Robots, Science Fiction

Gog (1954)

0 Comments 02 February 2012

Studio: MGM
Theatrical Release: June, 1954
DVD-R Release: Nov. 22, 2011
Rating: Unrated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deep in an experimental underground research facility, a group of scientists working on unlocking the secrets of space travel and colonization are being bumped off one by one.  It’s up to special government investigator David Sheppard (Richard Egan of The House That Would Not Die) and his undercover girlfriend Joanna (Constance Dowling of Boston Blackie and the Law) to flush out the killer!  It couldn’t possibly be the robot Gog could it?

Gog is silly.  I mean, look, it’s enjoyable silliness, but still, it’s silly.  This is kiddie matinee stuff all the way.  The DVD cover tries to make this look like a serious sci-fi film along the lines of Colossus: The Forbin Project or maybe Demon Seed.  Don’t believe it.  This is all ‘electronic brains’ and fifties robots flailing their arms around wildly as they scoot across the floor.

So the film is structured like a murder mystery with various members of the scientific research teams being bumped off in various ways.  Of course, this being a mystery, the film is filled with red herrings.  Could the killer be the creepy Dr. Zeitman?  It couldn’t possibly the robots Gog and Magog, named after “the ultimate enemies of God’s people” (wikipedia) in the book of Revelations (really, who the fuck would name their robots like that?).  Or is it the ‘giant brain machine’ N.O.V.A.C.?  Things spelled out in acronyms are never menacing.  Actually (SPOILER ALERT!), it’s some guys flying around in a jet that you never get to see.  They are controlling the robots and the brain with some kind of sonic rays I guess.  It’s kind of like going through a Charlie Chan film where Chan collects all the suspects in the drawing room.  After going step by step through all the clues and you think that he’s about to point out the killer he just motions to the window and says ‘he did it’ and there’s some guy out there you haven’t seen before.  Then he runs away and you never find out what the hell just happened.  You never find out who the villains were or what they really wanted.  They’re just flying around fucking with the robots and then they’re shot down.  It’s very strange and anti-climactic.

Gog is still a fun movie, despite my problems with the end.  There’s plenty of science mumbo jumbo with solar lasers, astronaut training, space stations and rocket ships.  This is definitely a product of the 50’s.  It’s strongly implied that the villains are from some foreign country (I’m assuming that means Russia) trying to stop us from getting our space station with solar lasers up in orbit first.  And I love the robots Gog and Magog.  I have no idea why they need to wave their arms around when they move but I’m glad that they do.  The cast is pretty good all around.  Richard Egan is adequately stiff as our hero.  Constance Dowling doesn’t seem to have much to do but is good in the role.  You also get Herbert Marshall as the head of the institution, John Wengraf as the creepy German accented Dr. Zeitman and a baby faced William Schallert as his assistant Engle.

This is the first time that Gog has been available in any home video format and it looks great.  Colors really pop in this transfer and skin tones look very natural.  Everything is candy colored and pops off the screen, which is exactly how I would want something like Gog to look.  The film is presented in a 1:33.1 ratio and that looks appropriate to me.  Evidently there is some debate about whether or not the aspect ration should be 1:33.1 or 1:66.1.  There are some scenes that look like the could be zoomed in and others that look perfectly fine so I don’t know which is true.  Either way, I thought it looked fine.  One problem that I do have with this transfer is that it’s not in 3-D.  Gog was originally shot in 3-D and I really want those robot arms flying around my apartment.  There are no special features at all.  Not even a trailer.

- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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