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FredCDobbs

Great 1950s Sci Fi movies overnight

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> The irony is that now I LOVE to watch almost ANY

> movie or show set in NEW YORK.Go figure!

 

I do too. In fact I spent about 4 months living in New York in 1966, but I found that in order for me to live full-time in New York, I would need to have one of the higher paid jobs in the city.

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> I see the religious allegory in DtESS, but I'm a

> preacher's kid and an English Lit major, so I tend to

> see it everywhere. This is the kind of allegory

> that's both beautiful and inspiring.

>

> That said, "Red Planet Mars" was almost painful to

> watch, both because of the cultural stereotypes and

> the cold war drumbeating (read the imdb comments on

> the movie -- there are people still fighting over

> it). I found "The 27th Day" nearly as bad -- the idea

> that the solution to all of our problems is a bomb

> that kills only the "bad people" was just disturbing.

 

I never thought I?d look back on that era with a feeling of nostalgia, but I do when I see these old films. It all seems a lot better now since the Russians didn?t blow us up as we thought they might do.

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For me what nostalgia I feel is almost camp. I have to acknowledge that the Soviets presented a serious threat, although missiles in the hands of the USSR was probably safer for the world than all the nuclear material that ended up missing after they fell.

 

I actually laughed out loud during the scene where the gunfire erupts on the hymn singing Russians -- the expression on the Russian commander's face reminded me of the Grinch when he realizes that the Whos are singing Christmas songs even though he stole all their presents. It may have been more effective at the time, but in 2007 it comes off as ludicrous.

 

I recommend a 1982 movie called "The Atomic Cafe," a documentary of the Cold War made up entirely of film clips from old newsreels and educational films. As we've seen the last few years, people are capable of coming up with unserious responses to serious threats.

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That said, "Red Planet Mars" was almost painful to watch, both because of the cultural stereotypes and the cold war drumbeating (read the imdb comments on the movie -- there are people still fighting over it).

 

 

That's the one thing that always bugs me about the IMDb -- how many people seem to praise or pan a movie based on whether it has the "appropriate" political message. Look at some of the comments on Quintet, for example. Horrible scifi mess, but because it's Altman and is an apparent allegory for nuclear winter, some people seem to think it's visionary.

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I post on "Remember Last Night?" (since it was last night), but just popping in to say I agree -- great sci fi films (what was the one shown early with James Arness as "The Monster" at the North Pole???) which actually stole my attention away from the Twilight Zone marathon, but what were they thinking with "Bikini Beach"?

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otterhere, It's "The Thing from Another Planet" I switched from The Twilight Zone to The Honeymooners.

 

 

vallo

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> what was the one shown early with James

> Arness as "The Monster" at the North Pole???)

 

That was "The Thing from Another World," widely considered one of the sci-fi classics of the era. It was based on a story by John W. Campbell, Jr., who as editor of Astounding Science Fiction was credited with launching the careers of Heinlein, Asimov, and other important sci fi writers.

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Thanks!!! Interesting vegetation theme running through all these flicks... I kept looking for Matt Dillon all through this one (knew he was in there somewhere) and even thought, hmmmm, what a hunky monster!!! But didn't put two-and-two together till the credits rolled... What a thankless part... Was is his first???

 

Hope everyone caught a young "Helen Crump" in "The Blob"; didn't go off in that shrill, wild-eyed way of hers (like she used to at Andy Griffith), but neat to see...

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Re: The Day the Earth Stood Still

From what I've read, the religious overtones that Fred mentioned in The Day the Earth Stood Still were evident to the Production Code boys at the time of the film's production. Originally, Edmund North, the screenwriter adapting Harry Bates' short story "Farewell to the Master" had Mr. Carpenter (Michael Rennie) revived permanently from the dead after Gort took him into the spaceship after he'd been shot. The censors pressured the studio to remove that element, (they amended it to make Rennie return to life temporarily), and there were loads of other allusions to Christ throughout the story--not least of which was that the man from space adopted the name Carpenter, and the initials (J.C.) seen on the bag which he had filched when escaping from the hospital. Interestingly, the director contradicts this widely circulated account.

 

On the dvd commentary of the movie, director Robert Wise discussed the fact that certain elements of the story were changed to accomodate the studio largely to keep within the budget and the production code office changes reflected more concern about the possible risqu? relationship between Carpenter and the Patricia Neal character, not necessarily any religious qualms . Perhaps disingenuously or disarmingly, Wise stated that he was unaware of the religious overtones in the story that have since been pointed out to him since its release. Wise made an interesting comment that artists and craftsmen are often blissfully unconcious of the symbolism and significance of what they create, and can only begin to see the impact of their work once it goes out into the world. Perhaps he was right. And maybe a movie is just a movie!

;)

 

Re: Red Planet Mars

As I mentioned in my original post on this thread, I don't think that such films as Red Planet Mars were entirely successful in dealing with the ideas that the makers brought up. Aside from sheer entertainment value, the fact that any religious and philosophical ideas were discussed at all in an American movie, however crudely it seems in retrospect, makes them interesting to me. A movie made at the same time, such as The Thing from Another World was light years away in sophisticated moviemaking and toyed with some of the same ideas in a wholly entertaining way during the same period. The makers also had a considerably higher budget, too.

 

Yet, I think that Red Planet Mars caught something of the flavor of the McCarthy period and the influence of religion on political issues of that period. Though born several years after these movies were made, I vividly remember being taught to pray for the conversion of Russia, as well as being aware of international tensions as early as five years of age. Maybe we can look back on all this as an aberration in history, but issues of hysteria, fear, a search for spiritual solace and international economic and political problems, even when raised by a somewhat cartoonish sci-fi movie such as Red Planet Mars seem pretty relevant and interesting even today, at least to me.

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The running time of "Destination Moon" is 92 minutes. My recording of "Destination Moon" is 90 minutes. So, I guess...the four astronauts survived their trip to the moon? No astronauts pulled out of the space ship by an oxygen tank?

 

By the way, one interesting thing used so often by 1950's science fiction writers it is almost a required item is the science lesson. For instance, the day before TCM's 1950 science fiction programming, I watched three genre films from the 1950s, early 1960s. Claude Rains in "Battle Of The Worlds" from 1961, John Carradine in "The Incredible Petrified World" from 1957 and Bruce Kellog in "Unknown World" from 1951. The latter two movies include a few minutes of teaching science. "The Incredible Petrified World" includes some claptrap about a mysterious layer of something found in all the oceans of the world. Paraphrasing the science narration, "This is what we think this layer is...but, let's take a trip down there and find out what that mysterious layer of gunk is all about...". "Unknown World" starts with a faux newsreel. The newsreel narrator explains, "The Earth's surface is about to be re-surfaced via a worldwide atomic firestorm. So, let's build this drilling ship and drill towards the center of the Earth and find that cavern we know is down there. A cavern big enough to hold all the people worth saving...".

 

At least one of TCM's 1950s science fiction movies programmed yesterday includes a science lesson scene..."Destination Moon". "Destination Moon" has a cartoon character, Woody The Woodpecker, explaining to moon mission investors the science of sending a ship to the moon. A clever money raising tactic...having a cartoon character explain the moon mission. I mean, if a woodpecker can explain the science of a moon trip...how difficult a task to get some astronauts on the moon? We take checks and credit cards...

 

I did not watch the other science fiction films programmed yesterday on TCM. Did "Red Planet X" have a dubious science lesson scene?

 

Oh yeah...wasn't the science lesson via cartoon thing lifted by Steven Spielberg for his film, "Jurassic Park"? I will answer my question...yes, the idea was recycled.

 

Rusty

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It occurred to me it must've taken a lot of courage for the first astronauts to venture into space -- especially after seeing all the horrors that awaited them via movies!!!

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> It occurred to me it must've taken a lot of courage

> for the first astronauts to venture into space --

> especially after seeing all the horrors that awaited

> them via movies!!!

 

Yep, I would fly in one of those early space ships. Or in the modern ones either.

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>>Yep, I would fly in one of those early space ships. Or in the modern ones either. <<

 

Not Me Fred, most of the early Space Ships were Paper Plates or some kind of "Tupperware" that were used in films..

I'll stay on this Planet. Where I only have to worry about Psychos and an Occasional "Rock Monster"...or some Atomic Thing from Japan...

 

vallo

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I had my VCR set to tape pretty much all of these great Sci-Fi flicks, but it misfired early on and I did not get to watch or tape 27th DAY - which was the one I most wanted to see, of course. Does anyone out there have a copy they could lend or send me? It would be greatly appreciated! Please let me know if you can help out - Thanks a lot!

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> For me what nostalgia I feel is almost camp. I have

> to acknowledge that the Soviets presented a serious

> threat, although missiles in the hands of the USSR

> was probably safer for the world than all the nuclear

> material that ended up missing after they fell.

 

I think "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was a parable on the Cold War too. The American and Russian Communists were said to be mindless zombies who all thought alike and had no emtoions, like the pod people in the movie. And who does the hero call for help? The local police? No. The military? No. He calls the FBI.

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