, and is eagerly led on by his own personal moon chick.

 

The dominant cat-woman greets Marie: "Welcome to the moon". That's hospitality. A sample of their food "tastes a little like honeydew melon".

 

There's also the nice-guy crew member who falls for the sweet alien.

He's describing to her the joys of Earth life, and she's mesmerized:

"I think I'd like to have what you call a Coke". She also utters the classic: "Do you have a special girl back home?"

 

The "cat"-women (especially when they do their (also obligatory) dance numbers to the gods -- complete with arm moves that resemble traffic signals -- are about as exotic as a bunch of black leotarded amateurs auditioning for Frank Sinatra's nightclub in PAL JOEY.

 

The first shot we see of the moon's surface looks like John Cassavetes, Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara of HUSBANDS threw up on it..

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Jan 4, 2010 3:01 PM

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I think I have a lot of catching up to do, Bronxie. I may become your newest convert to this thread, succumbing to the spell you and SCSU's commentary are having on me. I must admit I am a fan of bad old B-Movies with poor acting, amateur special effects and crazy plotting. It pinches a little to read the cynicism of the reviews, b'cuz I feel so protective of these old flicks...but I can't deny that without the romanticism I attach to these films...you two are absolutely right. Cheesey!!! :D

 

CAREER TRAJECTORY

 

How does one go from M-G-M, "The Human Comedy" working with the great Walter Huston, appearing opposite Judy Garland, being rather villainous in "Gone With the Wind" or the Ultimate Lenny or Wolf Man. Only to appear in these kinds of films? It makes me feel sad for those stars. Well, all except Sonny Tufts. The big lug was so lucky to even be in films. (His best partner was Paulette Gorddard, though I don't know how lucky SHE felt.

 

"THE CYCLOPS"

 

I just saw "The Cyclops" and kind of laughed at how long it took for Gloria to figure out that that was her husband in those gigantic Depends. If you can believe this, I truly did have one iota of a moment of suspense as their plane was lifting off of the island. The Cyclops had his arms outstretched as though he were about to block a Giants field goal. Of course I knew that they would make it, but his arms outstretched did give me pause. (Sometimes I have the wonderment of a child. And I don't want to lose that even IF I am a pre-Senior Citizen-Baby Boomer). Wasn't he the same guy (Glenn Langan) that was in "The Fifty Foot Man"?? Or am I getting my giants mixed up. Correct me gently, please. :P

 

"CAT WOMEN OF THE MOON

 

What...the June Taylor Dancers were unavailable?

 

Let me get ready for your suggested second feature of this Bad B-Double Bill: "Cat Women of the Moon." I saw a little so far and I swear at 8:30 into the film I thought I heard the strains of the Twilight Zone theme plucked by a guitar. Aaaah, Marie Windsor; gorgeous eyes, luxurious hair. ("Lads.") She'll show those cat women a thing or two or three or four even. Funny, now that you mention Victor Jory (whose voice is kind of thrilling delivering that line to primping femme fatale Marie Windsor), it's quite an image seeing him laying on the cot, legs crossed, sucking his injured thumb. He made me think of him as Cleopatra. Uh-oh...I think the cynicism is creeping in.

 

Well, here goes...

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> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

 

> "THE CYCLOPS"

>Wasn't he the same guy (Glenn Langan) that was in "The Fifty Foot Man"?? Or am I getting my giants mixed up. Correct me gently, please. :P

 

Glenn Langan was the title character in The Amazing Colossal Man. In the sequel, War of the Colossal Beast, his part was played by Duncan Parkin, who also played the Cyclops in the movie we are discussing. In these last two films, he was disfigured in a similar manner- maybe because in Colossal Beast, the producers didn't want to show they had to get another actor to play the part.

Colossal Beast is available online and I will get to it one of these days.

 

Meanwhile, I will be posting a review of 1951's Unknown World in another day or two. I'm sure everyone is waiting for that with baited breath.

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As a fellow pre-Senior Baby Boomer, you know that one of our most endearing traits (or not, according to my mother's generation) is our insistance on not really growing up and yes, holding on to that sense of wonderment, so it seems natural for people our age, even if we also can appreciate the more sophisticated classic films, to hold on to our beloved childish, childhood "drek". I get bombarded with info from AARP and always write back to them, 'I don't qualify as an adult yet! I still watch The Three Stooges!"

 

One of the "funnest" parts of accessing the kidlet in us is the joy we get when the monsters appear. We're cheering for the poor misunderstood creatures, and know that it's the crass, insensitive humans who want to exploit them or shoot first and ask questions later (if at all). I can't really be cynical when I watch GOOD sci-fi/horror -- that's when the awe and wonderment really kick in. It's only stuff like THE CYCLOPS and CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON that bring out the claws, because I want so much for the story to carry me away into a realm of enchantment. I get disillusioned with bad scripts, acting, and special effects. It sort of breaks the spell. But of course in a perverse way it's a never-ending hoot to see them get it all WRONG.

 

Langan I believe was The Amazing Colossal Man (he also wore a diaper; it's amazing how modest these giants are) I was introduced to him in this part and could never think of Glenn in any other role other than the hulking bald-headed mutant. Can you imagine my surprise when I saw him later on opposite Gene Tierney in DRAGONWYCK as the romantic young doctor?

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Jan 4, 2010 4:14 PM

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SCSU: Thanx for correctly identifying the fifty foot man movie for me. Of course I knew that but was too lazy to wrack my brain for the proper title. I've seen them both. Thank you. I look forward to your future review. Yes, my breath is baited.

 

BOCA QUEEN OF IPANEMA: You so succinctly express the psychology of a pre-Senior Baby Boomer. And yes, love the good sci-fi/horror (pre-Senior Baby Boomers say sci-fi NOT sy fy), mock the drek we love. And even with the dreck...they do aspire to be good. Bert I. Gordon et al are not purposely trying to sabotage a movie and release crap.

 

The ones that I don't like are the modern-day movies that try to be like those great 50's B-flicks.

 

I am your newest convert Rich, Bronxie. Take-me-to-your-leader. Oh...you ARE the leaders.

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Ugh, I HATE that new sci-fi appellation. I can't even bring myself to write it.

Have you ever seen MATINEE? There's a nifty, hilarious homage to the old 50's monster flicks. Their movie-within-the-movie is called "MANT" and it's advertised by "Lawrence Woolsey" (the William Castle take-off played by John Goodman) as: "Half Man -- Half Ant -- All Terror!" Check it out.

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Unknown World (1951)


Unknown cast and unknown director is more like it. Oh, you'll recognize character actor Victor Killian and perennial German scientist Otto Waldis, who sports a bad Larry Fine haircut. But that's it.

Killian is miscast as a scientist and leader of a group known as the Society to Save Civilization, which, ironically, goes belly up during the film. Killian is so miscast that his name isn't even listed in the cast. He has something called a "Cyclotran," a vehicle which he wants to use to carry his crack team of scientists into a volcano, in search of a safe place to live since he feels the destruction of mankind is imminent. The Cyclotran looks like a Dustbuster on steroids. Killian's team consists of Waldis and several nondescript people (it would not be fair to refer to them as "actors"). These people consist of a demolitions expert, a blonde female medical doctor (and Janet Leigh lookalike) described as an "ardent feminist," a guy who is bankrolling the expedition, and a few others who are just along to get killed. The crew face the usual crises, such as poison gas, The National Park Service, no water, and no comfort stations. The blonde falls for the bankroller; an obvious plot development, since they begin the film disliking each other.

The Cyclotran bores its way into the volcano; meanwhile, the audience is bored out of its skull for most of the 74 minutes. The inside of the volcano looks suspiciously like Carlsbad Caverns. What this film needed was sabotage, or a dinosaur, or maybe a Cyclops. The ending is interesting, when the characters discover that their new haven comes with a major problem; but you may be asleep by then. There is almost no action, way too much talking, and no sex ... sort of like the TCM Message Boards.

Ernest Gold wrote the score.



Al Gore, the retirement years.
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"A three-hour tour, my ***!"
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Boring.
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"Look lady, I'm just a cable repairman. Call TCM if you want to complain about all those
new movies they're showing."
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They are inside a volcano, and this guy is wearing a sportjacket. Perfectly normal.
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Boring.
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"Buddy, you can romance me all you like, but tell Hitch I am not getting in that shower!"
8dQcvW2.jpg



Hey now.
FPqLC02.jpg

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> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

> I can't do "hilarious homages" Bronxie. I like to see the real thing.

 

I think you did mention this to me before (in connection with Mystery Science Theatre) It's true that many of these "gems" are funnier than any parody could ever hope to be. (but MANT cracks me up)

 

 

 

 

< But I will give Victor Killian's foray as scientist a whirl...>

 

I think I'm gonna take a pass on UNKNOWN WORLD for just a littlle while and instead check out THE WASP WOMAN link in Rich's other (Horror) thread. As I remember it, Susan Cabot was creepy looking even BEFORE she becomes an insect.

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Jan 6, 2010 6:37 PM

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Jan 6, 2010 6:38 PM

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> {quote:title=Ollie_T wrote:}{quote}

> Bronxie, I have always enjoyed MATINEE and am sorry it's not been given a DVD release longer than 3 weeks (late '90s, I think).

 

I'm sorry too. And I love the early '60's retro Florida atmosphere.

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