'Vintage Sci-Fi Movies, 6 Film Set'
(Gene Barry, Kathryn Grant, Yumi Shirakawa, Ken Clark, Cesare Danova / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Vintage Sci-Fi Movies, 6 Film Set - The 27th Day, The H-Man, Valley of the Dragons, 12 to the Moon, Battle in Outer Space, Night the World Exploded.
DVD Verdict: In 'The 27th Day (1957) starring Gene Barry (War of the Worlds), Valerie French, George Vaokovec, Arnold Moss, and Stefan Schnabel, An alien give five ordinary people from various countries capsules capable of killing millions of people.Will they use the capsules or will they hold their ground even as they are being hunted down.
This movie is an underrated gem that has been overlooked by science fiction buffs. 'The 27th Day' rates with such films as 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' and 'The Thing From Another World'. This movie was too cerebral for its' time. It examines the possibility of a superior life form, from another galaxy, providing mankind the power to obliterate life or to salvage life from our planet. The handling of this subject is done with intelligence, a good cast and a decent script.
The movie portrays the constant struggle between good and evil. In this case, with the paranoia of the cold war, the Russians are the ones who seek world domination. All in all a good movie to watch and enjoy.
In 'The Night the World Exploded' (1957) starring Kathryn Grant, William Leslie, Tristram Coffin, Raymond Greenleaf, Charles Evans, and Frank J. Scannell, Dr. Conway has perfected a machine which he believes will predict earthquakes, and has determined that one will strike California within 24 hours. They discover there is only 4 weeks to Armageddon. It's a race to save the world.
This picture has a number of assets. There is excellent stock footage of disasters that are nicely integrated into the film. There is Kathyrn Grant, who plays a woman determined to be as active in risky endeavors as any male. Tris Coffin and Raymond Greenleaf provide competent b-movie support. The script comes up to sci-fi standards in attempting to make the events plausible. There are some good scenes of the cause of the disaster, which is a new element that combines with nitrogen when dry, creating an explosive material.
It's a reasonably entertaining show for us sci-fi fans, even if the script at times seems cobbled together or slows down too much, even if the lead actor (Leslie) seems too ill at ease, even if there seems to be very little chemistry between him and Grant, and even if the picture has to work at generating suspense.
In 'The H-Man' (1958) starring Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata, Eitar˘ Ozawa, Koreya Senda, and Makoto Sat˘, singer Chikako Arai's boyfriend has disappeared. The police begin to hunt for him and discover the radiation from an atomic bomb has turned people into creatures who can kill by touch. They must hurry and catch these creatures to stop the killings.
Like many other fans of these types of films, I saw this one as a young boy and it gave me nightmares for weeks (maybe even months)! Luckily, my older brother finally convinced me that the "liquid creature" would not survive a swim from Japan to the United States and I was able to sleep again.
I suspect that the modern age's Freddy's, Jason's and Leatherface's would not hold a candle to the effect that this film had on an impressionable youth back then. Perhaps the very fact that the monster had no tangible qualities and could theoretically be any puddle of water you came across was what gave it its fright value. It would certainly be interesting to see how a remake of this would play today.
In '12 to the Moon' (1960) starring Ken Clark, Michi Kobi, Tom Conway, Anthony Dexter, John Wengraf, and Robert Montgomery Jr., an international team embarks on an expedition to the moon in an uncommonly spacious rocket ship. There they encounter a faceless alien intelligence who conclude that the human race is too immature and dangerous and must be destroyed.
The plot has an international crew of ten men and two women rocketing to the moon and encountering the usual meteor showers along the way as they discuss how small and insignificant the Earth now looks. Upon reaching the moon, they discover gold, a glowing substance dubbed the "Medusa stone," traces of air, and evidence of a mysterious, never-seen civilization living below the surface in a "sealed city." This civilization wants them to leave before they inflict more damage.
Perhaps the movie's "high" point occurs when, mid-way to the moon, the rocket's American captain -- naked except for a small white towel modestly looped around his waist -- opens the shower-room door only to discover that it's currently occupied by the two female members of the crew. The human race has the expertise to build a rocket to the moon but they can't figure out how to put a lock on the shower-room door? Fun film, but nothing to take "seriously"!
In 'Battle in Outer Space' (1959) starring : Ry˘ Ikebe, Ky˘ko Anzai, Minoru Takada, Koreya Senda, Len Stanford, and Harold Conway. the nations of the Earth unite in a common cause to fight off an invader from outer space. I actually saw this when I was 11 years old. I recall the rocket fighters sent up by the Earth Forces are based on the X-15 rocket plane. One thing I vividly remember, as it moved me at the time, and is also one of the movie's strengths, is the scene where the earth space ships go past the area where the space station was destroyed and you see the bodies of the crew. The action moves at a brisk pace, no long winded speeches or philosophizing. The SFX are pretty good for the time.
In the final of the six (6) films, 'Valley of the Dragons (1961) starring Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, Joan Staley, Danielle De Metz, Gregg Martell, and Gil Peerkins, two men are having a duel with one another when a comet goes past the earth at low altitude and transports them to the moon which is inhabited by savage human beings. They must work together to survive. Okay, I admit it ... this little film holds a special place in my heart. It is the absolute first movie I can ever remember watching on television. I remember watching it on a Saturday morning after cartoons, and looking at the TV Guide to see that it was actually classified as a "melodrama". All I really remember from that initial viewing was the fight between the two lizards and the attack by the giant spider!
Cesare Danova is great as the French duelist who is picked up with an American who had affronted him in a disagreement over a woman. What follows turns into your standard caveman/regular-lizards-pretending-to- be-dinosaurs type film. The two end up becoming the leaders of opposing prehistoric tribes and things continue from there. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1:85.1 to 2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
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