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Star Trek: The Galileo Seven (1967)
Good episode which I found creepy when I was young,
I watched this episode for the first time when I was about 7 and I remember finding it creepy and spooky. The swirling mists and fogs shrouding menacing creatures who turned out to be huge Neanderthal like primates added to the eeriness. Gaetano's death I found scary with the giant Neanderthal trapping him against a cliff with a slow menacing approach before killing him.
I felt sorry for Spock in this episode, I thought Lt Boma was way out of line and was lucky not to have been disciplined. It would have been nice to have seen Don Marshall in further episodes. It is interesting that Don Marshall who played Boma, starred in this episode of being trapped on a planet of giants and he later starred in Land of the Giants!
There is a huge flaw with this episode in that there is just no way a tropical paradise could exist In Antarctica. Geothermals was used to try an explain it but even with this how do you how the tropical region could survive the Antarctic winter? Plants need light and sunlight is non existent during the polar winter, plants would die, the whole ecosystem would collapse. So when the doctor scoffed at Nelson's idea of a tropical zone in the Antarctic, he was right to! Nelson should have known better. Quite a bit of stock footage is used from Allen's Lost World. Irwin Allen did like to cut costs down! David Hedison said he did not enjoy working on the Lost World, so I wonder if he enjoyed acting out this episode?
This was the worst story in the entire series if not out of all Allen's shows. Leprechauns? Come on! I don't know what was going in the writer's head with this episode but how Basehart carried on acting for the rest of the series after this debacle is amazing. He remained the total professional throughout. Me, I would be wetting myself with laughter with this. Why Irwin Allen allowed this to be shot in the first place is beyond me, I assume he never looked at the script. It is either that or he encouraged it. Whatever it was, it was a great shame that it was allowed to degenerate to this level. It could have been such a memorable show but sadly it is largely forgotten these days.
A very cleverly made film
Hitchock was a magnificent film maker but also very clever and Psycho was a very cleverly made film even by Hitch's standards. It starts off as classic Hitchcock with Janet Leigh on the run, with the threat hanging over her: will she get caught? Her boss spots her, the looming policeman, the suspicious car salesman but all this just a sub-plot. The real plot starts when she arrives at the motel. For people who saw this film the first time must have got a real shock to see a star such as Janet Leigh killed off halfway into the film. No wonder Hitch when the film was released for the first time, told people at the end of the film not to reveal the plot. The classic film with twists.
When Time Ran Out... (1980)
Time should have ran out on the making of this movie as it is yet another waste of good talent by Irwin Allen. The plot is predictable and formulaic, it is basically the Poseidon Adventure on a volcanic island. You have the intrepid group fleeing from the volcano, warning the rest to come with them but scoffed at. Sound familiar? Well that is exactly what happened in the Poseidon Adventure. You have your token victims picked off one by one but unlike the Poseidon Adventure where the danger was every present and it was claustrophobic, fleeing from lava flows, the danger was just not there. A real Paul Newman turkey, this one, not sure why he did it because it certainly did not enhance his reputation.
The Time Tunnel (1966)
A great shame!
This show had great potential but its greatest weakness was that the show was written around what stock footage they had to make a story, which I think is a mistake. You could tell when the ideas were drying up is when they started introducing the tired old formula of aliens trying to take over with Doug and Tony trying to stop them. Also little character development which I think was a great shame.
Another problem was as soon as you started thinking deeply into the concept of the show, you find not a lot of thinking went behind it such as the size of the complex, the number of personnel etc. I mean when the alarm bells rang in the complex and you see everyone running around, where were they going? Also Doug and Tony never changed clothes, they wore the same get-up right throughout practically, which is ridiculous! A little more thinking and better writing could have produced an even better and longer lasting series.
Superman III (1983)
Well I'm going to rip this film to pieces. 1)The Vulcan satellite: A satellite does not create weather! Also the satellite is sent out to outer space to look for kryptonite. There's no way a satellite can leave orbit just on the order of a computer instruction. 2) The analysis of the kryptonite showed plutonium, a man-made element and xenon which is a gas. The other elements in that list don't exist. Besides plutonium is radioactive and I can't see how some chemists could produce that crystal! They would instantly say it was dangerous! 3) The rocket defence system for the master computer. How on earth did they install that without the knowledge of the authorities? It would have taken months do install! 4) When the master computer draws power you see an overhead shot of North America largely in darkness as the lights go out. Yet where the master computer is it is still daylight and when Superman goes to the chemical plant to get a container of the corrosive acid it is still daylight 5) How can you turn a tornado from under the cloud to be above the cloud? Thats just a few of the goofs. It really is a very poor film, a sequel too far!
The Towering Inferno (1974)
Not bad an effort
The Towering Inferno was the pinnacle of the disaster films. There seemed to be a lot of them around that time period with Earthquake and Airport 1975 but the Towering Inferno was the peak. There is a fantastic array of stars with Newman, McQueen, Holden, Dunnaway, Astaire, Jones, Chamberlain, Vaughn but sadly despite this, the script was not especially brilliant with some pretty poor lines. Despite the number of stars in the film, few of them escaped a grisly death. Probably the best death was Jennifer Jones as she fell out of the scenic elevator and hit the corner of the building. Ouch! Also Susan Flannery's death as an explosion forces her out of the window on fire from the 65th floor. It was great to see Chamberlain get his come uppance as he falls 135 floors to his death from the collapsed breecher's buoy. Steve McQueen made an effective hero and was well suited to the role. Great to see Fred Astaire in his role but sadly he never did win an Oscar despite being nominated
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
Shocking winner of the Best Picture Oscar
I think this was one of the greatest injustices in Academy Award history that this film won Best Picture Oscar ahead of Singin' in the Rain, which wasn't even nominated, until the Raging Bull/ Ordinary People debacle came along. James Stewart probably had the best part, a clown with a mysterious past but I thought some of the other actors were slightly wooden especially Hutton. Some of the Heston lines were especially corny, in particular the ones spoken to Hutton. Some great footage of actual circus performers and a spectacular train wreck at the end. This film was a typical DeMille cornball:- overblown, over the top, corny, "I wanna be a blockbuster" stereotype.
I don't know what to make of it
Its a really, really, really...well... to be honest I don't know what to make of it! I wouldn't say it was dire but equally I wouldn't call it brilliant. I saw it again the other day and I still can't make up my mind. Hiring some of the best known US comics of the time, Kramer tried to pull out a masterpiece but length doesn't equate to quality, it is far too long. I'm surprised Spencer Tracy bought this venture but he did seem to be satisfied with Kramer as Kramer did with him. Terry-Thomas appearing in the film was a surprise, I think if this was produced a couple of years later, Peter Sellers would have won the English role. The other odd cast member is Mickey Rooney. Rooney is not really a comedian or even a comic actor so I can't quite understand why he was in it. It would have been great to have seen Harold Lloyd in it.