Saturday, February 23, 2008

PD Project Part 6

Sci-Fi50

    Disc 6
  • The Lost Jungle (1934) runtime: 1:08:32

    An expedition to the fabled island of Kamor shipwrecks. Ruth, the true love of animal trainer extraordinaire Charles Beatty, is among those shipwrecked so Beatty sets out in a dirigible to save her.
    Another serial cut into a movie. Dirigibles! Wild animals! Bold expeditions! It has a tendency to be generic. Every trope that people think of when they think of 1930's pulp stories is here: the brash youth, the scheming assistant, even the tooth-sucking ad-man who knows all the angles. It's not without its charm though.
    The film is all about Beatty and his trained animals--and Beatty ain't the one carrying the show. It's a nice snapshot of the period, an example of how animals were treated back then. That's the odd thing about these films, the unintentional revelation about the world the films were made in, the assumptions operating in the films.
    I think this film is PD, but it's not yet on the Internet Archive. I'll update if I get more details.
    Wikipedia article

  • Mesa of Lost Women (1952) runtime: 1:08:53

    Two people are found wandering across the Muerto Desert telling a tale of a mad scientist conducting horrible experiments involving humans and spiders.
    The entire movie is done in flashback for no particular reason and there are long periods of voice over telling you what's happening and what the characters are thinking. That could have proven useful in some scenes since the producers apparently forgot to light portions of the movie. Anything could be out in the jungle--anything except a light bulb.
    The movie's surprisingly sedate for a horror/sci-fi pic. No one gets too excited about anything--a madman holding them at gunpoint, a plane crash, even the horrible death of their friend. Nothing elicits much of a reaction. It's not that nothing happens, it's that the characters act as though nothing happens.
    I should be fair, this is an awful print. There are a lot of bad cuts where something happens, but it's been edited out. I don't know if it's on purpose or just a coincidence, but the cuts add a touch of unintentional comedy. "Well, I don't know." CUT "What was that?" An edit. They're not supposed to be that noticeable.
    This movie is under copyright: V2369P077-84/1988-04-25
    Wikipedia article

  • Assignment: Outer Space (1960) 1:12:39

    Reporter Ray Peterson hitches a ride on a space mission to disable a rouge spaceship that's about to destroy the Earth.
    Another batch of awfulness. The movie takes thirty-forty minutes to arrive at the actual plot and until then it's mostly disconnected events and aimless moralizing. Top unintentionally funny moment: the report has disabled the death ship, but his oxygen system is out of control. He says, "What's the point of saving the Earth if I myself have to die?" Nice priorities.
    Archive.org page
    Wikipedia article

  • Laser Mission (1990) 1:24:16

    A terrorist with plans for world domination steals the world's largest diamond and kidnaps the world's foremost theoretical physicist to build a giant laser. Mercenary Michael Gold must team up with the physicist's daughter to save the physicist and thwart the terrorist's plan.
    The film is called Laser Mission and opens with a montage of a shotgun being loaded and fired repeatedly. This was a nice counterpoint to Assignment: Outer Space. Whereas nothing happened in that movie, this one is packed with the absurd. It's one of those odd flicks that, if you were to make a spoof of it, you'd make the exact same film. Fun little revelation: the producers only paid for one song so they just repeat it throughout the movie. The film is unrelentingly stupid, even through the end credits which have spelling errors. A masterpiece of badness.
    This movie is under copyright: V2636P080/1991-02-22
    Wikipedia article

I'll be back next time with Disc 7: four films, all public domain! Rock! Two are totally from space and two are the missing link. Brace yourself though, barely anything happens in any of them. Yay!

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