A classic & lyrical love-tale with a bitter-sweet twist, I Heard the Mermaids Singing is a short-film adaptation of a play written by legendary acting coach & casting director Michael ... See full summary »
A group of lonely Viking women build a ship and set off across the sea to locate their missing menfolk, only to fall into the clutches of the barbarians that also hold their men captive. ... See full summary »
Prof. Erling and his financial backer Victor build a prototype time machine to snatch objects from the past. Latest find, a statuette, radiometrically dates to 5200 AD! When this draws ... See full summary »
Using hypnosis, Dr. Carlo Lombardi claims that he can have his patients regress and recover memories from their past lives, thereby proving that reincarnation exists. He also claims that the spirit of these past lives can be brought forth to take physical form.. A series of violent murders by a creature that seems to disappear into the sea suggests that Lombardi's claim may be correct. The medical and scientific community believe him to be a complete fraud but one enterprising businessman sees the opportunity to make a small fortune with Lombardi's ability. Written by
The dog that walks along the beach with Marla English is, in real life named Spike, and is the same dog who played the title character in Old Yeller (1957). See more »
In the latter part of the picture, police Lieutenant James listens to a conversation he had with Dr. Lombardi on a tape recorder. He actually asked for the recorder some time *after* he spoke with Lombardi, so who recorded the conversation? See more »
This movie is, of course, artistically bankrupt. It is artless, tedious and frankly illogical. It is, however, rather watchable in an odd sort of way... Not quite in the Plan 9 fashion, where you're left laughing all the time, because the production values here aren't all that bad for the time. The "She Creature", whilst a risible concept, looks quite impressive, given a bit of disbelief-suspension - vital for any true lover of film, of course. 'Tis a shame the creature moves so slow as to make anyone killed by it look utterly pathetic.
The plot is a mixture of clichéd horror and cut-price hypnotism, a concern which you can tell was topical in 1956. It has some interesting areas which are largely unexplored: the big-business involvement with the good Dr Lombardi could have made for some reasonable drama and comedy. This missed opportunity is far from the worst thing about the story; the relationship between Marla English's Andrea and both Lombardi and Erickson is abysmally written. We are presented with scenes that stutter on for days between Lombardi and Andrea; scenes that say nothing new at all, as we knew right from the start about Andrea's dilemma. Even worse is the abrupt, tiresomely predictable "romance" between Andrea and Erickson. The acting is devoid of charisma, humour and often even the vaguest physical or emotional expression. Perhaps these marionettes would make good human-fodder in a Ballardian concept, but they really wouldn't have the poise to achieve that.
Lance Fuller gives a kind of unintended, minimalist-hammy performance as the sceptic-type Dr Erickson. You frankly end up rooting for Lombardi, such is the unfounded, uncalled-for smugness of the 'rational' Erickson. Cathy Downs' character only shows interest in him due to the constraints of genre convention. Erickson's battle of wills with Lombardi over Andrea's mind and the only intended humour, which comprises scenes of the house-servants, are some of the feeblest, most cringe-worthy scenes in the annals of cinema.
The crucial figure is that of the sole experienced and professional actor in the film, Chester Morris, who seems to know how to handle this ludicrous material, by playing it deadly seriously. He actually gives an effective portrayal of a taciturn, smalltime showman who isn't quite as clever as everyone is endlessly saying. Morris's range of expressions is ridiculously small, reduced to a permanent frown, and, on second thoughts, perhaps some wry humour and flamboyance would have lifted the film, if even been out of character. He does, after all, sport the archytypal villain's moustache and black cape - so often found in the ripest stage and film melodramas.
It really is 'against all odds' - as a Mr Collins once crooned - that this film is fun to watch. Perhaps it is the black-and-white photography that lends it some atmosphere. Indeed the film, if you suspend your disbelief, works on a 1950s B-Movie level, without ever threatening to reach the heights of that genre. Most of the fun is in observing these hapless, smug characters - only just managing to keep within some rather ropey genre conventions - and finding the unintended mirth in what they say and do. So, worth watching - it is mercifully brief by latterday measures - but do keep expectations very low!
9 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?