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In my opinion this is one of the best films made by Ivan Tors. Tors
created "Science Fiction Theater" for TV and made several SciFi films
(like The Magnetic Monster) before this genre was really popular. He
brought real science to the screen in plots that may seem dated today
but afterall, it was 1954. In GOG, Tors brings in then brand new
inventions such as jets, computers, robots, high frequency sound,
cryogenics, sunlight as a weapon, electronic surveillance, atomic power
and even man-made satellites (which would not become reality for 3 more
years). To an audience unfamiliar with such things, it was exiting and
scary. Especially scary when you were made to think such super weapons
were under the control of a foreign power. The Korean War had just
ended and the USSR was making aggressive comments about atomic war with
us. This movie gave me nightmares for quite awhile.
I was perhaps seven or eight years old when I saw "Gog" in the 1950s.
The story was only somewhat comprehensible to me; although I understood
that the laboratory was some type of research facility, it was unclear
to me why things were going haywire. The jet flying overhead was a
mystery: where did it come from, who was in it, and what was it doing?
The scientific devices were fun to watch, especially the "ray" weapon. Being unable to grasp the concept of sabotage, I didn't appreciate why the device was not operating as designed. But what had the biggest effect on me was the action of the robots. Their running amok in the lab scared me to death. Maybe I picked up on the terror of the lab's occupants.
The combination of confusion and fear made watching the movie (on TV) unpleasant but fascinating. It would be fun to see "Gog" now, knowing what I do about the plot, the actors, and the Cold War era in which it was made.
... and there are unforgettable images which have stayed with me,
the horrific scene as Dr. Hubertus (Michael Fox, perfectly cast) finds
himself trapped within the test chamber with the slowly oscillating window
wiper, and the growing panic that follows with the grim realization that
screams for help cannot be heard. And then that stare through the glass as
his spectacles ice over ...
Look for "Gog". There have to be copies out there somewhere.
GOG is quite an extraordinary, obscure film -- it has hardly ever been rerun on any channel, however I was lucky enough to catch it in its entirety [I'd edited it perfectly - without commercials] about 10 years ago on TNT [Turner network] ... in COLOR! I have hung onto this little GEM and view it occasionally and I must say that I still find this movie to be highly enjoyable! I cannot understand why TURNER/MGM/ WARNER has not EVER released this film in ANY format [never on VHS, DVD or LASERDISC] ... with all of the CRAP [old and new] that is being dredged up on a daily basis for video [DVD] releases, the mind boggles as to why so many classic [and decent "B" flix] SCI-FI & HORROR films have still yet to be released [ex: BURN WITCH BURN, DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, KING KONG, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, WORLD WITHOUT END, INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, TARANTULA, ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS, CONQUEROR WORM, THE POWER, ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, BRIDES OF DRACULA, GAMMA PEOPLE, LAND UNKNOWN, MONOLITH MONSTERS, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, DR CYCLOPS, MOLE PEOPLE, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, UNINVITED, INNOCENTS, SON OF KONG, MARK OF THE VAMPIRE, EARTH VS THE SPIDER, DEVIL DOLL, BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE, INVISIBLE BOY, TOBOR, etc etc this long list goes on and on ...]! Anyway, GOG is right on the mark [and ahead of its time - 1956] with Cold War conspiracies, Nuclear testing, computer programming, Biblical references [GOG & MAGOG] and it is indeed a well-constructed film with an interesting espionage approach. ANDROMEDA STRAIN was obviously influenced by this film! The acting is downplayed to a rather scientific level, but is good and on par -- you will notice many veteran stock actors within the cast. Most of the previous User Comments in regards to this film are quite accurate and thoughful, and can be blended into a final strong and POSITIVE review. Indeed, SEE IT - ENJOY IT - pray for DVD!
Saw this film when I was about 10 years old. I loved Sci-Fi movies so naturally saw this one. But something was different. There was some unusually tense undercurrent in the story. Actually scared me. Years later I realized the nervous tension was due to the underlying theme of the 'cold war'. The Cold War was very real back in the 50's and as a kid you would hear, now and then, things that would scare the pants off of you. What came first? The chicken or the egg? Was this a sci-fi flick that used the cold war tension or was it overwhelmed by the omnipresent tensions of said war? Don't know but it scare the heck out of me back then.
Just picked it up on DVD. This is one of a very few movies that stuck with me from my childhood. Scared the crap out of me when I was 7 years old. Great flick...even now. Part of my childhood is remembered in black and white...from all those B grade science fiction and monster movies I saw on TV and in the theaters. Growing up in NYC, I would be able to catch some of them five to six times a week on Million Dollar Movie...every night at 8 PM and twice on Saturday afternoon. The movie title comes from the bible (Ezekiel 38) and has an end-of-the-world connotation. This flick is a must see for all of us who grew up in the 50'. The other movie that effected me was Spaceship XM-7 (Blood Rust). Gog was especially awesome for its interesting robots, Gog and Magog. They were short and rolled around on hidden wheel. Se this flick...it is a part of American history.
Yes, I saw this as a kid during the Saturday Matinee era. Have seen it a few times on TV, and recorded a copy. I also enjoyed the early "Doctor Who" broadcasts. I wonder if the Doctor Who set designers were influenced by Gog and Magog when they conceived the Daleks? Think about it: Both robots were mobile via treads/rollers (no artificial legs); both robots have a similar body shape; both have a single, grasping arm, and both have a flamethrower-type arm. Coincidence?
"The Return of Gog" - sounds good doesn't it? Shot in 3-D, but unseen in
that format for 50 years, GOG hit the big screen at the Hollywood Egyptian
last weekend as part of a 3-D film festival. After its premiere in
Hollywood, UA decided NOT to release GOG nationally in 3-D, setting the
stage for a film which has been more read about than seen properly for
decades. For, once its theatrical (non 3-D) release was completed, the film
apparently was sold to TV in B&W prints which further robbed the film of its
production lustre. Only in the last few years did a color print show up
courtesy of Turner Television. And, now, a 3-D dual print (complete with
intermission to change reels!) has been unearthed.
Unfortunately, all this buildup is for a small, talky B-picture. It IS refreshing to look back at a time when SF films weren't just glorified Chase/Action films (ie: T3), but GOG is mostly banal. Still, there's a lot of gadgetry, political intrigue and genuine science (!) packed into its brief running time. The unseen enemy behind it all is clearly the old Soviet Union, setting the film apart from so many films which depict the science itself as evil or suspect.
Director Herbert Strock was there along with Joe Dante and Leonard Maltin. Dante interviewed Strock, who was still spry and proud of his film. Ironically, Strock (like Andre De Toth) has monocular vision and couldn't guage the 3-D effects himself. Indeed, Strock's decision to keep garish 3-D effects to a minimum also may have contributed to the studio's decision to forego a costly 3-D release. And even Strock was amused at a line in the film where someone is hospitalized by an overdose, "It was only a little radiation!"
"Gog" sure scared the hell out of all of us "Saturday-matinee" habituees in '54. The sound, the monkey experiment, the levels below ground, the radiated plant, the desert mirror scene, and of course, the two flame-throwing robots, Gog and Magog. Ivan Tors (of TV's Science Fiction Theater) did a damned good job in keeping us kids on the edge of our seats. Have a faded bootleg copy. Sure wish that the current copyright owners would issue a restored copy on VHS in the near future.
Not a bad little movie, with a touch more suspense than most movies of this type. The names of the two robots that are controlled by.....,well you should see the movie for that, Gog and Magog, comes from the Bible, Rev.20:8. They are the two nations to be led by Satan in the final battle at Armageddon against the kingdom of God. Is Ivan Tors trying to tell us that the Soviet Union is SATAN? Well, it was 1954! Worth the time if you can find it.
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