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
I was fortunate enough to meet George Pal (and still have my DS:TMOB poster autographed by him) at a convention shortly after the release, and asked him why he chose to do the film "camp". Before he could answer, two studio flacks intercepted and lectured me on how the studio "knew best" and how "no one will take such a film seriously". I had been reading the Bantam reprints for a couple of years thanks to a friend (ComiCon attendees of the 1970s will recall Blackhawk and his band? I was in a couple of years of that with him), and had higher hopes than what we got.
The flacks insisted that no high adventure would ever be done seriously, and so doing 'camp' was the only way. Several other fans jumped in on my side, with Pal listening as best he could. At the end of the little event, Pal came up to us and apologized, wishing he could have done more and better.
STAR WARS put the lie to the flacks, and a year after Pal's death, Spielberg and Lucas proved that Doc Savage could have easily been the next major movie franchise...if it hadn't been for the flacks.
Tear out the memory or history of Doc, and the film would have been worth a 6/10 rating as nothing more than a mindless popcorn seller.
But destroying the legacy like that was no less an abomination than killing a baby in the crib.
Doc Savage can still come to the screen, and survive the inevitable comparisons by the ill-informed to Indiana Jones, but it would have to be done in all seriousness and earnest to reclaim the glory that we should expect from the First American Superhero.
SIDENOTES: Yes, there was a second script for ARCHENEMY OF EVIL, and it's a lot more serious. Yes, there was simultaneous footage shot, but mostly establishing shots and very little with actors. And, yes, there _is_ a one-sheet of Ron Ely leaping over a brick wall and blasting at something over his shoulder with a specially built bronze pistol. Ely's wearing a duster over a button down white shirt with a bronze tie, and the words "DOC SAVAGE: ARCHENEMY OF EVIL...Coming Next Summer!" POSTSCRIPT: If anyone knows who the studio flacks were that accompanied George Pal in 1975 to San Diego for the convention, smack the idiots up the side of the head and call them the idiots that they are. At the time, they were doing dorkknobs and Fu Manchu in stripes and baggy canvas pants, and carrying Paramount portfolios.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?