Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Sep 27, 2011.
^Check your local library.
Tried that, closest one is the other side of the state lol... and I work at a college library but the nearest one in WorldCat is in the next state.
Just watched The Mouse on the Moon. It started out kind of weakly, but it was kind of fun. Nice to see a young Bernard Cribbins as the hero -- I see Wilf's fascination with space goes way back. Ron Moody was interesting as the devious prime minister; he reminded me very much of Roger Delgado's Master in '70s Doctor Who. Also some interesting minor players, including future UFO lead Ed Bishop as one of the American astronauts (it wouldn't be his last visit to the Moon) and Wallace and Gromit's Peter Sallis as the Soviet delegate.
Not so much sci-fi--but I enjoyed Throne of Blood last night. To me, Macbeth is at its best in the original Japanese...
^^I just caught the end of the Welles version before that, it looked like Kurosawa may have been inspired by Orson's treatment of Birnam Wood's stroll... though I prefer Tolkien's.
i enjoyed Mighty Joe Young yesterday. i hadn't seen it in ages.
That's a goodie. I've got a nice DVD set that has King Kong, Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young. SOK is a bit weak, but still fun.
the collectors edition that came in a metal tin with lobby card reproductions and such? i use to have that. think a buddy of mine borrowed and never returned it.
No, just a 3-DVD slipcase. I don't think I even knew about the metal tin edition. I might just track that down.
I do have the metal tin edition of Forbidden Planet, though, with all kinds of cool extras, including a little Robby the Robot.
Finally got around to watching my recording of The Tunnel. It's a 1935 British film about the lengthy process of constructing a trans-Atlantic tunnel (hurrah!) to connect the UK and the US, or "The English-speaking peoples of the world," as they're repeatedly referred to (and who are, of course, the only ones who can be entrusted to ensure peace and progress in the world and keep those shifty Easterners in their place). It's got pretty elaborate and cool special effects for 80 years ago, and there's some fun dialogue and character writing in the first half, but it gets increasingly maudlin and melodramatic as it goes along, and the acting isn't particularly good (though the leading ladies are pretty in an interchangeable sort of way). Plus it's one of those period films that assumes blind people constantly stare off fixedly into space, and that treats blindness as a tragedy to be pitied and shamefully hidden from the world, so that's not fun.
Interesting lacunae in the film's futurism, as is usually the case with futurism. It has ubiquitous videophones, even big wall screens that connect Congress and Parliament to each other, but it assumes the only way to achieve swift commerce and unification between the UK and North America is by spending a dozen-plus years and thousands of lives digging a vast tunnel beneath the sea, rather than by developing jet aircraft. (Which is odd, since the concept of the jet engine definitely existed by the time this movie was made, if only in theory.) In this world, the English Channel Tunnel was built in 1940, yet the British Empire never declined (and WWII apparently didn't happen), and the culture, fashions, and gender roles are still very 1935.
There was a fun bit in the opening credits. This probably isn't verbatim, but there was a title card reading something like "The Gaumont British Picture Corporation is fortunate to have secured the cooperation of MR. GEORGE ARLISS as the Prime Minister of Great Britain and MR. WALTER HUSTON as the President of the United States." Why can't we have credits like that anymore?
Was watching "Tower of London" (1939) on TCM the other today. Funny thing: there's a scene where Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone murder a shockingly young Vincent Price (in one of his first screen appearances). As far as I know, all three actors would not share a scene again until "A Comedy of Terrors" (1963), nearly twenty-five years later.
I had to wonder if they paused to reminisce on the first time they worked together--or were amused that they were still trying to kill each other onscreen a quarter of a century later!
Just saw The Giant Behemoth. A pretty run-of-the-mill giant radioactive monster movie, just more British (albeit with an American lead). I suppose it's most notable for co-starring André Morell, who was Professor Quatermass in the original TV version of Quatermass and the Pit. The effects are hit-and-miss, mostly miss, though there are some decent stop motion shots in the climactic action (though the monster design is pretty weak). It was weird, though, to hear the characters talk about attacking the creature with a warhead of radium, rather than uranium or something more potent like that.
At one point about 50 minutes in, just before the sea monster shows up in the Thames (like they do), there was a shot of a street scene with a police box in it, and I thought, "It's the TARDIS! Finally, the Doctor's arrived -- now things will get interesting!" No such luck, though.
...for monster-coming-up-the-Thames, nothing beats Gorgo, which is also notable as the monster win in the end.
They should do a sequel to Gorgo in which the monster is brought back to life by Toby Jones's mad scientist from the Captain America movies. It would be called Gorgo 'n' Zola.
Or would that be too cheesy?
Satellite in the Sky is the last of the Brit-sci-fi movies I recorded in the marathon last week (the others were ones I've seen or weren't interested in), and it's not very good. The special effects by Wally Veevers are pretty much the main thing going for it, a nice miniature spaceship and launch facility. There are also a couple of nice music cues in the score by Albert Elms, but it's a repetitive score that sometime cuts off abruptly in a scene change, which was rather jarring. (Also, I'm not sure TCM showed it in quite the right aspect ratio; the actors seemed a bit flattened out. But maybe that was a CinemaScope distortion of some sort.)
The story isn't very good, though. The space physics is pretty terrible, which becomes evident right off the bat when they claim in the opening briefing that anything that gets above the stratosphere will be free of gravity. (Why do so many people in film and TV apparently think that gravity is caused by air?) Once in space, there's a token reference to the rockets needing to continue to fire to maintain shipboard gravity, even though the direction of thrust is perpendicular to the direction of weight -- but when the jets are shut off, it makes no difference to the crew's ability to walk around.
Character-wise, it's not much better. Leading lady Lois Maxwell is a strident Luddite, objecting in boringly unsubtle terms to the whole idea of exploration and risk-taking. The other two women in the movie aren't handled much better. The plot is driven by a rather silly secret mission to detonate a super-huge atomic bomb in space in order to demonstrate how pointless it is to detonate super-huge bombs and thereby somehow end war (riiiight, because all the previous ultimate weapons did such a good job ending war). And the military scientist in charge of the bomb is a by-the-numbers obstructionist/coward villain type, up until his inevitable self-sacrifice in the very abrupt and anticlimactic climax.
Also, the title was misleading. It wasn't a satellite in the sky, it was a rocketship in space. I demand a refund!
(By the way, I forgot to mention one thing that struck me as interesting about The Tunnel -- which, again, was a British film made in 1935. In one scene, the characters were talking about an earlier undersea tunnel from Miami to Havana, or someplace in the Caribbean, and they pronounced "Miami" like "Mee-yah-mee." Which I suppose is the Spanish pronunciation, but I can't recall having heard it before. Maybe the English used it because they hadn't heard how the pronunication had been localized in the US?)
I'd like the short time of my life back that it took to read the above.
You know what's worse? Zola is Swiss.
Reminder: TCM is airing a time-travel marathon tonight.
I already recorded it last week!
But seriously... I'm looking forward to seeing Dr. Who and the Daleks again. It's been ages since I saw it last.
Crap. Fingers crossed for On Demand.
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