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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

View Poll Results: Rate "The Cage"
1 1 3.13%
2 0 0%
3 0 0%
4 0 0%
5 0 0%
6 3 9.38%
7 6 18.75%
8 12 37.50%
9 6 18.75%
10 4 12.50%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 8 2014, 10:10 AM   #16
Elvira
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

BoredShipCapt'n wrote: View Post
I wish they'd just release the print and give us the opportunity to try it...
The original print is out there, I saw it years ago (VHS tape), it was in black & white and apparently uncut.

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Old January 8 2014, 10:13 AM   #17
Lance
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
I know people might not understand what I'm saying but is has too many white handsome all American boys for me. The crew is too good-looking, too gun-ho.
The navigator, "Jose" Tyler, is supposed to be of a mixed race. But there's no indication of it, he just looks like any old hot-shot All American Boy. His casting went a bit wrong IMHO.
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Old January 8 2014, 02:06 PM   #18
GourdShipCapt'n
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

T'Girl wrote: View Post
BoredShipCapt'n wrote: View Post
I wish they'd just release the print and give us the opportunity to try it...
The original print is out there, I saw it years ago (VHS tape), it was in black & white and apparently uncut.

Commercially released tape? That's news to me. Now if they'd only put it on DVD...
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Old January 8 2014, 10:30 PM   #19
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

BoredShipCapt'n wrote: View Post
Sadly we can't judge the pilot exactly as it was because it's not available in its original form. I'm referring to the surviving black-and-white copy of the pilot, which has yet to be released intact on DVD.

Obviously the lack of color means the B&W copy itself is not "exactly as it was," but it should be made available to help us form a complete picture of what the original was like. The main differences are the original voice of the Keeper and the pacing of various scenes (in the making of The Menagerie, pregnant pauses between lines of dialogue were edited out in many places to save time and those have never been restored).
As far as I know Roddenberry had the only surviving B&W print. I saw it in the 70's when he did college tours and it was wonderful.

I wonder if Rod Roddenberry has his dad's copy? Susan Sackett might know too as she wrote his college speeches and set up a lot of his travel back then.

I'd love to see it again.
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Old January 9 2014, 12:15 AM   #20
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
. . . And I know people might not understand what I'm saying but is has too many white handsome all American boys for me. The crew is too good-looking, too gun-ho.
What did you expect? It was made in 1964, for goodness' sake.
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Old January 9 2014, 12:32 AM   #21
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

A flawed masterpiece for me which I would rate as an 8. Just an amazing first try. I think some of the editing could have been tighter. Although it is fun to see the full version and a unique experience to see for the first time so many years after TOS ended; I prefer the cut in "The Menagerie" for the most part. For example the fight scene in "The Cage" with the Kylar (sp?) is cut MUCH better in "The Menagerie" IMHO. It still drives me crazy in "The Cage" when Vina and Pike stop to have a conversation while going up the stairs after Pike knocks down the Kylar: RUN!!!!
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Old January 9 2014, 05:35 AM   #22
Harvey
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

scotpens wrote: View Post
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
. . . And I know people might not understand what I'm saying but is has too many white handsome all American boys for me. The crew is too good-looking, too gun-ho.
What did you expect? It was made in 1964, for goodness' sake.
While it's important to have historical perspective, that includes remembering that I Spy premiered on September 15, 1965, and was probably piloted months earlier (around the time Star Trek's first pilot was being filmed). Also, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," which features Lloyd Haynes and George Takei in supporting roles, went before the cameras only seven months after "The Menagerie" was photographed.

And yet, despite requests from NBC to have a multi-racial cast, the first pilot is one background actor away from being all-white. Even José Tyler, intended to be half-Latino, was played by an actor of western European descent (and, having read several casting memos for the first pilot, I can assure you that just about every other actor who was considered for the role was white).
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Old January 9 2014, 06:44 PM   #23
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

BillJ wrote: View Post
Solid 7.

I think the thing that hurts the episode more than anything is how wooden Hunter and Barrett were. I love Shatner but the series with Hunter as the star is an interesting "what if?"
Same.

Watching "The Cage" I miss some of those familiar shots of the ship in orbit like we'd see on TOS when scenes switched from planet to aboard ship. In "The Cage" we get only one decent look at the Enterprise and the rest are distance shots of the 3 footer. Mind you I know when the 1st pilot was shot the 11 footer was not yet lighted.

This is what I thought of it a few years ago when I revisited the episode.

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Captain Christopher Pike is captured by aliens and subjected to convincing illusions for some unknown purpose.

If you're old enough you can't help but view this from two alternating perspectives. How this might have been seen like in 1964/65 and how it stands today with everything that's come along since.

By early 1960s standards this is a first-rate piece of work. I think you can clearly see influences of the better SF films of the 1950s and early '60s yet you can also see similarities between this and productions like The Twilight Zone and most particularly The Outer Limits. Yes, it has some limitations of television production from that era and yet I don't see too much difference between this and what you could have seen in a feature film.

For me the most obvious limitation---and this may have been a constriction of time and budget rather than ability---is the lack of good external shots of the Enterprise filming miniature beyond the opening sequence. And I still like that iconic introductory shot of the Enterprise. Yes, it is limited by the miniature not being lighted and by the awkward f/x work as the p.o.v. zooms into the bridge from overhead, but there's still something about it that somehow didn't get translated into the TOS-R version of that same shot. The use of the 3ft. filming miniature isn't as good except for those first high-speed flyby shots.

When it comes to set design it's hard to beat the original bridge. And I must say I quite like how it looks in this first viewing of it. It certainly evokes an atmosphere we will see agin many years later in Star Trek - The Motion Picture.

The f/x work here is mixed. Some of it is still respectable even in our cgi saturated era while other parts show their age. Most notably I'm thinking of the moments when Pike glimpses something in other cages near his. Another limitation is when illustrations are used on monitor screens instead of photographic images. That said the transporter f/x is still good although I find the musical chiming effect to be a bit odd. The sight of hardcopy printout at first seems anachronistic until you realize the likelihood of electronic smart paper that we may see introduced within the next few years. However, the old-fashioned clipboards definately look outdated.

In terms of story, writing and acting "The Cage" still holds up well. It effectively introduces all the basic elements for a television series concept without beating us over the head with any of them. I think the writing is generally tight and the characters all behave and speak in a credible manner. I like how Captain Pike quickly begins figuring things out for himself---a nice touch where the viewer is likely no further ahead than the character (assuming you've never seen this before).

One last anachronism is Pike's reference to women on his bridge after we've already been introduced to Number One and moments earlier we also a another woman manning one of the other bridge stations as well as women in the ship's corridors.

Although it's widely known that "The Cage" didn't sell Star Trek as a series it did, however, sell Star Trek as a concept for television, prompting NBC to ask for a second pilot episode. It's also interesting to speculate what kind of series we might have gotten and how different it might have been if NBC had bought Star Trek as a series based on "The Cage." Note that at this point we don't really see much evidence of a multiracial crew on Pike's Enterprise. It's fair to assume if the series had gone ahead based on "The Cage" that Roddenberry and company would have tweaked their ideas for series production, but what might they have done and how far might they have gone? It's possible having a second try at a series pilot allowed them to refine their concepts before being neck deep in series production.

Even with its limitations "The Cage" remains a respectable and polished work even in comparison with later Trek pilots. It certainly made for a solid basic template to further flesh out for what was to come.
This story also introduces the idea that "monsters" are not always what they seem. From a particular viewpoint the Talosians are a kind of monster and yet in the end we can see they're not inherently evil but desperate and somewhat misguided.
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Last edited by Warped9; January 9 2014 at 06:55 PM.
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Old January 9 2014, 07:30 PM   #24
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

Stompy wrote: View Post
As far as I know Roddenberry had the only surviving B&W print. I saw it in the 70's when he did college tours and it was wonderful.

I wonder if Rod Roddenberry has his dad's copy? Susan Sackett might know too as she wrote his college speeches and set up a lot of his travel back then.

I'd love to see it again.
I saw it on one of his college tours in 1982.

Wish someone with contacts would make an inquiry to somebody in the know, because I think it deserves to be treasured and enjoyed as a work of art worthy of preservation with all its nuances for the sake of history. After all, it's 50 years old now.
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Old January 9 2014, 08:25 PM   #25
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

I just watched The Cage a couple of weeks ago; I rated it an 8. I actually enjoy it a little better with each viewing - it's an excellent standalone story, in my opinion.
Regarding a few comments above, I think it's important to always watch these episodes with an historical eye - gotta remember when they were made, and what was going on that influenced their production/conception.

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Old January 10 2014, 10:41 PM   #26
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

feek61 wrote: View Post
A flawed masterpiece for me which I would rate as an 8. Just an amazing first try. I think some of the editing could have been tighter. Although it is fun to see the full version and a unique experience to see for the first time so many years after TOS ended; I prefer the cut in "The Menagerie" for the most part. For example the fight scene in "The Cage" with the Kylar (sp?) is cut MUCH better in "The Menagerie" IMHO. It still drives me crazy in "The Cage" when Vina and Pike stop to have a conversation while going up the stairs after Pike knocks down the Kylar: RUN!!!!
"A flawed masterpiece".
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Old January 10 2014, 11:02 PM   #27
Warped9
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

feek61 wrote: View Post
It still drives me crazy in "The Cage" when Vina and Pike stop to have a conversation while going up the stairs after Pike knocks down the Kylar: RUN!!!!
Well it does underline the surreality of the situation. Pike knows it can't be real despite experiencing it.
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Old January 11 2014, 02:51 AM   #28
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
In retrospect it was way too serious/humourless for me.

And I know people might not understand what I'm saying but is has too many white handsome all American boys for me.
I think you are projecting present day casting choices on an era where the packaged and sold image of the "spaceman"--such as real-world astronauts (and fictional counterparts) were your clean-cut white Americans (as presented to the public). Barrett's presense was bucking that packaging, but the former was the face of 99% of sci-fi during the Space Race.

The crew is too good-looking, too gun-ho. Sort of like the crew in 'Forbidden Planet'. But they had some slackoes in the lower ranks so that made Forbidden Planet acceptable.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is another example of that, and while the crew of the Seaview were not astronauts, the sci-fi show was first set in the then-future year of 1973--yet the crew was all white, all male.
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Old January 11 2014, 03:19 PM   #29
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
In retrospect it was way too serious/humourless for me.

And I know people might not understand what I'm saying but is has too many white handsome all American boys for me.
I think you are projecting present day casting choices on an era where the packaged and sold image of the "spaceman"--such as real-world astronauts (and fictional counterparts) were your clean-cut white Americans (as presented to the public). Barrett's presense was bucking that packaging, but the former was the face of 99% of sci-fi during the Space Race.
Yet within a year Star Trek were able to cast non-white people in astronaut roles.
Even a 'Russian' who were the space race rivals.
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Old January 11 2014, 03:22 PM   #30
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Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage

Could be while GR are wanted to push his multiracial idea he was hesitant to push it too much when shooting the pilot in hopes to sell the series.

The only real dissonant note in "The Cage" for me is when Pike complains about Yeoman Colt's presence on the bridge. It's widely at odds with the established presence of Number One and other female officers already there. Pike's comments come across a simply too self-concious, as if GR is expressing the thought some male viewers might have yet spoken through Pike. If he had simply kept Pike's comments focused on Colt's behaviour rather than women in general it would have been fine.

Admittedly it can also be a bit of a challenge to not see this through contemporary perspectives. Back in 1965 no one would have thought anything unusual in the casting of "The Cage" even if less than a year later we'd see more racial diversity in the 2nd pilot.
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