In the Fabulous Thirties, Doc Savage and his five Amazing Adventurers are sucked into the mystery of Doc's father disappearing in the wilds of South America. The maniacal Captain Seas tries to thwart them at every turn as they travel to the country of Hidalgo to investigate Doc's father's death and uncover a vast horde of Incan gold. Written by
To put out the fire in Doc's residence, "extinguisher globes" are used. In reality, such globes were marketed in the nineteenth century. They were made of glass and filled with water or some other fire suppressant. Though they had a long shelf life and are now collectibles, they were only minimally effective against fires. See more »
During the scene where Doc Savage and his comrades are pursuing the sniper, modern (1970s vintage) automobiles can be seen in one of the aerial shots. The film is set in 1936. See more »
The problem is that the movie rode in on the coattails of the 60's-created concept that comic books could only be done as "camp" (i.e., the 60's Batman show) for TV and movie. Thus you have combat sequences with subtitles (come on!), a cluelessly unromantic Doc Savage (he was uncomfortable around women in the pulps, not an idiot), Monk Mayfair in a nightsheet (a scene guaranteed to give you nightmares for several nights), and the totally hokey ending with the secondary bad guy encased in gold like a Herve Villechez posing for an Oscar statute. And when they're not doing booming Sousa march scores, the tinkly little "funny" music undercuts much of the drama.
Even as such, this movie is...okay. It's fun, and when it stays serious it's a very accurate representation of the pulps. Except for Monk, as has been mentioned before: he's hugely muscled, not obese. And Long Tom, who is supposed to be a pale scrawny guy with an attitude, not Paul Gleason with an (inexplicable) scarf.
The Green Death sequences, for instance, are remarkably gruesome and not something I'd recommend for children. But they are very close to the feel of the pulps. When the writers and producers get it right, they do get it right - I'll give them that.
But if the producers had done Doc with the loving care and scripting of, say, Reeves' first two Superman movies, think what we might have had then. I think the problem is the movie's schizophrenic. There's a definite sense of trying to do a 30's homage, but they're also trying to give in to the "heroes must be camp" attitude that Batman created. One gets the impression there was a sober, pulp-style first draft and then someone came in and said, "Hey, let's make it funny - it worked with the Batman show 8 years ago!"
But Doc lives on, thanks to Earl MacRauch and Buckaroo Banzai. If MacRauch ain't doing a homage to Doc Savage in that movie, the man is truly demented. So when the series actually gets on TV (allegedly mid-season in '99-00), Doc Savage, updated to the 90's, will live once more.
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