Mysterious Island is another movie I watched for free at the Southeast Theater in Sugarhouse UT. The original story was written by Jules Verne in 1874. At some point I read the novel, but that was long after I had seen the movie. As with most movies taken from novels, the novel was a better story. In the novel my imagination and Verne’s descriptive writing created far more interesting creatures than was provided in the movie. None the less I loved the movie. Back when video tapes came onto the scene I remember renting the movie and watching it again. I think the movies that were taken from Jules Vern’s books are some of the most creative movies I’ve seen (for their time).
In 1865, during the siege of Richmond, Virginia, Union soldier POWs Captain Harding, Neb and Herbert escape in a balloon during a hurricane with two confederate prisoners, Sergeant Pencroft and journalist Spilett. The storm takes the balloon to a mysterious island near New Zealand in the South Pacific. Captain Harding proclaims himself leader of the group and they look for food. They discover that they are stranded on an island and soon are attacked by a giant crab that becomes their first meal. In the following days they build themselves shelter and find the island inhabited by other giant animals. One day they find two castaways on the beach: the aristocratic Lady Mary Fairchild and her sexy niece Elena. Later they find a trunk with weapons and a sextant and then they find the hut and journal of a man once marooned on the island by pirates. When pirates later return to the island, the castaways are surprised to be helped by Captain Nemo of the legendary submarine Nautilus. (Nemo — notorious for his war against slavery — was supposedly sunk and gone missing eight years earlier.) Finally, when a volcano threatens to obliterate their island, all must plan an escape.
Snowpiercer is another movie whose premise is based on “Global Warming”. Somehow all the world ends because global warming has caused a new ice age. The whole earth is covered in ice and snow. The only living beings ride around the globe on a super train that takes a complete year from start to finish.
I enjoyed the movie, global warming aside, because there is a power struggle between the have-nots and the haves. The poor exist to serve the rich and are considered subhuman.
Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.
Set in 2031, the entire world is frozen except for those aboard the Snowpiercer. For 17 years, the world’s survivors are on a train hurtling around the globe creating their own economy and class system. Led by Curtis, a group of lower-class citizens living in squalor at the back of the train are determined to get to the front of the train and spread the wealth around. Each section of the train holds new surprises for the group who have to battle their way through. A revolution is underway.
Before the world had the complex issue of “Global Warming” to worry about and frighten people there was the very real threat of nuclear destruction. Many of the old science fiction movies made during the 50’s and 60’s were made to propagate the threat of annihilation because of the use of nuclear energy. Unlike today’s threat of “Global Warming” which is just a scare tactic, created by the government, so that people have something to fear which allows the governments of the world to continue to control the population by limiting their choices and freedoms to use energy sources that are readily available and inexpensive.
I never saw the movie Them until it come to the television screen. I think I first saw it when it was presented by the TV channel “American Movie Classics”. According to today’s standards the movie might be considered very unrealistic and unbelievable. The special effects are poorly done, but considered good for the 1950’s. I find the movie entertaining like so many other movies created during the early 1950’s. I have an unusual fascination for movies produced in black and white, perhaps because during my childhood and teenage years my family didn’t have a color television. Black and white movies might be considered comfort food for my mind.
In the New Mexico desert, Police Sgt. Ben Peterson and his partner find a child wandering in the desert and sooner they discover that giant ants are attacking the locals. FBI agent Robert Graham teams up with Ben and with the support of Dr. Harold Medford and his daughter Dr. Patricia ‘Pat’ Medford, they destroy the colony of ants in the middle of the desert. Dr. Harold Medford explains that the atomic testing in 1945 developed the dangerous mutant ants. But they also discover that two queen ants have flown away to Los Angeles and they are starting a huge colony in the underground of the city. When a mother reports that her two children are missing, the team and the army have a lead to follow. Will they arrive in time to save the children and destroy the colony?
Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Police Sgt. Ben Peterson finds a little girl wandering aimlessly in the New Mexico desert and they trace her to the family’s camping trailer a few miles away. There is no sign of her parents and the trailer itself has been badly damaged. Soon after, Peterson’s partner and the owner of a general store are also killed. They’re not sure what they have on their hands but are soon joined by FBI Agent Robert Graham and two doctors from the Department of Agriculture, Harold Medford and his daughter Pat. They discover that there is a nest of giant mutated ants resulting from the atomic tests in the desert 10 years before. They don’t quite manage to kill all of them however and the ants migrate to Los Angeles and establish a nest in the vast subterranean sewer system.
Forbidden Planet was a sci-fi movie that actually frightened me. I’m not sure how old I was when I first saw it. It was a well done movie with well-known actors. I have watched the movie a few times since I was a kid and I still enjoy seeing it. I remember being fascinated with Robbie the robot.
A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet’s colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has.
When Adams and his crew are sent to investigate the silence from a planet inhabited by scientists, he finds all but two have died. Dr. Morbius and his daughter Altaira have somehow survived a hideous monster which roams the planet. Unknown to Adams, Morbius has made a discovery, and has no intention of sharing it (or his daughter!) with anyone. Written by Rob Hartill
The Day the Earth Stood Still is perhaps my all time favorite science fiction movie. I must have been 9 or 10 years old when I first watched the movie. I have watched it several times since then. I have a fondness for old black and white movies. I like to categorize black and white science fiction movies as Sci Fi Noir.
An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach. Written by Bruce Janson <email@example.com>
When a flying saucer lands in Washington, D.C., the U. S. Army quickly encircles the spaceship. A humanoid (Michael Rennie) emerges, announcing that he has come in peace. As he advances, he unexpectedly opens a small cylindrical device and is shot by a nervous soldier who thinks it’s a weapon. A tall robot emerges from the saucer and quickly disintegrates the army’s deployed weapons with an energy ray. The alien orders the robot, Gort, to stop. He explains that the broken device was a gift for the President, which would have enabled him “to study life on the other planets”.
Writing about my favorite TV show got me thinking that I should include the movies I remember and still watch from my teenage years. I will also include some movies that I became a fan of later in life. I may add additional movies as I remember them.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
I’ll Start with “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. I viewed this movie at the “Southeast Theater” in the Sugarhouse area of Salt Lake City, UT. In those days there were free movies on Saturdays.
In 1880, newly knighted Sir Oliver Lindenbrook, a renowned scientist teaching at the University of Edinburgh, inadvertently discovers evidence pointing to Arne Saknussemm, an Icelandic scientist from a few centuries earlier, who claimed to have found a pathway from the volcanoes in Iceland to the Earth’s center. Sir Oliver writes to Swedish Professor Peter Goetabaug, an expert in world volcanoes, with his findings before proceeding with an expedition to prove Saknussemm’s claim, but instead of hearing back from Goetabaug, Lindenbrook learns that Goetabaug has taken the information to glorify his own name via his own expedition. Student Alec McKuen (engaged to Lindenbrook’s niece) joins Sir Oliver, quickly embarking for Iceland to beat Goetabaug to the center of the Earth. They find skulduggery in Iceland, with themselves attacked and Goetabaug murdered. Apparently there’s a third party involved, whom they’ll later learn to be Count Saknussemm, a descendant of Arne and a scientist in his own right. By now, Sir Oliver has recruited Hans Belker, a brawny Icelandic farmer with a beloved pet duck named Gertrude, to join them, but he must also reluctantly include Carla, Professor Goetabaug’s widow, who will not provide them with her husband’s prized equipment otherwise. As the four with Gertrude proceed on their precarious journey – with Carla and Sir Oliver often at odds with each other – they are initially unaware of the dangerous Count Saknussemm behind them, a crafty, cold-hearted, imperious man who initially needs to rely on Lindenbrook’s expertise but who will stop at nothing to beat everyone to the Earth’s center, believing this project and all its associated glory rightfully belong to him as a Saknussemm. The question ultimately becomes what to do if they make it to the center.
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet.
With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.