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Old January 4 2014, 09:05 AM   #17
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

On a TV:
1. The Land Unknown (1957) -- C-
2. Seconds (1966) -- B+
3. Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956) -- C

Seconds has two remarkable performances (from John Randolph and Rock Hudson), incredible black and white cinematography (from James Wong Howe), superb direction (from John Frankenheimer), and a perfect, discordant score (from Jerry Goldsmith). The middle section sags just a bit, but other than that, this is an excellent, taught little SF thriller, which is reminiscent of European art cinema from the period, but has a definite American flavor to it.

Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers is watchable only because of Ray Harryhausen's superb "dynamation." Everything else, frankly, stinks. The characters' behavior defies explanation (there's no reason for the two leads to brush off their initial encounter with the flying saucer besides stupidity; the military's decision to shoot first and ask questions later defies reason without being questioned by the movie). Hugh Marlowe looks to me like Don Draper would look if John Hamm smoked and drake as much as his television character. That is to say, he looks old, weak, and worn out. I'm surprised he lived until 1982. The narration, typical of lesser efforts of the genre from this period, tells us things we already know or don't need to know.

Still, as with many of the films he worked on, Harryhausen's work is the selling point, and it makes this at least worth watching for his hand-made artistry.
"This begs explanation." - de Forest Research on Star Trek

My blog: Star Trek Fact Check.
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