The Monitors (1969) Poster

(1969)

User Reviews

Add a Review
17 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
One of the few non-USSR analogy cold war movies. Suspiciously similar to Earth Final Conflict.
Truzzi15 September 2001
I remember watching this movie on late nite TV many times as a child. Although a bit slow it is a good movie and worth watching. The Monitors are a group of aliens which inhabit Earth and take responsibility as a sort of police force, bringing peace to the planet as well as technological and medical advancements. Although the Monitors are truly benign, an underground movement does not want the planet to be controlled by outsiders.

The TV series Earth Final Conflict seems suspiciously similar. The social statements are similar to those found in Metropolis, 1984, and Planet of the Apes, and Colossus: The Forbin Project, to name a few. The commentary questions government intervention in affairs domestic as well as foreign, and seems to question whether peace is better than the freedom of self-governance, and if "peace" can be enforced. It is also one of the few cold war science fiction movies that does not focus on the USSR by proxy.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Extraordinary
kerravon7 December 2005
This film bounces between being yet another stupid sixties oddity, to an almost forgotten work of sheer genius.

There are moments where you'll question whether the cast or crew were on some dodgy medication, and others where you'll think "blimey. That's not too bad." Some of the elements are high comedy - for example one character uses a variety of items (melon, whipping cream, french stick) from a shopping basket in a fight scene, but at the same time the film maintains a certain darkness. The monitors come across as perhaps the most polite but menacing characters seen for a long time.

Worth your time.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
KEITH LAUMER
Darryl Cox (DD-931)14 January 2004
I've begun to wonder if there are more than a few hundred people on earth who remembered Keith Laumer at all...but now I KNOW there aren't more than a few hundred people...

THE MONITORS is a sloppy movie (as befits the era it was made in, where people sometimes went against convention simply because it WAS convention), but the basic humor and theme are definitely still timely. Whoever owns this is a fool for not releasing it on DVD as a cult film.

However, if I had 10 or 20 million to make a film with, I wouldn't re-make what is actually one of Laumer's more minor works. I would commit Keith Laumer's greatest literary creation to celluloid; something that should have been done long ago.

Or is there no one left out there who remembers Jame Retief of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne?
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Oddball flick
westpac20 March 2003
This used to turn up at 3AM on those stations you had to stick a coat hanger in the back of your TV to get semi-clearly, but I haven't seen it crop up in twenty years now. Aliens conquer the Earth, but the twist is that they bring peace and prosperity and the population rebels against it. Based on a book by Keith Laumer one of the movies more memorable moments are the recurring commercials promoting the Monitors that begin with a chorus singing "the moooo-nitors mmmm-mmmmmm....." Worth a look if you ever stumble across it.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Where can you find this movie?
jamesbdowning23 August 2002
I've been hunting this movie down for the last 10 years. Saw in on late night TV and loved it. But no one thinks that it ever existed. Hopefully the parties involved in this movie decides to make some quick cash and release it for all of us poor chumps to watch and buy!
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Fun, twisted movie
rnc-823 June 2006
I saw this years ago, before I really knew much about Second City. Apparently, this was done by a group of Second City folks in the "let's make a movie" spirit, & it shows! Cameos by everybody & their dog, including Jackie Vernon, Sen. Everitt Dirkson, & Xavier Cougat (& his dog!). I knew it was based on a Keith Laumer novel, but didn't know until now that he co-wrote it.

Very funny, very strange, & now that I live in Chicago, I recognize many of the locations as being within a few blocks of Second City!

How can you beat Guy Williams, Larry Storch, & Avery Schreiber? Fun, relaxed performances in a very enjoyable SF story.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
"Uneven", but very enjoyable satirical film
Skragg8 August 2005
I first saw it when it was only 2-3 years old on the late, late show (it evidently was that unsuccessful), and I was half-asleep. Even though it has almost no resemblance to the book (which I only read a few years ago), I still think it's great. And IF it's a bad one, it's a bad one FULL of clever parts (some of which ARE taken from the book)- The Monitors being "do-gooders", but unemotional ones (wanting "no gratitude", as the theme song says), their "prisons" being more like weekend retreats, the commercials for them, just like campaign ads, with the person in the street interviews and the chirpy song. And of course, Keenan Wynn as the "General Ripper" variation, and Ed Begley Sr. as the president. If NOTHING ELSE works, his two scenes DO - the next-to-last one (which I'm tempted to give away), and the earlier one, where, without being a callous person, he somehow manages to HATE being president in a world without crises - "If you think I'M bitter, you should hear what certain parties in the KREMLIN have to say!" And Larry Storch as the most incompetent spy ever. After he spells out his group's whole plan to Susan Oliver, she asks him to let her go, and he says, "I can't - you know too much." (I don't know whether this was even an original joke, but he made it funny.)
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Loved this movie
letonagasi17 March 2002
I saw this movie as a kid on the late late show .I really liked it and if anyone knows where I can get a copy of it let me know.From what I can remember of it I think it was very cool the way the aliens had control over everything. they were supposed to be the bad guys but you started cheering for them .
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
North Americanized Prisoner
jabailo12 April 2011
This is a somewhat cool movie; however, it loses a bit because the styling and theme is so much like "The Prisoner" (if it had antedated the Prisoner, then it would have been really cool), but it seems more like some kids doing "their version" of the Prisoner for high school.

It certainly has its moments, and I realize it's intended as a black comedy, but since the Prisoner at its core is somewhat dry humor itself...well, there you have it. I mean, even the "leader" is in a room that seems exactly like Number #2's headquarters.

It does get at least two stars just for the appearance of Sherry Jackson, famous for her cross-halter jumpsuit wearing android in the Star Trek and while that is hard to top, she is even more fetching in "the Monitors".

Note: This film is now available with Netflix streaming.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
The idea was great...the execution was terrible!
MartinHafer23 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"The Monitors" has some great ideas but it is a really bad film--so bad that a 3 is being VERY generous. It's amazing how such an interesting idea can be so incompetently handled--and this is one incompetent film! I only give it a 3 because some elements of the film are quite good...though most are awful.

The basic idea isn't bad. Some aliens who call themselves the Monitors have taken over the planet. However, unlike the typical movie aliens, these guys are very benevolent. They apparently have a strong need to keep order--to be sure the humans stop war, treat each other well and behave. Naturally, some folks hate being told what to do and there is a resistance movement--and here's where the film falls apart. Although the basic idea is good, the resistance folks are comic book morons (with the likes of Larry Storch working for them). Add Avery Schreiber and you've got the nice makings for an episode of "Love Boat"--not the makings of a good sci-fi movie! It's really sad, as the ending is really good as well--when the aliens decide to leave since we just aren't worth the trouble and they aren't willing to kill to keep order.

If you bother seeing this mess of a movie, check out the odd cameos by the likes of Xavier Cugat (his is pretty cute), Peter Boyle and Alan Arkin as well as a baby carriage scene that is an obvious homage to "Potemkin". Also listen for the most annoying music you can find in a film!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
The Monitors: A tyranny no less pleasant remains a tyranny
lord woodburry29 April 2003
The aliens conquer earth but while their reign is benevolent earth has no use for it and rises up in rebellion to re-establish human corruption and perfidity.

Punctuated by a cameo appearance by Golden Tonsils, the last great orator Everet Dirksen, the Monitors is an off beat comment on the rebellious nature of mankind against tyranny no less benign.

The movie appears to have been the inspiration for the TV mini series V which portrays an alien presence whose beneficience is far more superficial.

Highly recommended for Fullosians.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
The Monitors, a truly, delightfully weird movie
Tom Stormcrowe16 November 2010
Oddball humor abound in this oddball take on the Cold War period. Second City did an uneven, but generally brilliant overall campy production, and watch for some interesting cameos (I won't spoil the surprises). I do recommend you watch this gem, which can be found still. It's definitely worth the search.

The supporting cast includes Larry Storch, Keenan Wynne, Ed Begley, and others. They work together in a synergy that really makes this movie pop, in a surreal, goofy way. If you like Dr Strangelove, for example, you would probably like this movie. Its still relevant today, 41 years later.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Clever, could be better
lbliss31425 June 2005
I saw this on TV back in the 70s. A comic twist on a classic SF theme, made on a shoestring in Chicago. I think some of the Second City troupe was involved in it. I don't remember how it ends, so I can't spoil it. The part that tickled me the most were the constant radio ads the Monitors ran. They sounded exactly like the AM radio station ID jingles of the 60s and 70s. One went "The Monitors are here/There's nothing left to fear/The Monitors!" (I know, hard to translate into print, but it had the same saccharine harmonies that top 40 jingles had.) I don't recall exactly how they conquered the Earth--there was no bloodshed. Maybe those jingles had subliminal messages! I also remember seeing a riot in progress, and the Monitors sending a car with a PA system that said "Reason, not force. Reason, not force." It was kind of like very polite cops running the world. The Monitors were very nice folks, but a little too naive. Would love to see it again.
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Ah, yes, I remember it well
mark_heumann18 December 2016
Those who complain about this movie's production values should remember it's a Bell & Howell production--in other words, done by a company that may have known cameras, but not film production. So give it a break. I haven't seen it in many, many years. What do I remember? 1. The Monitor's radio/television jingle, the lyrics of which varied: "The Monitors are here, oh boy, they . . ." (Forgot the next 2 and a half lines.) Ending, in one case, with "God Bless America . . . and The Montors!" 2. A confrontation between Monitors and rebels on a flight of wide steps--one of many cinematic versions of the Odessa Steps scene in Eisenstein's Potemkin. 3. Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, posing in his office in front of a framed ear of corn. (He passed away the year of the film's release.) 4. Ed Begley as the President, celebrating the Monitors' departure: "Back to the good old, bad old, good old days!" All told, a fun movie.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Historical artifact
tomquick24 May 2010
This was not easy to find, and the DVD I watched had an oddity. A stretch of 10-15 minutes repeats over during the first 1/3 of the film. Whether this is intentional, or whether it's a transfer glitch I'll never know.

Second City IS Chicago school improv comedy, and this looks like a first attempt to take it to film. 10 years later SCTV became very entertaining with Rick Moranis, John Candy and Eugene Levy involved. All the elements of good stand-up comedy are here, and it's full of great throwaway lines. Sometimes it's shockingly funny (Xavier Cugat with toy poodles?). Larry Storch is prototype John Belushi, and his limo with cheap deflector shields is a prototype of the Animal House cake-car. Odetta singing hippie songs? Everett Dirksen quoting from the Bible with a giant bronze bust behind him? Different.

But as the first SCTV efforts were sloppy and uneven, this earlier film is even more so. All the great improv comedy fails to marry with the sci-fi theme and cheap psychedelia and it ends up falling flat. I had trouble staying awake.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Just plain awful!
d-millhoff17 December 2012
I finally got around to watching The Monitors.

I was saving it to view with a friend, Initially it wouldn't play on her DVD player, but started up OK after re-inserting...

...and I'm now kinda wishing it wouldn't play...

This movie is so gawdawful BAD, she made me sit through an excruciating hour before she couldn't stand it herself and switched to something more watchable.

After seeing over a dozen Stars-before-they-were-Stars, I can understand why this movie is so hard to find.

The entire cast and crew was obviously on drugs and would probably rather see this embarrassment lost to history.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Hidden nude scenes
donomarsh31 January 2011
The movie was slow and not funny. Dark satire? Maybe. I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be funny or if it was just that bad. The most interesting thing I noticed was three barely perceptible scenes perhaps less than a frame or two of a slender topless woman,with long red hair, standing in front of some tombstones and a skull and bones in the background.Was this supposed to make us feel sexual or fearful? Not sure but check it out. The scened occur during the main characters flash backs and another during a scene where the main female lead is talking to reporters.

This is a bad 1984 Big brother type movie with a Twilight Zone kind of twist.The brother of the main character is the Doritos Guy from the 70s, tell me I'm wrong if your old enough to remember the 70s Doritos commercial. I watched this on streaming Netflix by the way.

I give it three out of 10 for the subliminal nude scene.
0 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews