DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies beings me another mechanical menace, as I am introduced to Gog, in this 1954 science fiction film, that despite it’s terrible pacing, story, and acting hints at tech that is currently in use today, like stealth planes, solar energy, and malware.
We are introduced to Dr. David Sheppard (Richard Egan) who has been assigned to investigate an underground base in the desert where a death has occurred amongst the top secret works that are going on there.
In the base we learn that there are projects investigating the use and application of solar energy and power, a big brain computer which oversees the entire facility, and a pair of bulky, and honestly, useless, robots who are capable of executing basic chores (and possibly murder).
Sheppard has a helping hand inside the base, Joanna Merritt (Constance Dowling) but they may have bitten off more than they can chew, when trouble stirs as an unidentified high altitude aircraft begins transmitting signals to the robots, and the big brain computer, unleashing all manner of trouble and destruction.
It’s simple, and silly, but I was delighted to see classic character actor William Schallert amongst the cast. The story is very simple, and is definitely aimed more at the matinee crowd than anything more highbrow. It is fascinating that it brushed up so close to tech we actually have, while making it look ridiculous.
The rocket plane is blatantly a model, and the robots are kind of pathetic, it takes more to program them to make them do a simple task than it would be to walk across the room and perform the task yourself. In fact they are neither aesthetically pleasing to look at or very smartly designed. It should come as no surprise that the robots end up attacking the heroes in the climax of the film, being controlled by the stealth rocket plane, but they seem less troublesome than a dalek!
For all of its camp corniness, and its glimpse at a different incarnation of present day tech, there isn’t much in this film to appeal to anyone other than the Saturday matinee crowd. It’s quickly over with, and I’m sure even some of the viewers were disappointed, even as they went home to imagine fighting robots and spies…
There’s more titles still to come in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies, and I can’t wait to see what is next. Pick up a copy for yourself, and find something monstrous to watch tonight!