New York, 1980: airplanes have replaced cars, numbers have replaced names, pills have replaced food, government-arranged marriages have replaced love, and test tube babies have replaced ...... See full summary »
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New York, 1980: airplanes have replaced cars, numbers have replaced names, pills have replaced food, government-arranged marriages have replaced love, and test tube babies have replaced ... well, you get the idea. Scientists revive a man struck by lightning in 1930; he is rechristened "Single O". He is befriended by J-21, who can't marry the girl of his dreams because he isn't "distinguished" enough -- until he is chosen for a 4-month expedition to Mars by a renegade scientist. The Mars J-21, his friend, and stowaway Single O visit is full of scantily clad women doing Busby Berkeley-style dance numbers and worshiping a fat middle-aged man. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Only the truly stupendous art direction of this film saved it from a rating of "1." David Butler directed what was probably supposed to be a star vehicle for El (short for Elmer) Brendel, a long time vaudevillian, but which was more of a testament to the art deco style and the endless quest to imagine a long-distant future. Made in 1930, looking briefly back to 1880, the film pictures a 1980 in which cars have been replaced by personal planes, food and alcohol have been reduced to pill form, babies are purchased from a machine, and the marriage tribunal acts as matchmaker. The clothes are mostly skimpy or see-through for the women and odd lapel-less suits with side buttons for the men (actually not so inappropriate for 1980--they looked like something out of a Human League video).
People no longer have names, but rather are identified with a combination of letters and numbers which sounds suspiciously like names (J, RT, LN, D, etc.) In two of the exceptions to this trend, the villain is MT (empty?) and the heroine's father is AK. (Given the poke at Henry Ford's anti-semitism, practically the only funny moment in the film, I couldn't help wonder if AK represented the common abbreviation for the Yiddish expression "alte kake," or "old fart.") The plot, if one can call it that, revolves around the star-crossed love of J and LN, facilitated by Brendel and capped by a phenomenal trip to Mars (take that, Mr. Bush). There we learn that as early as 1930, the tradition of women in space wearing skimpy clothing already was in place.
There's no real plot, and not a lot of humor, and the songs aren't even that good. (Better DeSylva, Henderson, and Brown numbers can be heard in their biopic, "The Best Things in Life are Free.") There really isn't anything to watch this for other than the spectacular production design.
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