• Craig Hunter

PT - Movies - 018 - Mill Creek Sci-Fi Collection

Updated: Jan 26

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Collection 

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Intro


Welcome everyone to The Predictably Treacherous Podcast, the Mill Creek Sci-Fi Collection part 1.

  

We'll be reviewing the movies of the Mill Creek Sci-Fi 50 movie collection and on today's episode we'll be reviewing the first 10 films. 


Here are the links discussed in the episode

- Mill Creek Sci-Fi Collection https://amzn.to/2FfYnKy

- Setting up your home media server  https://www.ptpod.xyz/post/home-media-server

- themoviedb.org

- wikipedia.com


The Rating System

What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"


This will be a 5 part podcast with 10 movies per part.


Part I


The Lost Jungle (1934)

Released: June 13th, 1934

Running Time: 68 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: 


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/113334-the-lost-jungle?language=en-US

Clyde Beatty, an animal trainer and circus star, leads a search for his missing girlfriend and her father who were on an expedition looking for a lost tropical island. Using a dirigible as his mode of transportation, Beatty and his band head off in search of the missing explorers only to crash their airship on the same island their friends are located. Battling wild animals and a gang of greedy men searching for gold, Beatty and his party must rescue his girlfriend and father all the while trying to escape their jungle island. Feature version of the same-title serial of the same year, with refilmed sequences substantially altering the plot and characters of the original chapterplay.


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Jungle

The Lost Jungle (1934) is a Mascot movie serial. A semi-sequel to this serial, Darkest Africa, was released by Republic Pictures in 1936. Republic was made from a merger of several companies, including Mascot, which became the B-Western and serial production arm of the company, as well as providing them with a studio.


Distributed By

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mascot_Pictures


My thoughts

Act I

Quickly establish that Clyde is good to his animals while others are abusive.  He is a top notch animal trainer.  He is in love with a bleached blond dame who looks like a human LOL doll. She wants a commitment from Clyde or she will leave on a long journey on a ship.  As she's telling Clyde they are interrupted by an animal emergency and she has her answer.

Act II

Clyde the crazy fuck is in a caged area with tigers, leopards, bears, and lions all at once.  He's making them do tricks.  Very impressive.

Meanwhile, the blond's ship was in a storm and crippled.  She is on a tropical island with the crew. There are lions and tigers there. they take refuge from the animals in a villiage. They send a note by carrier pigeon and Clyde gets the message.  His promoter arranges for Clyde to get to the island and the promoter to go along with Clyde's crew and a film crew. They take a Zeppelin. It crashes on the island.

Sharky (the bad guy on Clyde's crew) finds the "Buried City of Kamor" and is told about a treasure by a dying man.

The ship-wrecked crew is losing hope and threatens the captian with leaving.  Ruth chases her pet lion cub out of the safety of the compound and is in danger of being killed by a lion and is rescued by Clyde who was wandering through the jungle with his promoter. 

Act III 

Sharky sneaks into the village and let's animals loose in an attempt to kill Clyde and everyone else but Clyde deals with them and Sharky is killed in the process.  The crew finds the map that Sharky had that shows the location of the Buried City of Kamor and they head off to get it.  Clyde and Ruth and Ruth and together. 

A really bright black and white with poor quality image and sound.  Lots of animal fights.  I believe Ruth is the only woman in the movie. Cecilia Parker, who played Ruth, is also in Frankenstein (1931).


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



White Pongo (1945)

Released: Oct 10th, 1945

Running Time: 71 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: 


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/39441-white-pongo?language=en-US

Suspecting that a safari guide is a wanted killer, undercover policeman Geoffrey Bishop (Richard Fraser) joins a safari led by the suspect for a scientist that hopes to find and prove that a fabled white gorilla is a missing link.


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Pongo

White Pongo, also known as Adventure Unlimited in the United Kingdom, is a 1945 American film directed by Sam Newfield.

In the jungles of the Belgian Congo, a group of natives are dancing around a great fire with a human sacrifice named Gunderson, They are attacked by an albino gorilla called the White Pongo. During the attack an elderly scientist who lives with the tribe frees Gunderson and gives him his deceased colleague's diary that contains his findings on the white gorilla.

Gunderson makes it through the jungle and arrives in a nearby settlement in a feverish state. The diary has seemed to prove that the white gorilla of myth exists that local anthropologists believe is the evolutionary missing link. A safari is formed with a group of individuals, several of whom have their own nefarious reasons for going, but one is an undercover Rhodesian Secret Serviceman. The group battle the jungle and one another. In the climax, the White Pongo, who has been stalking the group, kidnaps one of the safari members and duels with a normal-colored gorilla. The rest of the safari hear the battle and rescue their comrade. The White Pongo comes out victorious over his rival, but is wounded by the safari and taken with them to the boat back to London.


Distributed By

???


My Thoughts

Act I

The Congo. 

A white missionary escapes a village where he is tied up.  He sees a white Gorilla during his escape and he tells his imperialist friends who think it's the "missing link" - an ape containing human intelligence...because it's white.

Act II

Travel to a village and find a missionary.

Love triangle between an elitist in the Royal Military, the elitist daughter of the expedition leader, and a common military man in the expedition.  Daughter is interested in the commoner, while the elitist is jealous and wants to prevent the daughter from getting involved with the commoner who is beneath her.  She really pursues the commoner who is aloof but eventually opens up.

daughter kisses the commoner and they get caught.

on expedition, the German expedition leader turns out to be evil and he is going to do something bad and the woman runs.  The German shoots the elitist prick and chases the girl.  The white pongo kills the German and captures the girl.  

Act III

big battle between the brown ape and the white pongo

commoner shoots the white pongo and they take him back to London.

The commoner gets the girl in the end.

The white pongo looked great...the movie sucked. It was really about the relationship between the woman and the commoner and the white pongo was the secondary plot.


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



Queen of the Amazons (1947)

Released: Jan 15th, 1947

Running Time: 60 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: Screen Guild Productions Inc.


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/23340-queen-of-the-amazons

Jean Preston is determined to find her fiancée, Greg Jones, who went on a safari and didn’t come back when expected. She travels to Akbar, India with Greg’s father, Colonel Jones, Wayne Monroe and the Professor. She asks about Jones at the front desk of the hotel where she stays.


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_the_Amazons

Queen of the Amazons is a 1947 adventure film directed by Edward Finney and featuring Robert Lowery, Patricia Morison and J. Edward Bromberg.[2]

Jean Preston (Patricia Morison) is determined to find her fiancé, Greg Jones (Bruce Edwards), who went on a safari and didn’t come back when expected. She travels to Akbar, India with Greg’s father, Colonel Jones (John Miljan), Wayne Monroe (Keith Richards) and the Professor (Wilson Benge). She asks about Jones at the front desk of the hotel where she stays. Although the clerk acts like he knows nothing of Jones, he immediately makes a suspicious phone call when the group leaves the lobby.

While Jean unpacks in her room, a native woman named Tondra (Vida Aldana), who spied on the group in the hotel lobby earlier, knocks on the door. She tells Jean that her husband, Moya (Hassam Kayyam), spoke to her of a safari that suffered a tiger attack. Jean asks Tondra to speak to her husband. Although apprehensive to get her husband at first, she quickly fetches her husband when Jean greases her palm. Tondra returns with Moya, who recognizes Jones from a photo of Jean’s. He tells Jean that Jones traveled not with the doomed safari but with a group of ivory hunters that went to Africa. Before Moya can say more, someone shoots him with a pistol through Jean’s room window. The shooting upsets the unstable locals and the group leaves for Africa.

They take a boat deep into the African jungle where they see abundant wildlife. Jean must convince Gary Lambert (Robert Lowery), who hates taking women on safaris, to be their guide. She knocks his socks off with her shooting skills with a gun. They also pick up famed safari cook, Gabby (J. Edward Bromberg), who likes to recite poetry to his pet monkey and tells stories with belligerent verbosity, which he mistakes for skill. The Commissioner tells Lambert that Jones was on a mission to bust Ivory poachers and wants Lambert to do the same, which Lambert readily agrees.

The rescue mission meets with turmoil and death from an unknown saboteur among their ranks. A native man tells the group rumors of a group of white she-devils in the jungle that make their native guides skittish. The women came from a lifeboat from a shipwreck many years ago. When Greg is found, it is revealed he fell for the queen, Zita (Amira Moustafa).


Distributed By 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_L._Lippert (Screen Guild Productions Inc.)


My Thoughts

Act I

A woman has traveled to India to look for her missing fiancee.  They get a tip and leave for Africa. the guide in Africa hates women.  Seems like he is going to be a love interest.

Act II

Leave on journey.  A guy who disapproves of the guide and of the woman being on the safari joins them on the safari.  He is there to get in the way of the developing relationship between the woman and the guide.

They learn that Greg is being held prisoner by a "white she-devil" and the guide gets attacked by a lion but is saved by the disapproving guy.

Midpoint

Someone in the camp was murdered by a white man but they don't know who.

Now we get this total fox "Zita" and she is the Amazon Queen and she is with Greg.

They visit Zita and she says that Greg chooses to remain with her of his own free will. 

There is a big battle and in the end, Zita marries Greg and the woman marries the guide.

This seems like a lot of hubbub over some elitist prick who never came back from his precious safari.

I'm getting sick of these jungle movies.  Why are these in a sci-fi collection anyway? These feel more like adventure.  Can't we get a Jules Verne adaptation

For the first 40 minutes of this film i thought the title character "The Amazon Queen" referred to the protagonist and I thought the movie poster was really taking a liberty with the woman featured on the cover. Now i see that Zita is "The Amazon Queen".  

At the beginning a character said "what's the point to this expedition, Greg is either dead or has decided not to come back."  Well, it looks like the character was right and Greg decided not to come back.  I wonder if the point was "closure" 


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



Prehistoric Women (1950)

Released: Nov 1st, 1950

Running Time: 74 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: Eagle-Lion Films


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/23335-prehistoric-women?language=en-US

Tigri and her stone age friends, all of which are women, hate all men. However, she and her Amazon tribe see men as a "necessary evil" and capture them for potential husbands. Engor, who is smarter than the rest of the men, is able to escape them. He discovers fire and battle enormous beasts.


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistoric_Women

Prehistoric Women is a 1950 low-budget fantasy adventure film, written and directed by Gregg C. Tallas and starring Laurette Luez and Allan Nixon. It also features Joan Shawlee, Judy Landon, and Mara Lynn. Released by Alliance Productions, the independent film was also titled The Virgin Goddess. The film was later distributed in the United States as a double feature with Man Beast.[1]

Prehistoric Women is similar to the 1940 film One Million B.C. A remake (sometimes known as Slave Girls) was made in 1967, and starred Martine Beswick.

Tigri (Luez) and her Stone Age friends, all of which are women, hate all men. However, she and her Amazon tribe see men as a "necessary evil" and capture them as potential husbands. Engor (Nixon), who is smarter than the rest of the men, is able to escape them. He discovers fire and battles enormous beasts. After he is recaptured by the women, he uses fire to drive off a dragon-like creature. The women are impressed with him, including their prehistoric queen. Engor marries Tigri and they begin a new, more civilized, tribe.


Distributed By 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle-Lion_Films


My thoughts

Ahead of it's time with having women take the lead and be the aggressors and capture the men.

Pin-up models

Sexy scenes:

women intros (NFL style)

women attack men with rock slings

women take men to tree-house beds

midnight swim

Tigri and the blonde fight over Engor

Tigri humiliates Engor with the task to move the boulder

Act I

Under the moonlight, the women are engaging in a sexy ritualistic dance until exhaustion. The narrator introduces us to each of the woman one-by-one like NFL players on Sunday Night Football on NBC.  Each shot is a close up of one of the heavy breathing beauties panting with exhaustion and the narrator tells us their names so the viewer can immediately identify the one he thinks is the hottest.

Then we get a flashback to give us some backstory as to why they are a tribe of only women, why they distrust men, and we are told of the giant man "Guadi" who wanders the jungle terrorizing all.

End of First 10 minutes

Tribe of dudes hunting a tiger. The women sneak up and capture the men.  

There's an unintentionally sexy scene where the women pummel the men with rocks by swinging rock slings around their heads while wearing their prehistoric dresses (basically the dresses that Betty and Wilma wore). 

The head dude (Engor) gets away. The women head back to camp with their men slaves and each woman takes a man up to her tree-house bedroom.  

Engor's people find him and bring him back to their camp.

Act II The Confrontation

Weeks pass and Engor has healed. He has vowed to retrieve his captured comrades and he sets out to do so. He gets chased by an elephant, discovers fire and it's uses as a weapon.  

The women go for a sexy midnight swim and afterwards two of them are captured by Guadi the giant man.

The women capture Engor and bring him back to camp adding another he-bitch to their man-stables.  There, Engor is reunited with his male friends.  Engor is going to be Tigri's man and she takes him to her tree-house bed.  A blonde woman in the camp has her eye on Engor.

One of the great lines at 49:23.  As the women dance in the moonlight and the men watch from the tree-house beds of their women captors, the narrator says  "The men look on with mixed emotions."

One the day that the marriage ceremonies are to take place, Engor starts a fire and uses a torch to fend off a huge bird then captures the women. 

Act III The Conclusion

Now that the dudes are in charge they treat the women like shit.  But they eventually ease up a bit and head back to Engor's home in the mountains.  They encounter Guadi who corners them in a cave. Engor orchestrates their escape using torches they encircle Guadi within a ring of fire and burn him alive.

The men and women pair off and the old woman performs the marriage ceremony.

The End.

is it a commentary on life? Women are horny, smart, and fight amongst themselves.  Men are oafs.  Ultimately, having the better technology leads to dominance.

Did any of these actresses go on to become pin-up models.


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



Bride of the Gorilla (1951)

Released: Oct 24th, 1951

Running Time: 70 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: Jack Broder Productions Inc.


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/22856-bride-of-the-gorilla

The owner of a plantation in the jungle marries a beautiful woman. Shortly afterward, he is plagued by a strange voodoo curse which transforms him into a gorilla. But is his transformation real or is it all in his head?


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bride_of_the_Gorilla

Bride of the Gorilla is a 1951 horror B-movie film directed by Curt Siodmak and starring Raymond Burr, Lon Chaney Jr., Barbara Payton and Tom Conway.

Deep in the South American jungles, plantation manager Barney Chavez (Burr) kills his elderly employer in order to get to his beautiful wife Dina Van Gelder (Payton). However, old native witch Al-Long (Gisela Werbisek) witnesses the crime and puts a curse on Barney, who soon after finds himself turning nightly into a rampaging gorilla. When a wise but superstitious police commissioner Taro (Chaney) is brought in to investigate the plantation owner's death and a rash of strange animal killings, he begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Dina is also becoming suspicious of Barney, who seems to be more in love with the jungle than with her. She follows him one night into the jungle, only to be attacked by the feral Barney. Taro and his friend Dr. Viet (Conway) follow her screams in the jungle and shoot Barney.

The film was shot in 10 days. Edward G. Robinson Jr. (the son of Edward G Robinson) was originally cast in the film but was fired by the producers after his arrest for writing a bad check for $138 to the Laguna Beach Garage. The gorilla of the movie's title only appears in the last few minutes of the film. The film's working title was The Face in the Water. Curt Siodmak considered switching the roles of Lon Chaney Jr. and Raymond Burr, but because of Chaney's deteriorating appearance, the idea was dropped.


Distributed By

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Broder_Productions_Inc.

Edward G. Robinson Jr. has an interesting bio https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_G._Robinson_Jr.


My thoughts:

Act I

A wealthy businessman and his wife Dina (Barbara Payton) live on a plantation in the Amazon.  The manager of the plantation (Raymond Burr) Barney and Dina have unspoken feelings and when the businessman fires the manager, Dina asks Barney not to go (clip - don't go).

end of first 10 minutes

The servant girl is also in a relationship with Barney but he breaks up with her.

Barney confronts the businessman and tells him that he and Dina are in love then he kills the businessman by knocking him to the ground and letting him get bitten by a snake. 

An old woman, who is friends with the servant girl, witnessed the murder, and she puts a curse on Barney.  

Act II

Barney and Dina get married but Barney begins slowly turning into a gorilla. Physically he begins looking for like a gorilla...his hands. He goes out into the jungle alone at night and kills.

Midpoint

The doctor suspects that Barney (manager) murdered the businessman. The sheriff also thinks Barney murdered the businessman and he knows that they cannot convict him but the jungle (Sukarat mythical animal) will bring Barney to justice.

There are some killings that get blamed on the Sukarat.

Dina and Barney decide to leave for Rio but Barney changes his mind.  Meanwhile, the doctor thinks that Barney's been poisoned but Barney refuses to be examined. The doctor warns Dina that Barney will come after her, (clip you're in love with me)

Act III

Barney tells Dina to leave but she won't.  Barney goes back to the jungle and Dina follows.  The doctor and sheriff discover teh plant that the old woman used to poison Barney and go into the jungle after Barney. 

They shoot Barney and rescue Dina.  There is a voiceover ny the sheriff that says the jungle punished Barney for his crime.

Dina (Barbara Payton) plays a much more central role in the 2nd half of the film.  She looks good, she looks a bit like Elisha Cuthbert.


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



Unknown World (1951)

Released: Oct 26th, 1951

Running Time: 74 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: Lippert Pictures Inc.


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/27185-unknown-world

With the cyclotram, an atomic-powered rock-boring vehicle, Dr. Jerimiah Morley leads an expedition into a subterranean world.


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_World

Unknown World, also known as Night Without Stars, is a 1951 independent black-and-white science fiction adventure film directed by Terry O. Morse and starring Bruce Kellogg, Marilyn Nash, Jim Bannon, and Otto Waldis. Distributed by Lippert Pictures, it was produced by Irving A. Block, Jack Rabin, and Robert L. Lippert.

The screenplay concerns an expedition seeking livable space deep beneath the Earth's surface in the event a nuclear war makes surface life impossible.

Dr. Jeremiah Morley (Victor Kilian) is concerned about an imminent nuclear war. He organizes an expedition of scientists and has them use a large atomic-powered tank-like boring machine, called the Cyclotram, capable of drilling down deep through the Earth's surface in order to find an underground environment where humanity could escape and survive a future nuclear holocaust.

The expedition (Jim Bannon, Marilyn Nash, Otto Waldis, Tom Handley, and Dick Cogan) begins after government funding has fallen through, and they are bailed out at the last minute by private funding from a newspaper heir (Bruce Kellogg), who insists on going with them as a lark. Romantic rivalry soon develops between Bannon and Kellogg for Nash, and during the dangerous underground expedition two lives are lost to the perils of their adventure.

In the end the scientists accomplish their goal and find an enormous underground expanse with a plentiful air supply, its own large ocean, and phosphorescent light. However, all the lab rabbits brought with them give birth to dead offspring. Through autopsies, it is discovered that this strange underground world has somehow rendered the rabbits, and hence any other life form, sterile. Dr. Morley is deeply depressed by this news. When an underground volcano suddenly erupts, he fails to enter the safety of the Cyclotram and quickly perishes.

The Cyclotram, carrying the remaining survivors, enters the underground ocean to avoid the eruption. They soon find themselves rising toward the surface of the upper world, having been caught up in a strong, upward-moving ocean current. They eventually break the surface near an unknown tropical island.


Distributed By

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_L._Lippert (Lippert Pictures Inc.)


My Thoughts

The threat of nuclear annihilation.  

A brilliant scientist declares that the world will be destroyed if there is a nuclear war.  What should we do? Build a burrowing tank and dig deep into the earth's interior...but where will you get the funding.  Some son of a prick newspaper mogul decides to fund the project on a lark.  

End of first 10 minutes

They ascend to the peak of a volcano and enter the earth from there. A couple of miles in, they find a tunnel.

Act II

100 miles down they have a philosophical discussion about the unreality of being in the earth and removed from nature, and the depression that they are feeling. Two of the men venture out ahead of the tank and are killed by toxic gasses.  

They run out of water and have to search for some.  They release some steam and it condenses into water.

They have a discussion and a vote about whether to go on or to go back and they decide to go on. Then at 960 miles down they reach an open cavern with a lake.

Act III

The cavern is desolate compared to the surface and it's not what they had hoped it would be. they go on and at 1640 miles they reach a grand cavern with a waterfall,  a sea, a sky with clouds. Unfortunately, the learn that all animals born in the cavern are sterile and so humanity cannot survive in the cavern. 

They somehow end up in the deep ocean and make their way back to her surface.


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



Planet Outlaws (1953)

Released: Oct 26th, 1951

Running Time: 74 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: Goodwill Pictures Inc.


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/23331-planet-outlaws

Feature version of the film serial BUCK ROGERS (Universal Pictures, 1940). It is the story of an American soldier who wakes up in the future, it is the year 2500...


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_Rogers_(serial)

Buck Rogers is a 1939 Universal serial film starring Buster Crabbe (who had previously played the title character in two Flash Gordon serials and would return for a third in 1940) as the eponymous hero, Constance Moore, Jackie Moran and Anthony Warde. It was based on the Buck Rogers character created by Philip Francis Nowlan, which had appeared in magazines and comic strips since 1928.

This 12-part Buck Rogers movie serial was launched in 1939. It starred Buster Crabbe, who had played the role of Flash Gordon in the serials Flash Gordon and Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars prior to Buck Rogers.

In 1953, the 1939 movie serial was edited into a feature film entitled Planet Outlaws, by Sherman Krellberg for release via Goodwill Pictures Inc..[1]

Distributed By 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodwill_Pictures_Inc. (Goodwill Pictures Inc.)

My Thoughts

I can appreciate that this is a wild sci-fi with cheesy props, crazy outfits, not well thought out ideas about the future--like the gramophone that appeared next to the air traffic controller or Saturn (a gas giant) being a regional superpower--but I just felt like i had no idea what was happening or who anybody was and I couldn't follow the plot or what was happening from scene to scene.  It was really confusing that when we moved to a new scene i didn't know if this was a new episode or if it was related to the previous scene.

If this was made in the 70's or 80's I probably would have loved it. 

the outfits consist of boots, tights, big belts, a cape for important officers (leaders), a cloth wrestling/football style helmet 

Buster Crabbe...handsome fella, crazy name.

If you watched these serials when you were young than you may feel differently but for me you can't skip this one fast enough.


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



Phantom from Space (1953)

Released: May 15th, 1953

Running Time: 73 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: United Artists


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/23293-phantom-from-space

The story concerns the sighting of a UFO which appears to have crashed in the San Fernando Valley, after which massive interference with teleradio transmission brings FCC investigators into action. They, in turn, begin encountering reports from people of seeing what appears to be a man dressed in a bizarre outfit.


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_from_Space

Phantom from Space is a 1953 independently made American black-and-white science fiction film produced and directed by W. Lee Wilder that stars Ted Cooper, Noreen Nash, Dick Sands, and Burt Wenland. The original screenplay was written by William Raynor and Myles Wilder. Working with most of the same crew, this was one of several early 1950s films made by Wilder and son Myles on a financing-for-distribution basis with United Artists and, on occasion, RKO Radio Pictures.[1]

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigators arrive in the San Fernando Valley after what appears to be a flying saucer crash, causing massive interference with tele-radio transmissions. During their investigation, they receive eyewitness reports of what appears to be a man dressed in a bizarre outfit, which appears to be radioactive and thus a public threat.

Their investigation uncovers that the man is actually a humanoid creature from outer space, who is invisible without his spacesuit. They start a massive manhunt for the invisible, radioactive alien running loose.

The action culminates in Los Angeles where the invisible alien has been tracked. He becomes trapped inside the famous Griffith Observatory. A woman lab assistant discovers that he can be seen using ultraviolet light. The alien attempts to communicate by tapping out a code, but no one can understand it. Now breathing heavily because his breathing gas reserves are now running low, he is trapped high-up on the Griffith telescope's upper platform. Because he can no longer survive without his breathing gas, he falters and then falls to his death. His body briefly becomes visible before completely evaporating


Distributed By

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Artists


My Thoughts

Feels like a propaganda piece for the US National Security State on MSNBC.  Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard all patrolling as if there is a need for constant vigilance in protecting against invaders and therefore, justification for the hugely inflated military budget.  Then after the alien lands and escapes on foot the police take over and they are arrogant, and accusatory without evidence, flipping the burden of proof so that it becomes your onus to prove that you are innocent, rather than the police having to prove that someone is guilty.

There is a mix of action and narration. It's not very compelling beyond the propaganda.  An invisible alien is on the run.  In the end they can't communicate with him and he is killed accidentally and then becomes visible.


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



Mesa of Lost Women (1953)

Released: Jun 17th, 1953

Running Time: 70 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: Howco Productions


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/23125-mesa-of-lost-women

A mad scientist, Dr. Aranya (Jackie Coogan), has created giant spiders in his Mexican lab in Zarpa Mesa to create a race of superwomen by injecting spiders with human pituitary growth hormones. Women develop miraculous regenerative powers, but men mutate into disfigured dwarves. Spiders grow to human size and intelligence.


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa_of_Lost_Women

Mesa of Lost Women is a 1953 American low-budget black-and-white science fiction filmdirected by Ron Ormond and Herbert Tevos from a screenplay by the latter and Orville H. Hampton.

The film was originally made by Pergor Productions under the title Tarantula and was viewed and granted a Motion Picture Production Code seal in October 1951. When the producers had difficulty in securing a distributor, Howco Productions Inc. bought the film in the spring of 1952 and assigned Ron Ormond to direct additional footage for the film.[2]

Tandra Quinn recalled Ormond took over several months after Tevos completed filming and shot additional sequences[3] including new ones with Jackie Coogan and her character being shot which was not in the original version.

Katherine Victor remembered that she was hired by Ormond as the original film was not able to be picked up for distribution with her desert sequences added to the film.[4]

One of the dwarfs of the film was Angelo Rossitto, whose film career had started in the 1920s. He was a veteran of Poverty Row horror films.[5]

Director Herbert Tevos, born Herbert Schoellenbach[6], reportedly claimed to have had a film career in his native Germany, and to have directed films starring Marlene Dietrich and Erich von Stroheim. He even claimed credit for supposedly directing the film The Blue Angel (1930). Actually Mesa was his only known film credit.[7]

The music of the film was composed by Hoyt Curtin. It makes use of a flamenco guitar and a piano, with their sounds combined in what seems to be a free jazz composition. It was later reused in the film Jail Bait (1954).[1][8] The narrator Lyle Talbot also appeared in various films by Ed Wood, such as Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). One of the various spider-women of Aranya is played by Dolores Fuller, who also appeared in Wood's films.[1] The film also features the film debut of Katherine Victor, as the spider-woman who first drove Masterson to the desert. She would become better known as a regular in Jerry Warren films.[9]

While Tarantella is one of the key characters of the film, this was a silent part for actress Tandra Quinn. She also had a silent part in The Neanderthal Man (1953), playing a deaf-mute. Decades later, Quinn recalled that she never received "a decent speaking part" in a film.[7] She reportedly chose her stage name by modifying one suggested by Tevos. He had suggested the stage name Tandra Nova. She agreed to the first name "Tandra", but found the last name unsuitable and reminiscent of Lou Nova. She instead chose the last name "Quinn" in honor of dancer Joan Quinn.[7]

Mesa was one of six 1950s films to make use of wire-controlled giant spiders. The others were Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), Tarantula (1955), World Without End (1956), Queen of Outer Space (1958), and Missile to the Moon (1958).[10] There is a theory that Mesa and Cat-Women made use of the same giant spider prop. But closer observation of the two films has revealed significant differences in design. Also the spider used in Mesa was limited in movement, a single jump being its greatest action feat. The one in Cat-Women was created by Wah Chang and was more advanced.[10] Both Mesa and Missile to the Moon were partially filmed in the Red Rock Canyon State Park.[11]


Distributed By

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howco (Howco Productions)


My Thoughts

There is a constant flamenco guitar strumming and plonk piano background music (clip mesa girls - music) used to break up the silence in the long no dialogue scenes. With some narration scenes early on.     

The lead actress Tandra Quinn is incredibly foxy.  She doesn't wear shoes or speak and wear's the same dress during the entire film.  She too sexy to have a speaking part. That would distract from why she's there. To be dead sexy and alluring and give dudes a reason to see the film that is otherwise mostly incoherent. The signature scene in the film is at 24 minutes where she dances a sexy Austin Powers-esque dance in a bar.  

The constant strumming flamenco guitar and plonk piano seemed to be underscoring (only heard by the viewer of the film and not understood as part of the reality of the film) but in the dance scene it seemed to be diegetic ( heard by the characters in the film) .

The idea of the film seems to be that a scientist combines hexapods (are spiders hexapods?) and humans.  The result is woman who are strong, resilient, and incredibly foxy, while men become feeble dwarves. I think the scientist mentions that Tandra's character could live for hundreds of years and take over the world at his bidding. 

I got a bit lost with the plot after that. Some guy shots Tandra's character in the dance scene then takes hostages and they leave and board a plane and then emergency land in the wilderness near the scientist's mesa of hot women in Mexico.

The scientist's lab and all the lovely ladies are blown up in the end.


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"



Killers from Space (1954)

Released: Jan 23rd, 1954

Running Time: 71 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: RKO Radio Pictures


From The Movie DB

https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/23045-killers-from-space

Atomic scientist/pilot Doug Martin is missing after his plane crashes on an reconnaissance mission after a nuclear test. Miraculously appearing unhurt at the base later, he is given sodium amethol, but authorities are skeptical of his story that he was captured by aliens determined to conquer the Earth with giant monsters and insects. Martin vows to use existing technology to destroy them.


From Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killers_from_Space

Killers from Space (a.k.a. The Man Who Saved the Earth) is a 1954 independently made American black-and-white science fiction film, produced and directed by W. Lee Wilder(brother of Billy Wilder), that stars Peter Graves, Barbara Bestar, Frank Gerstle, James Seay, and Steve Pendleton. The film originated as a commissioned screenplay from Wilder's son Myles Wilder and their regular collaborator William Raynor.[2]

Lee Wilder's production company, Planet Filmplays, usually producing on a financing-for-distribution basis for United Artists, wound up making this film for RKO Radio Picturesdistribution.

Dr. Douglas Martin (Peter Graves) is a nuclear scientist working on atomic bomb tests. While collecting aerial data on a United States Air Force (USAF) atomic blast at Soledad Flats, he loses control of his aircraft and crashes. He appears to have survived, unhurt, walking back to the air base with no memory of what happened. On his chest is a strange scar that was not there before the crash.

At the base hospital, Martin acts so strangely that the USAF brings in the FBI to investigate, thinking he might be an impostor. He is eventually cleared but told to take some time off. Martin protests being excluded from his project while on leave.

When an atomic test is set off without his knowledge, Martin steals the data, then goes back to Soledad Flats and places the information under a stone. An FBI agent follows him, but Martin is able to elude him until he crashes his car. Now back at the hospital, he is given truth serum. Deep under the drug's influence, Martin tells a story about being held captive by space aliens, led by Denab, in their underground base. The aliens, with large, bulging eyes, are from the planet Astron Delta, ruled by a being called The Tala. They had revived his lifeless body as he had died in his aircraft.

The aliens plan to exterminate humanity using giant insects and reptiles, grown with the radiation absorbed from our own atomic bomb tests. Martin intuits that the aliens use stolen electric grid power to control their powerful equipment. This so that the A-bomb's released energy levels can be predicted and then balanced. The aliens wiped his memory and hypnotized him into collecting the data for them.

The FBI agent (Steve Pendleton) and the base commander (James Seay) are skeptical of this incredible story and keep him confined at the hospital. Nevertheless, the attending physician says that Martin genuinely believes that what he told them is true.

With calculations made using a slide rule, Martin determines that if he shuts off the power to Soledad Flats for just 10 seconds, it will create an overload in the aliens' equipment. So he escapes from the hospital and goes to the nearby electrical power plant, where he forces a technician to turn off the power. After 10 seconds, the alien base is destroyed in a massive explosion, saving the Earth from conquest.


Distributed By

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RKO_Radio_Pictures


My Thoughts

More American military and Police State propaganda.  

The military is running a nuclear test when a jet sent to review the site crashes and the pilots are killed.  Later, one of the pilots appears, alive, on the military base. Turns out he was revived by some aliens with big bugged out eyes (34 minutes).

The pilot/doctor has a conversation with the aliens where the alien explains the whole backstory. The alien sun is dying and they are going to invade earth to make it their new home.  Apparently, they have the bugged out eyes because their world was getting darker and their appearance physically adapted to compensate. The aliens are going to use huge mutant earth cockroaches, spiders and otherwise creepy small animals and inserts to exterminate the human race.  Once the animals have served their purpose, they will be burned in order to fertilize the soil.  

The aliens look ridiculous.  The explanation for the bugged out eyes is completely implausible. I did like the over-the-top evil plan to use mutant creepy crawlies to eat the human race.


What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"

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