TCM Genre movies schedule...

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, as I recall, there's a scene where he speaks pidgin English to deceive some local yokels, then drops the "funny Chinaman" act when it no longer suits his purposes.
     
  2. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    Does anyone else see a similarity between Dr. Lao and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Bradbury? I always wondered if Something served as a partial inspiration for Lao.
     
  3. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    More like the other way around. Lao is based on a novel, The Circus of Dr. Lao by Jack Finney, that was first published in 1935, twenty-seven years before Bradbury wrote Something Wicked.
     
  4. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    ^Ah, cool.
     
  5. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    That is cool, and it's in print. That's going to be a must-read. The author appears to be Charles Finney, though.
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Oops. My mistake. I mixed him up with the Jack Finney who wrote Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Time and Again.

    I read the novel decades ago. As I recall, it's much darker than the movie . . . .
     
  7. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    It looks good. I love vintage literature from the 30s and earlier. And, thanks to POD and e-publishing, we're experiencing a renaissance of availability for such stuff.
     
  8. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just read Time and Again and the sequel last year... they were wonderful, special books... too bad he didn't get to write the third one. :(
     
  9. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    Saw 7 Faces of Dr. Lao and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Tony Randall played all those parts really well. Now I'm watching The Green Hornet. I read that Keye Luke was in it, but I wasn't expecting him to be Kato. Just didn't think much about it. I usually think of him as an old man, not a boyish sidekick. :o
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, it was made in the '40s. It's cool to see a young Keye Luke, but I wish they hadn't made him do the stereotypical "Oriental" accent where Ls are pronounced like Rs -- especially since they made him Korean (a language that doesn't even have a R sound per se).

    Mixed feelings about the Green Hornet serial so far. It's interesting to see the ways in which it laid the foundation for the Van Williams TV series (and for the recent movie, with the bit about Britt wanting to prove to his father that he wasn't a useless playboy -- a single throwaway line that basically became the movie's whole plot). And for other things too -- its opening recap crawls were of the type that inspired the ones in Star Wars (though I doubt it was the only serial to do that "receding" crawl). But it's a bit unfocused in story terms; it seems the GH isn't so much deliberately creating a reputation as a racketeer as stumbling into it while trying to be a hero. And the cliffhangers are rather boringly resolved -- the one bridging episodes 2 & 3 was a complete fakeout.
     
  11. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    7 Faces of Dr Lao was great. Some gentle philosophy, interesting visuals and an antagonist that was basically looking to be rehabilitated. It's interesting that the climactic action sequence involved his henchmen going off on their own, dissatisfied that da boss had turned over a new leaf.
     
  12. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, I remember being blown away by Lao the first time I stumbled onto it as a kid at a Saturday matinee.

    The soundtrack is fun, too. I listen to it all the time.
     
  13. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was also really impressed by Dr. Lao... it was a fascinating mixture of tones, from the kid-movie feel to the scene with Barbara Eden and Pan, which was decidedly adult. :eek: It had a lot of heart and Randall was great. And the tent-as-TARDIS idea was cool.

    I also watched The Blob, which I thought was a lot better than it had any reason being... maybe having someone like McQueen helped -- not that he was great, but he was a lot better than most teen monster-movie leads of the era. And it didn't even give in to the temptation of having the "bad cop" get absorbed!
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Just watched It Came From Beneath the Sea, which I'm not sure if I've ever seen before. I like the verisimilitude of the submarine sequences, and the sense of mystery in the beginning. And the film does a pretty good job of selling the giant octopus as a credible concept, though it is somewhat exaggerated in scale. Good work by Harryhausen too. I'm not sure what to make of the central romantic triangle, though, since Faith Domergue's character seems equally interested in both men and Kenneth Tobey's the only one who seems to have a problem with that.

    Given the timing, I was tempted to think that this monster was created (or rather, displaced from its natural habitat) by the same atomic explosions that spawned Godzilla. (Natural enough, since both movies referenced the numerous nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1946-58.) But then, if this movie were in continuity with Gojira, you'd think the characters wouldn't be so skeptical about giant sea monsters just a year after a 50-meter amphibious dinosaur devastated Tokyo -- and, if the release dates are anything to go by, just two months after Godzilla's return and his battle with Anguirus (if you go with the Shōwa continuity).
     
  15. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    I love the female lead in It Came From Beneath The Sea-- she comes across as exceptionally liberated for that era. I especially got a kick out of the ending, where it almost seemed to be implied that she was not going to settle for choosing, but was going to keep them both. :rommie:

    I also love the giant octopus. Great work by Harryhausen there. :bolian:
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And she's played by Faith Domergue, who was also the leading lady in This Island Earth, another sci-fi classic.

    But I think it undermined the "liberated woman" portrayal when, just after insisting she's eager to see this new specimen and can be useful in a crisis, she sees the octopus and screams hysterically. Although I guess maybe the point was to show that the creature was even more gigantic and horrifying than she'd imagined.

    You know, the problem with American monster movies as opposed to Japanese ones is that we don't always name our daikaiju. It feels awkward referring to it as just "the octopus." It should have its own name. I've heard it referred to as the Quintopus because the model only had five arms, but that doesn't work in-story.
     
  17. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Just one this time
    WED 1000a Them! -- Classic giant ant action


    I'm looking forward to catching up with Beneath the Sea from my DVR. Dr. Lao was fun, it's easy to just think of Tony Randall as Felix Unger but he had a real talent for characters.
     
  18. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    Only caught about 10 minutes of It Came from Beneath the Sea. I managed to tune in during the attack on the golden gate bridge. The octopus was done well, but there was one thing that had me on the floor laughing. The one guy goes out on the bridge to turn off this device and while out there his car gets crushed, so a second guy drives out to pick him up. Right after the pickup they race back off the bridge, as they do, there is a quick shot of them in the car with a tentacle coming over the side of the bridge. Both men sort of turn to each other and give this little expression like "can you believe this shit?" without saying a word. It just stood out for me as kind of funny considering the usual deadpan seriousness these old movies have.
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Lucas usually credits the Flash Gordon serials as inspiring that -- although after watching clips on YouTube, it appears that only the final Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe serial with Buster Crabbe (1940) used that style of title crawl. His serial from the previous year -- Buck Rogers (1939) -- used the Star Wars crawl, though. I'm not sure if it occurred earlier than that.
     
  20. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Well, it was still the 50s. Although I'd probably scream hysterically if attacked by a giant octopus, too.

    I agree. I like it better when they have names. And not just generic names, like "Thing" or "Creature."