Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Sep 27, 2011.
It might still be worth it if Herb does the eye-twitch thing.
But his mask covers one eye!
I watched George Pal's Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze movie the other day. Not great, but interesting. It was simultaneously trying to be very, very faithful to the pulps and doing a campy take on them, and the balance didn't quite work out, because it mostly played things straight, so the occasional silly bits (like a villain who slept in a giant rocking cradle) were incongruous. And a number of the things it adapted faithfully were probably perfectly all right for the period when the books were written but corny for 1975. Still, as a fan of Batman '66, I kind of like heroes with that type of earnest corniness. Ron Ely wasn't bad as Doc Savage, and he had an okay supporting cast playing his five sidekicks (including some familiar TV actors like William Lucking, Paul Gleason, and Eldon Quick). Pamela Hensley, later Princess Ardala on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, played the love interest, but didn't show up until about halfway through the story and didn't leave much of an impression. She was one of many white actors in brownface as Latin American or Native American characters, unfortunately. Paul Wexler was okay but underwhelming as the villain, a bargain-basement Nemo named "Captain Seas."
On a very different note, I watched Hammer's The Brides of Dracula, Peter Cushing's second turn as Van Helsing, which TCM skipped the last time they showed the Hammer Dracula films. It was fairly good for the most part, though misleadingly titled. Christopher Lee's Dracula wasn't in it, and there was only the most cursory attempt to indirectly justify the title by referring to the film's vampires as members of "the cult of Dracula." Still, I'm more interested in Cushing's Van Helsing than in Lee's rather one-note Dracula anyway, and he did a good job here. Yvonne Monlaur was quite lovely as the leading lady Marianne, and pretty much carried the first third of the film before Cushing showed up. Interestingly, the first act is heavily dominated by female characters, so it passes at least 2/3 of the Bechdel test handily, although most of the women's conversations do pertain to a man, the vampire that Marianne unwittingly sets free.
I feel the climactic sequence was a little weak. It's hard to buy that Van Helsing could cure himself of a vampire bite so easily, or even be alive and conscious enough to attempt it. And it was left unclear whether the titular brides (of not-Dracula) escaped or not. Still, Van Helsing's final move against the villain was fairly clever, if highly dependent on luck (or divine providence, I guess?).
I remember seeing DOC SAVAGE when it first opened. Sadly, I think I was one of five people in the theater, which was probably why we never got a sequel.
Kinda of a mixed bag, to be sure, but I still love the theme song.
By the way, there's a new Doc Savage movie in development starring Dwayne Johnson, and directed by Iron Man 3's Shane Black. I wouldn't be surprised if it went more overtly for humor than the Pal/Anderson version.
For some reason, I decided to record the cheap Italian monster movie The Snow Devils, and man, was it bad. Dreadful acting and effects, and a soporific pace. I only kept watching it because I was sleepy anyway and wanted something on that I didn't have to pay close attention to. I also totally forgot that I've seen this film before, when TCM showed it back in 2012. It's that unmemorable. I vaguely recognized it as part of the really bad Italian Gamma One series (which the Japanese-made The Green Slime is a loose continuation of, but which is much, much worse in every way than The Green Slime), but I didn't remember having seen this specific story before. I'd think I would've remembered how dumb it was. The aliens were supposed to be Yetis, or the basis for that legend -- creatures that the main characters mistook for primitive beasts before one of them spoke and revealed their alien origin. But their makeup just looked like green-faced bearded guys with wooly arms. And the rest was just as slapdash. Actors (and I use the term generously) would hesitate and stumble over their lines so badly that even the voice artists dubbing their lines after the fact sounded inept. There would be long pauses with nothing happening during scenes. It's like they were unable to do retakes of flubbed scenes. Apparently all four films in the series were shot back-to-back over three months, so maybe that's exactly the case.
Damn it, I missed the Doc Savage movie. I've started reading the original Doc Savage pulps recently, haven't seen the movie yet.
It's supposed to run with the idea that all the training Doc had been through was at the expense of his social graces and knowledge of how the real world works. It sounds like it's a similar approach as Schwarzenegger's character in Twins.
I didn't remember Doc Savage being that campy. It has moments but gets rather tiresome by the end. You can see the roots of Buckaroo Banzai in there for sure. I know that's natural as BB is based in pulp fiction but there are a lot of parallels. I wonder if it had come out a couple years later post-Star Wars if the tone would've been a bit different.
The "Doc Savage" film was basically like the "batman" film 8 years or so earlier (with regard to campiness and tone.) I still laugh at the 1930ies era 'telephonic answering machine'.
If anything, I think its weakness was that it didn't commit that fully to the camp. It faithfully recreated things from the pulps that feel silly in retrospect, but it mostly seemed to play them quite sincerely, yet with some incongruous bits of goofiness tacked on here and there. It didn't find the same balance of "playing it straight" and "tongue in cheek" that Batman managed to achieve.
1:30 PM: Forbidden Planet ('56)
3:15 PM: 2001: A Space Odyssey ('68)
2:00 AM: Deadly Friend ('86)
3:45 AM: Swamp Thing ('82)
6:00 AM: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ('32): The good one.
12:30 AM: Little Shop of Horrors ('60)
2:45 AM: Red Sonja ('85): With Brigitte Nielsen as a character from Marvel's Conan the Barbarian comics -- and Arnold Schwarzenegger playing a character who isn't Conan, confusingly.
4:30 AM: Tarzan, the Ape Man ('81): With Bo Derek as Jane.
1:00 AM: Here Comes Mr. Jordan ('41): Reincarnation comedy later remade as Heaven Can Wait.
10:00 AM: It Happened Tomorrow ('44): Comedy about a reporter who can predict the next day's events.
1:30 PM: A Midsummer Night's Dream ('35)
2:15 AM: Audrey Rose ('77): Robert Wise psychological thriller about a possible case of reincarnation.
2:00 PM: Donovan's Brain ('53): Adaptation of Curt Siodmak story about keeping a dead man's brain alive. Inspiration for a lot of knockoffs including "Spock's Brain."
6:15 PM: Westworld ('73)
8:00 PM: Forbidden Planet again.
10:00 PM: The Invisible Boy ('57): Indirect, inferior Forbidden Planet "sequel" (or spinoff?) with Robby the Robot.
WED 11/22-THU 11/23: A couple of Jimmy Stewart fantasies:
10:15 PM: Harvey ('50)
12:15 PM: Bell, Book and Candle ('58)
2:30 PM: Around the World in 80 Days ('56)
9:30 AM: Topper ('37)
Maybe this time I'll finally remember to watch Forbidden Planet. I watched it ages ago and don't remember it, so I've been wanting rewatch it for a while now, but the last couple times they showed it on TCM I forgot.
I might check out Red Sonja. Arnold isn't playing Conan in that? I'd always assumed since Red Sonja was a Conan character in the comics, that he was Conan.
Is that Tarzan any good?
Convoluted legal issues, the makers of the Red Sonja movie could not acquire the rights for Conan, so they just gave him a name and wardrobe change.
As for Tarzan, that version was really just a showcase for Bo Derek. Tarzan was "second fiddle" to Bo's Jane Porter.
As an opportunity to see Bo Derek topless, yes. As a movie, not so much, apparently. It's 11% on Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated in several Golden Raspberry categories, with Derek winning for Worst Actress. (The film was directed by her husband John Derek and co-produced by them both, and it focuses more on her as Jane than on Tarzan.) Its Tarzan, Miles O'Keeffe, was the stunt double for the original actor and was promoted into the lead when that actor was fired, even though he had no prior acting experience. And the Burroughs estate allegedly sued to keep the movie from being released. It was poorly received for its sexual content, even though the first couple of Weismuller films in the '30s had been quite racy.
I think I'll be skipping that one then, if the only appeal to it is nude Bo Derek then that's not enough for me. I've seen 10, so I've already seen all there is to see there.
How hard would it be to follow Taste the Blood of Dracula without having seen Dracula Has Risen From the Grave? They added Taste and Dracula A.D. 1972 to the TCM app after they aired last night and I was thinking about watching one or both of them. The article on the app made it sound like Taste is a fairly direct sequel to Risen, which I've never seen, and I was wondering how lost I would be if I watched just Taste (and 1972)?
I don't think you'd be lost at all. All you need to know is that Dracula died at the end of the last film and is brought back to life in a contrived way in this one, and that's pretty much true of every sequel in the series (except The Brides of Dracula, which Dracula wasn't actually in). The beginning does overlap with the ending of the previous film in order to retcon a way for Dracula to return from the dead yet again, but after that, it follows a completely new set of characters in a new story.
Yep - when it came out we were calling it what it was - "Jane...Topless" or "Tarzan...the Grope Man."
Just watched Forbidden Planet, and it was really good. It had some very impressive special effects for 1956.
In the intro the host talked about how it was a big influence on Star Trek and Star Wars and I can definitely see that. I could definitely have seen TOS doing almost this exact same story.
It would take all of fifteen minutes to convert FORBIDDEN PLANET into a TREK script.
And they came damn close with "Requiem for Methuselah."
^^ Probably fifteen seconds with search and replace.
Impressive for any era, as far as I'm concerned. I prefer artistry over photorealism. Forbidden Planet is my second favorite movie of all time.
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