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scsu1975

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

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

> Oooh, THE SNOW CREATURE! This is another I've never seen.

> Wasn't Paul Langton the uptight rich guy on the t.v. version of PEYTON PLACE?

 

Yes, I think he played Ryan O'Neal's father, Harrington.

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Stranger from Venus (1954)
Directed by Burt Balaban


Obscure, little-known film, is a huge misfire, a British attempt to duplicate The Day The Earth Stood Still.

The late Patricia Neal plays the lead, but mostly appears as window-dressing. The alien looks like Helmut Dantine. In fact, he is Helmut Dantine, which is another reason not to watch this bomb. For the first fifteen minutes, we only get to see the back of his head. Unfortunately, at some point he turns around. He wears the same expression on his face throughout the entire film. I couldn't tell if it was boredom or disdain, both of which I felt watching his performance. It's hard to believe that men from Venus speak with Austrian accents - then again, it was hard to believe Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Hercules.

Dantine lands in the British countryside, although we don't get to see his ship. Neal has an accident and he miraculously heals her. He also heals a guy with a limp. I think I read about this in the New Testament. Dantine strolls into the first bar/inn he sees and orders something to drink. We discover he does not like beer, but he loves water. He wears what look like jogging pants and some kind of pullover jacket. Fortunately, he is not wearing a spacesuit. I shudder to think of Helmut in a helmet.

Dantine is here to confer with our world leaders about, you guessed it, atomic energy. Of course, that's why he picked a farmhouse in which to stay. Apparently his GPS system wasn't working. Meanwhile, two more ships are on the way to pick him up.

Neal's fiance, played by Derek Bond, is a bit of a pain, kind of like the Hugh Marlowe character in Day, just not as good-looking and not as obnoxious. The rest of the cast just go through the motions. Look for Nigel Green in one of his earliest screen roles.

If Dantine had any sense, he would have taken the money he won in Casablanca and retired. The rest of us should head to Arthur Treacher's for fish & chips.



Helmut forgot to put on the emergency brake.
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This bar only serves hats.
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Helmut becomes engaged to the local doctor.
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Is it just me, or are there way too many cuckoo clocks on that wall?
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Helmut becomes engaged to the local police chief.
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"Hello ... anybody in there?"
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I confess, I co-produced this film.
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Wow how did Miss Neal end up in the British countryside, too? Oh, Roald Dahl.

Dahl to Dantine.

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Man, I never heard of this movie at all, much less with Patricia Neal.

Thanks for "unearthiing" it. I think it'll make a great double bill with Olivia de Havilland in THE DARK MIRROR on YouTube.

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Donovan's Brain (1953)
Directed by Felix Feist


It's been awhile since I've seen this one. It is still entertaining, as long as you can suspend your belief (and I'm not just talking about somebody keeping a brain in a tank) and you can keep from yelling obvious advice to the people onscreen.

Lew Ayres plays a doctor who, along with his semi-drunken assistant Gene Evans, is called to a plane crash. A millionaire named Warren Donovan has gone belly-up, so Ayres does what any good doctor would do. He removes Donovan's brain, over the objections of Evans and Ayres' wife, played by Nancy Davis (Reagan). Ayres is convinced the brain can think on its own (unlike members of Congress), but Evans is skeptical. This leads to some pre-Star Trek dialogue:

Ayres: "What do you think is registering on the oscillograph?"
Evans: "I'm a doctor, not an electrician."

Inevitably, the brain begins to assert control over Ayres. We find out Donovan was a blackmailer, a tax cheat, and an overall scumbag. Now Ayres resembles those remarks, and continues those practices. Ayres books a room in a great hotel, and gets the $50-per night Donovan rate on the sixth floor. The room service is unbelievable.

Ayres: "Send up a thick steak, porterhouse, rare, charred, esparagus, hollandaise, celery hearts, crisp, olives, large ones ..."

The food arrives in 72 seconds (yes, I timed it). Of course, he did say rare. His cigar order takes 90 seconds ... but that's because they had to send out for it.

Evans and Davis know something is amiss, because Ayres is cranky, demanding, and obnoxious, more so than he usually is in his films. Evans, to his credit, keeps thinking of ways to break the brain's contact. This includes trying to pull a switch in the garage, and, ultimately, trying to shoot the brain. Here's an idea ... why not just accidentally bump into the tank and knock it on the floor? Oh, right ... the film would be over in 45 minutes.

The cast performs well, especially Evans, although I got a bit tired of him calling Ayres "pal." I wanted to see more hysteria or anger or something out of Mrs. Reagan (it seemed very odd for Ayres to continually refer to her as "baby"). Steve Brodie does a nice job as a sleazy photographer who gets offed by the brain. John (Perry White) Hamilton has a bit as a banker.

This is certainly the best of the brain movies I've seen, but then, when you're comparing it to stuff like The Brain from Planet Arous, The Brain That Wouldn't Die, and They Saved Hitler's Brain, admittedly the bar is pretty low.



"Hello, Acme Plumbing? Can you get a man's head out of a fish tank?"
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"I call this a Nehru jacket. Trust me, it will catch on."
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"And don't call me Chief!"
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After all that Pabst, Evans doesn't wait to find a bathroom.
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"I had to go awaaaaaaaaaaaaay ... and get down on my knees and praayaaaay..."
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"Nancy, some time when the team is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys ... "
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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> I think I prefer *Donovan's Reef*. :D

 

I think I'd prefer Donovan's Reefer.

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This is not Lew's finest hour.

I prefer the earlier adaption, THE LADY AND THE MONSTER. Nothing beats Erich von Stroheim telling Vera Rhuba Ralston (you just don't get names like that any more in films) to get him the gigli saw.

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The Yesterday Machine (1963)
Directed by Russ Marker


In the hands of other filmmakers (i.e., those with talent), this movie would have had possibilities. Instead, it looks like a home video, replete with bad acting, bad dialogue, bad interiors, bad exteriors, and bad posteriors.

Two college kids on their way to a football game have a breakdown (in their car, not in the theater as the paying customers probably did). While the girl twirls her baton, the boy tries to fix the engine. Having no luck, they decide to wander through the woods looking for help. Gee, what could go wrong here? They run across two guys dressed as Civil War soldiers standing by a campfire. As the girl runs off, one of the soldiers shoots the boy twice. Somehow, the boy manages to stumble back to his car in record time and is picked up by a passing motorist.(Note - I did say there were two shots. Trust me - he was hit twice.)

Now the kid is in the hospital suffering from one gunshot wound. (Note - the doctor did say one shot.) Incredibly, the doctor is also a specialist in American military history (but not mathematics) and tells a reporter (played by James Britton in his one and only film) that the bullet he pulled out of the kid came from a civil war rifle.

Enter Tim Holt, as Lieutenant Partane, not to be confused with Captain Ptomaine. After an investigation determines that the girl is still missing, Holt remembers something that happened during World War II. Seems he and his fellow soldiers liberated a concentration camp, and found all the survivors to be very young. Seems there was also some kind of electrical contraption in a basement. Seems there was a Nazi scientist named Ernest Von Hauser who was doing some experiment.

Ah yes, I see the connection now, don't you?

While Holt gets nowhere, reporter Britton investigates with the missing girl's sister (a bow-wow played by Ann Pellegrino in her one and only film). Somehow they are teleported into the lab of Von Hauser (played by Jack Herman, who made four films), and we have to endure about 10 minutes of Nazi diatribes (Hitler was a genius) and scientific explanations (if you accelerate the speed of light, you can go backwards in time). Herman is a hoot, and looks like an emaciated Boris Karloff. His two goon assistants spout a few "jawohls" and "frauleins," but unfortunately, no "schweinhundts." There is also a black Egyptian female slave, apparently the inspiration for Cleopatra Jones.

Eventually Britton, Pellegrino, and the sister make it to safety, and the world is saved. Holt shows up in time to destroy the machine and deliver the last line of the movie: "Yesterday should be left alone, because today the world has enough problems, just trying to make sure there will be a tomorrow." Please, stick to hunting for treasure in the Sierra Madre, or jump into Von Hauser's time machine and stop production of this film.

At least the set designers deserve credit for getting the swastika pointed in the correct direction.



Zsa Zsa Gabor moonlights as a nurse.
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"She has quite a hitch in her git-along."
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"Look what I got for thirty-five bucks on ebay. Ed Wood's angora sweater!"
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Lady Gaga hits the skids.
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"Achtung! You zee, ve start with ze number von. Now vat do ve know about ze number von? Vell, it comes before two, but after zero, nicht wahr? So Einshtein vas right. Heil Hitler!"
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Tim Holt prays that John Huston will call him with another film offer.
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A rare still from D. W. Griffith's long-lost classic "Birth of an Aryan Nation."
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The fall of the Third Reich.
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I stumbled onto this thread a while ago and have been laughing so hard reading the synopses of these films my ribs will be sore for days. I read all of them and realize they must really have been made. Nobody could make this stuff up no matter what they were high or stoned on. I wonder if actually seeing them can beat the images your words have put in my mind.

 

I recognize many of the people credited in them and only hope they did them to save the home or car from being repossessed or starve off the eviction notice. Maybe someone told them it would be good experience for them or they?d finally get their SAG card. What a thing to be remembered for or have to explain to the grandkids when they ask if you were really in the movies; pushing papers doesn?t seem so bad now.

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Rich, is TERROR IN THE MIDNIGHT SUN also called INVASION OF THE ANIMAL PEOPLE? What are they, some alien strain of yeti or something?

 

I like Tim Holt, so I don't think I could bear to see him in anything like THE YESTERDAY MACHINE. But I guess I will, lol.

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

> Rich, is TERROR IN THE MIDNIGHT SUN also called INVASION OF THE ANIMAL PEOPLE?

 

Yes. By either name, it stinks.

 

>What are they, some alien strain of yeti or something?

 

I'm still trying to figure that out.

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Terror in the Midnight Sun (1959)
Directed by Virgil Vogel


Mish-mosh incomprehensible mess, filmed in northern Sweden, and unfortunately, released to the rest of the world.

Something lands in the arctic, but it's not James Arness. Scientists immediately spring into action. The leader of the expedition is played by character actor Robert Burton, the only recognizable face in the cast. He is accompanied by ladies' man Sten Gester, or maybe it's Sven Gali. The other members of the party are soon to go belly up, so there is no sense in even talking about them. Burton has a niece, played by Barbara Wilson. She is supposed to be an Olympic figure skater, but no one should believe that. For one thing, her breasts are too big. Gester immediately sets his sights on Wilson, so we get some byplay between the two and they go skiing (hey, does anybody remember that something crashed around here?).

After a night of dancing to a tune called "The Midnight Sun Lament," sung by some Swedish dame, Burton et al light out to investigate a report of dead reindeer. Apparently Santa was DUI.

Eventually, the group discover the crashed object, and Burton immediately concludes it's from outer space. When a member of the party disappears, Burton sends Gester and Wilson off to get help (yes, she stowed away on their plane). We get more skiing, and Wilson hurts her ankle. Fortunately, there is an uninhabited cabin nearby, so they just make themselves at home. Wilson disrobes off camera while Gester lights a fire on camera. This was meant to reawaken the audience. Then Gester skis off to get more help, and Wilson screams as she spots a giant fur ball at the window. It looks like that thing that William Shatner spotted on the airplane wing, only about ten times taller. Now the shat is about to hit the fan.

The creature makes off with Wilson, throws a few temper tantrums, and auditions for Star Wars. Inexplicably, some aliens (I guess that's who they were) appear and Wilson screams for the 47th time. Burton and some torch-bearing Lapps show up and destroy the creature. Gester and Wilson walk off in the distance to a reprise of "The Midnight Sun Lament," sung by the Golden Gate Quartet. They sound more like the Mills Brothers.

There is an alternate version of this film, put together by Jerry Warren, entitled "Invasion of the Animal People." I couldn't find this version, but it at least has the distinction of being narrated by John Carradine, which would raise its rating from "total garbage" to merely "mostly garbage."


"It says here 'an all expense paid trip to Sweden.' What have we got to lose?"
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Hedda Hopper has a cameo.
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Is there something odd about this guy's shadow?
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Apparently, Ingmar Bergman directed this segment.
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"Reporting live for the Weather Channel, ..."
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Angry villagers storm Castle Frankenstengester.
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This could be an argument against "intelligent design."
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This would be hilarious if the lady wasn't going through what seems to be a slow and agonizing death as we write. While I understand every minute is precious to her and her family, I can't help but pray for a little mercy as well.

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I had written this review awhile back, independently of Zsa Zsa's current condition - so let's regard this as a "tribute" and hopefully have some laughs:

Queen of Outer Space (1958)
Directed by Edward Bernds

This film seems to be spoofing itself, with mixed results. It is alternately hilarious, boring, and nonsensical - in every way, a splendid example of 1950s sci-fi.

A space crew is assigned to ferry a scientist to a space station. The stereotypical crew consists of the s t u d commander (Eric Fleming), the skirt-chasing navigator (Patrick Waltz), and the comic relief/wisecracker/occasional moron (Dave Willock). The scientist is played by Paul Birch. Before they can lift off, Waltz has to play tonsil hockey with his girlfriend, played by the ultra-sexy Joi Lansing, who has an all-too-brief appearance.

Now it's out into space, where they witness the destruction of the space station by some mysterious ray. The ray latches onto them, and we see ripped-off footage from World Without End, as the rocket crash lands in snow. Birch immediately concludes they are on Venus, but doesn't bother telling the crew why he knows that. Somehow, they manage to move from a polar ice cap to a lush looking forest, where they are captured by chicks in high heels and miniskirts. "They speak English!" exclaims Waltz, assuming his crewmates are too dumb to figure that out. Actually, besides English, the babes occasionally say something that sounds like "Bocce No," so I suspect they are really Italian and don't like lawn games. Then there is Zsa Zsa Gabor, playing Talleah, who is a researcher or something along those lines. Apparently the scientist-women on Venus are immigrants from Eastern Europe, just like on our planet. Zsa Zsa talks about the history of of "var" and "veapons" on Wenus ... er, Venus. The Queen, played by Laurie Mitchell, spends most of the film behind a mask, presumably because she was too embarrassed to be in this movie.

The Queen thinks the men are here to help launch an attack from Earth. This gives Fleming the chance to say "that's not true" an uncountable number of times. The Queen is not convinced, and ponders using the beta disintegrator to destroy the earth. Zsa Zsa utters the classic "I hate dat Queen," and helps Fleming and the others escape. At one point, Zsa Zsa tries to impersonate the Queen. Gee, I wonder what will give her away? The finale is a riot, as the men and the Venusian dolls stage a Pier Six brawl, while the disintegrator goes up in smoke.

If you can put up with endless talk, this movie isn't half-bad. It was filmed in Cinemascope, and the special effects and sets are decent, but the crew's uniforms are stolen from Forbidden Planet. Birch is competent as always, no matter what production he is in. Zsa Zsa spends most of the movie in heat, drooling over Fleming. She accomplishes the impossible by reaching her acting zenith and nadir in the same film. Waltz wastes no time finding a Venusian girlfriend, but I don't see his appeal. His nostrils are always flaring, like he just walked into the sigmoidoscopy recovery room at Northern Westchester Hospital and caught a whiff. Willock looks like a shriveled version of Ronald Reagan. And the less said about the giant spider, the better.

The dialogue is intentionally hilarious at times, and unintentionally risque at other times. For instance, when the men are hiding in a cave with their women, making out, and the fire is dying, each guy keeps telling the others to "get more wood." I don't think they were referring to Ed Wood, Jr.



Eric Fleming checks out the splendid cable reception on Venus. Obviously, Comcast doesn't have the franchise there.
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Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann's great-granddaughter (center) takes over the Tea Party,
circa 2080.
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"Dahlink, I love you, but gimme Pahk Avenue. No, vait, dat is my sister's line."
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Another problem plagues the production of Broadway's "Spiderman."
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Hillary Clinton's great-granddaughter (center) stars in the ill-fated television series
"Venus Makeover," circa 2080.
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A clip from the soon-to-be-released video Venusian Girls Gone Wild.
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Hey, make up your own caption for this one. I don't want to get banned.
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