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Men Into Space: Moon Probe (1959)
A thrilling pilot
For its time this is an outstanding episode about the exploration of space. Not only do we see the square jawed American heroes but the families bravely standing behind them supporting them in their achievements. The matching of stock footage and purpose shot film inside the control room is outstanding and at times it is easy to forget we are watching a fictional TV show and not a documentary from the era. When the central drama unfolds the resemblance to the actions and reactions around the world show an uncanny likeness to scenes witnessed when the real life Apollo 13 drama unfolded. Anyone with either an interest in the early days of TV science fiction or the beginnings of the space program will enjoy this series immensely
The Mysteron won this round but not the fight
Even by Captain Scarlet standards this story leaves a lot to be desired.
A desalination planet high in the Andes mountains....not much thought given to where the salt water will come from to justify the expense.
The Mysterons, who prove constantly they are awful at this insurgency stuff, again warn all of Earth of their evil plans. I am not sure if it is the viewer or the Mysterons who are more surprised when they actually pull it off and destroy the plant.
The evil Captain Black has the smallest of cameos, sneaking into shot, planting a transmitter before disappearing. But for the hard core fans, the Angels are the real stars, taking up over a quarter of the shows run time, trying to destroy an Aztec temple being used to guide the errant space craft to Earth
The New Avengers: Forward Base (1977)
He went into the water dressed in clothes, comes back out dead and in a bathrobe
For the New Avengers this is a fun, at times almost light hearted episode. Chasing an enemy spy in a swan boat is a long way from the typical white knuckle car chases we expect in spy thrillers The story does well to create a sense of mystery. A shoreline that seems to change regularly. A fisherman who seems surprisingly stupid for no other reasons than he is a Canadian fisherman. Missile parts being lost found lost again, finally discovered to be changed We have a bit of an overload of henchmen. Chief Soviet (We assume) seems to have them growing on trees and able to lose 3 of them in 50 minutes of film time. The Workers comp cases alone would ruin the communist empire.
This episode was one the final four made after French finances began to dry up and Canadian backing was found. As a consequence the series moves to Ontario and the title card before the episode name reads "New Avengers in Canada The series always suffered from comparison with the original, and at times thats a little unfair. This was a show for its time, as was the original Avengers a decade before
Peri really short for Peritonitis
It is hard to really know where to begin with this episode. We have writers arguing about who wrote the thing, a Doctor still settling into the role, a side kick that while kind on the eyes, is just a dreadful character played by an even worse actor.
The good news. We have a nice premise building. A distress signal that should not exist. A great bad guy in Maurice Colbourne - who died well before his time. Creepy dark tunnels and finally strange looking policemen.
The policemen turn out a bust - who they are or why they are here is never explained, they just sorta stop turning up halfway through the episode. The tunnels, we discover are full of Cybermen- with more of them lurking behind the Moon.
The Doctor stumbles into all this, seems to have the guts of the problem worked out without actually telling anyone, anything, and Peri wandering around with an American accent that actually hurts the ears to listen to Things have got to get better for episode 2....don't they....I mean really, they have too don't they.
I never like to make predicitons
Watching this last installment is a little like a good Chinese meal. Great while you are eating it, but after a little while you see how little you actually got.
The plot takes a real hammering. First we have the Controller order all Cybermen into the chambers, but remains behind, just in time to kill Klieg (again) The controller himself has some serious wrestling moves pulled by Toberman who throws him around like a rag doll, but who magically comes to life at the required time to cause more furrowed brows Then there is the shoring timber left outside the control room. We see everyone find and enter the room, nobody was carrying timber. Period Now with all that you would think it is a pretty sucky end to an interesting idea. Funny thing it is not. The story comes together, the Doctor is at his best, and we are left with a great open ended finale that leaves us wondering when will the Cybermen will turn up again
You Will Join Us You will be Us
I really enjoyed this chapter. The story kicks into high gear as we discover both Klieg's ultimate plan, and exactly what the Cybermen are up too.
After being rounded up by the Cybermen the expedition stage a dramatic escape after Capt Hopper intervenes. The Cybermen now once again trapped in the city launch a wave of cybermats, which once defeated allows Kaftan and Klieg to make their move.
**Puff Puff** thats all in 24 minutes of television
Onwards and upwards to the final episode......... ....... .... .............. ...... ........... . .......... ......... ................... . ....... ...... ......... ..........
We will get there eventually
I didn't rate this episode nearly as highly as the first. In reality it is not much more than a bridging chapter, with a lot of time being used to set up the rest of the storyline. Kaftan and Klieg's motivation is expanded, the ship is disabled, and the secret of the hatch is unraveled. Information that could have been rolled out in 5 minutes if need be.
Once they access the city the chapter really gets its legs again. The expedition finds the Cyber tomb, Kaftan reveals her true motivation to Victoria and finally in the closing minutes, the defrosting Cybermen begin to emerge from their tomb.
Episode 1 - the plot thickens
Although I've never considered myself a Cyberman fan, I really enjoyed the brooding set up this first of 4 episode. A strange deserted city is presented with the knowledge we know it is the home of the cybermen and we really know they are not dead. It is not stated in the episode, but we just know, just like the Doctor The cast is competent, although the bad guy/girl Klieg and Kaftan seem a little more stock standard and Hammer Horror orientated than the others.
The cliff hanger does not seem to make a lot of sense at this stage, but I assume as always the reasons for the death of the scientist and Jamie becoming almost hypnotized will be revealed
Nebo zovyot (1959)
What was the original about?
I have just posted a synopsis for this film and noted the major differences between the original Soviet production and the American release.
Although reported to be over 2 hours long my fully subtitled version is only 67 minutes.
I suspect that the a lot of the Soviet propaganda supposed to be in the film was removed before the subtitled version came out.
If anyone wants more details of the differences between the two films don't hesitate to contact me.
Also if anyone has a longer subtitled version of the original film I would also love to know how to source it
Running on Empty (1982)
Great cars, not so hot acting
Whenever this film gets a mention, usually the discussion begins and ends with the wonderful collection of cars and drag scenes, often overlooked are the at times eclectic characters that populate the film around the three central characters
One character that stands out is Rebel played by the great veteran Australian actor Max Cullen. Rebel is a blind drag racer, who nearly runs down the hero and his group in the middle of the night because he is not using any headlights.
In the back story we discover that Rebel master builder of street racing cars, and he and his wife seem locked in a time warp of the 1950's. Rebel goes on to play a small but pivotal role in teaching Mike, played by Terry Serio, the almost spiritual truth about street drag racing. It is not speed, reaction times that make a great racer. It is the one who feels the car best who will become the greatest
This is best exemplified as Rebel explains to Mike after a test drive "You got all the agony, just missing the style"
Graham Bond, is another well credited actor lending his talents as a crooked police officer looking to get in on some of the financial action being generated by the street racing. The confrontation between Bond and Fox played by Richard Moir adds tension to the story. Bond not only expects results but also Fox to drum up racing business
For most of the movie Fox displays a real manipulative and evil side, yet in the climax he presents a sense of honor that turns the final few minutes into an extremely tense and memorable ending. It is almost as if the film is refocusing on its true intention, to show us the culture of street racing rather than the day to day activities of people
One of the major complaints about the film is the script. Although it is nothing exciting, I believe the complete lack of any chemistry between Mikes girlfriend played by Deborah Conway and his mechanic played by Vangelis Mourikis has more to do with the problem. Any scene in which these two interact simply should have been cut
Lastly in terms of the actors, one truly standout performance is delivered by Kristoffer Greaves, who plays a deaf and crippled member of Fox's inner circle. His back story is never explored, was he injured in a race, born that way, what is it that Fox sees value in to keep him around
The reality of the film is simple, it is about street racing, and the culture behind it. When the cars are flying and action sequences are in motion it is the only time Director John Clark and his writer Barry Tomblin seem really comfortable with what they are doing.
So if you are looking for an in depth exploration of human relationships, moments of life defining drama, then this film is not for you. If your pulse races at the thought of a blown 57 Chev or the iconic GTO Phase 3 blazing away on the streets of Sydney, then you wont find much better than this film