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 The Future Unreels... 
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Lukas, have you ever seen the comic before? Or the 1951 film?

Has anyone else ever read the comic, the story, or seen the first movie?

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The Future Unreels


Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:32 am
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I have. :D

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:34 am
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Okay, I got a reprieve in scheduling that allowed me to complete the second post for "Farewell to the Master" today. Both entries are on page 1, so here are links:
"Farewell to the Master" story
The Day the Earth Stood Still film

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:33 am
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The next tale is based on
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This Island Earth by Raymond F. Jones (1952) pgs 180-299 if you're following in Reel Future.

That's 120 pages of scrumptious sci-fi reading, so if you plan to read that before I post the next entry, you might want to start.

You may be able to find a copy. There are certainly Kindle and nook versions for sale, if you want to go that route. They don't cost much.

See you in a week or so! 8-)

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:39 am
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I've finished reading my Kindle copy of the novel, and after it laid around for a week, I've finished watching and grabbing stills from the Flix DVD of the movie.

Is anybody reading along? I could perhaps wait until the 25th to post about This Island Earth if you want to keep up with me.

Any opinions?

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I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:32 am
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I don't think I'll be able to keep up, but I'm still reading the thread.

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:44 am
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Well, I got distracted by buying and installing a new home-theater rig this past week, so no posts until...later. Nothing to write about, but better than the RCA thingie that was all I could afford when I bought my flat-screen four years ago.

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:05 am
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This Island Earth by Raymond F. Jones (1952) pgs 180-299 – filmed as This Island Earth in 1955
PART ONE

The Original Story.
I really enjoy this novel. It never loses coherence. The film made from it - well you can't make that claim about the film. It is coherent for about half the run time and then it becomes too far-afield, compressed and telegraphic to make much sense at all. Both book and movie have less than satisfying endings, though.

I mention the film so early in the analysis because there are no illustrations, comics or otherwise on the internet for This Island Earth that do not reference the film. I have to illustrate the novel with images from the film.

If you read the book and see the film you'll understand why they left out the bulk of the print story in the movie. But you won't understand why they substituted what they did in the second half of the movie.

You will also understand why they changed the name of Mr. Jorgasnovara to Mr. Exeter. Or, perhaps, you just now found out.

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Wikipedia informs us that
Quote:
The story was originally published as three stories in Thrilling Wonder Stories (published by Standard Magazines, Inc.):
The Alien Machine (June 1949)
The Shroud of Secrecy (December 1949)
The Greater Conflict (February 1950)
This successful serialization probably triggered the "oh, wow" circuits in a lot of minds as the words filtered in and out of synapses. Cal Meacham gets what begin to appear to be errant shipments of some fascinating technology that simply cannot be originated with the mathematics of 1950 earth. The existing items can be reverse-engineered and mocked successfully by earth's technologists, but such components as Cal receives in a number of shipments cannot be conceived of in order to be originally manufactured by earth-dwellers.

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Furthermore, the simple fact that someone is intercepting orders Cal places through his employer and is substituting this enticing technology for the ordered devices is baffling. And has Cal hooked from the first "errant" shipment. Finally he receives 14 crates filled with thousands of mysterious parts. Cal works nights at the engineering lab in order to assemble something called an "interocitor" even though he doesn't fathom its purpose. The interocitor works, and through it comes a job offer that he cannot refuse.

The next day Cal Meacham is aboard a pilotless plane enroute to his future employer, the Peace Engineers. What he learns there from new colleague and psychiatrist Dr. Ruth Adams, and his old college roommate Ole Swenberg doesn't cool his enthusiasm for the work environment, or his thrilling new job as the interocitor assembly plant manager. But their suspicions that something isn't right spur him to try to find out what is truly going on.

It takes 120 pages in Reel Future to tell the story of Cal Meacham, the Peace Engineers and Ruth Adams. For that reason, I'll turn to Wikipedia and steal the synopsis from their article about the novel. It is recreated behind the spoiler tags, for your ultimate convenience.
Wikipedia wrote:
At Ryberg Instrument Corporation, engineer Cal Meacham has received a quartet of bead-like devices that are meant to replace the condensers that he ordered. Thinking it a joke, he tests them anyway and finds that they work just as well as what he had ordered. He orders more and with them gets a catalogue filled with electronic apparatus completely unfamiliar to him. His interest piqued, he orders the parts necessary to build what the catalog calls an interocitor.

When he turns the completed interocitor on he confronts a man who invites him to join a group called Peace Engineers. Knowing that he would not refuse, the group sends a pilotless airplane to pick him up and take him to a small village/factory complex in a valley north of Phoenix, Arizona. He is greeted by Dr. Ruth Adams, a psychologist who seems to be afraid of something. Dr. Warner, the man he spoke with over the interocitor, tells him that he will be in charge of the interocitor assembly plant. He also meets Ole Swenberg, who was his roommate in college.

Six months later he meets the Chief Engineer, Mr. Jorgasnovara, who describes the Peace Engineers in terms reminiscent of the Babbage Society in Michael F. Flynn’s novel, In the Country of the Blind. Later he overhears Jorgasnovara’s thoughts through the interocitor in his laboratory. One night he and Ruth discover that the interocitor are being shipped out, not by truck, but by spaceship. Again overhearing Jorgasnovara’s thoughts, Cal learns that the Peace Engineers are involved in an interstellar war.

Cal believes that all of Earth should be participating in the war that the Peace Engineers have somehow gotten us into, so he gathers documents and samples and takes a small airplane to fly to Washington. Halfway to his destination he and his plane are snatched out of the air by a spaceship and taken to the moon. There Jorgasnovara tells Cal, Ruth, and Ole that Peace Engineers is actually run by his people, aliens called Llanna, and that the Llanna are engaged in a millenia-long, intergalactic war with people called Guarra. Earth is now being used in that war as certain small Pacific islands were used in World War II.

Returning to Earth, Cal, Ruth, and Ole find the plant being sabotaged. The Llannans decide to abandon it, but before they leave, Cal and Ruth discover that Ole is a Guarra sleeper agent. As a consequence of the interocitor-mediated battle that destroys Ole and his non-human henchmen Jorgasnovara dies.

Cal and Ruth are taken to Jorgasnovara’s home world and are told that Earth is to be abandoned completely, that the Guarra will destroy it, as they have destroyed so many other worlds. Cal protests but the Llannan Council tells him that their war computers have predicted that they would not defend Earth. But the Guarran war computers would tell the Guarra the same thing, so, Cal tells the Council, the best tactic is to do what the Guarra do not expect. The Llannans then agree to defend Earth and Cal and Ruth look forward to returning home.

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In the beginning Cal is hooked by the interocitor. He orders it. It arrives in those 14 crates. Large crates. And he doesn't back off. He is too excited by the challenge to do anything other than to start right away.
Quote:
After three hours, the last of the crates had been unpacked and the rubbish carted away. Cal Meachan was left alone in the midst of four thousand, eight hundred and ninety-six -- he'd kept a tally of them -- unfamiliar gadgets of unknown purposes and characteristics. And he hoped to assemble them into a complete whole -- of equally unknown purposes.
Cal breaks one of the parts, but is able to get it duplicated locally. When the replacement arrives he puts the part into the nearly 15-foot long interocitor, and fires it up.

A few pages later, he is picked up by that pilotless plane I mentioned above, and taken on an overnight trip to a small town.
Quote:
In the valley were a cluster of buildings. Several hundred houses surrounded a plant composed of four long blank walled structures and a fifth, much larger, that was in the process of construction.
Then Cal, and we, meet the first prominent female character in the novel.
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Quote:
She held out a hand toward Cal as she came up. "I'm Dr. Adams -- Ruth Adams," she added as if to invite a more friendly level of acquaintance than the stiff "Dr." would imply.

"I'm Cal Meacham, " he said, "but I suppose you know that -- "

He stopped awkwardly. The girl's hand felt icy cold. It was firm and competent but -- almost imperceptibly it trembled.
That's the style. Even writing about a person with either a Ph.D. or an M.D. or both, Jones uses "the girl's hand trembled" instead of "the woman's hand." Ah, well, it was a different time.

The interocitor, although it is a lifeless machine, may as well be a character in this story, because it is there in name or spirit on every page. The story is about the interocitor in a way I won't give away.

There isn't room or energy for me to quote longer passages, or more of them in this post. It is a novel, and if you want to know the story it tells, you'll have to read either it or the Wikipedia plot synopsis hidden above. But you won't know what the novel is about if you only watch the film!

It is worth pointing out that the movie takes not only liberties, but different routes after a certain point in the plot. There is more in the novel than can be shoved into one 90-minute film, of course. But at the very beginning, it truly craves to be on the silver screen.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
An air of mystery and secrecy surrounds the Peace Engineers and their fantastic interocitor device. Cal Meacham cannot turn his back on a "too good to be true" opportunity. The presence of Ruth and Ole and their suspicions about the Peace Engineers leads Cal to learn more than his employers expected. This leads to an interstellar voyage, which reveals that earth is in danger unknown and unperceived by its denizens. The earth is not a completely isolated island (as the John Donne poem says "No man is an illand entire of itself....") in the universe. But earth is compared to the small islands in the Pacific Ocean that were used by the major powers during WWII without regard to the humans who already lived on these islands.

The way Raymond Jones spins his yarn is full of imagery and action (even in a mostly philosophical type of story). The book pulls you along. It is never difficult to read, and for the most part it is fast-paced enough to not get too boring. Fast-paced storytelling lends itself to the idea of converting print to celluloid.

The presence of Ruth and her sexiness in Cal's proximity is another reason why the story wants to be presented on the screen. They are star-crossed lovers as surely as Romeo and Juliet are in the classic tale. You can't help but wonder how they will turn out, and that's always good romantic grist for the movie mill.

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The conflict central to the story is shunted to the edge of the film, but it didn't have to be. When you read the book your imagination can easily grasp how the entire story could have been made into a film or two. It's no wonder that someone tried to tell the tale cinematically.

The sequel to this post will examine the film that resulted from this natural desire.

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Sorry, can't offer you a link to a free version of this book.
this island earth novel. Google search result.

This Island Earth (novel). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The story revolves around a race of aliens who, in recruiting humans for a group called "Peace Engineers", are actually using Earth as a pawn in an intergalactic war."

Raymond F. Jones. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Most of Jones' short fiction was published during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, in magazines such as Thrilling Wonder Stories, Astounding Stories, and Galaxy. His sixteen novels were published between 1951 and 1978."

Wonder Stories. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Both Lasser and Hornig published some well-received fiction, such as Stanley Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey", but Hornig's efforts in particular were overshadowed by the success of Astounding Stories, which had become the leading magazine in the new field of science fiction. Under its new title, Thrilling Wonder Stories was initially unable to improve its quality. For a period in the early 1940s it was aimed at younger readers, with a juvenile editorial tone and covers that depicted beautiful women in implausibly revealing spacesuits."

Interocitor. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Universal Studios purchased the screen rights to the novel in 1953, since the novel was a popular sci-fi best seller, and made it into a Technicolor film in 1954, which was then released on June 1, 1955. The film was a modest success and has somewhat impressive visual effects."

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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:44 am
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“This Island Earth” by Raymond F. Jones (1952) pgs 180-299 – filmed as This Island Earth in 1955
PART TWO

Who made it into a Film?
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The film was produced by William Alland who produced 30 films between 1951 and 1966. Many of the films are famous, but few of them are "good." It Came from Outer Space (1953) was his, and so were Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Tarantula (1955) The Mole People (1956), and The Colossus of New York (1958), all among his science fiction films. He also produced many low-budget Westerns during this time. But he started as one of Orson Welles' Mercury Theater group.

Joseph M. Newman is the credited director of This Island Earth. He directed 50 films and TV shows between 1938 and 1965, including 10 episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and 4 episodes of The Twilight Zone. Jungle movies, war films romances. The man directed many genres. But IMDb lists Jack Arnold as an uncredited director on This Island Earth. Arnold has 84 directorial credits starting in 1947 and stretching across the decades until 1984. These include 8 episodes of The Love Boat on TV. Oh, and 26 episodes of Gilligan's Island in '64-'66. That means that if Arnold was a director on this film, he directed Russell Johnson in at least two titles. In 1957 Arnold directed The Incredible Shrinking Man. In 1954 The Creature from the Black Lagoon. In 1953 It Came from Outer Space. He was often William Alland's choice for director.

How did it turn out?
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The first time I saw this film was in MST3K The Movie. I wanted to see what parts of the original film they had left out (it feels like a lot is missing), so I bought the DVD of the original film. I got to see what was missing: less than 10 minutes of the movie! The feeling of something being omitted is just as prominent if you watch the original intact. When I moved from Memphis in 2005 I sold 105 DVDs that I wouldn't have room for in the Hills of Arkansas. Most went for a few cents, one or two for over a dollar, and This Island Earth for $11.95!

The romance between Cal and Ruth is present in the film. But you only get a hint of the alien tech and the interstellar war that figures so prominently in the novel. There is nothing about the factory. Cal never has the enthusiasm for the work of Exeter that he has for that of the Peace Engineers in the novel. A lot of names are changed. Ole Swenberg is missing entirely.

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In an attempt to fit something into 86 minutes the producers of this 1955 release cut so many corners that the plot falls apart. It is an early attempt to make hay with only the shadow of a story, while keeping none of the substance. Everything rushes past, with nothing being developed. It's like that kind of placemat where they leave all the thread ends loose on purpose. The remotest romantic plot is suggested between Cal and Ruth. Even if you watch it two or three times you won't be able to figure out what's going on. There must have been some wholesale cutting at the last minute, although I can't find testimony to that effect.

The special effects are good, for the day. It was filmed in Technicolor, which automatically indicates a larger budget. But it was from American International which indicates a reduced budget. No stars in the cast.

Theft of the Wikipedia plot synopsis worked so well (for me) in the prior post about the story, that I fall to my new nefarious ways once again.
Wikipedia wrote:
Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason), a noted scientist, receives an unusual substitute for electronic condensers that he ordered. Instead, he receives instructions and parts to build a complex communication device called an interocitor. Although neither Meacham nor his assistant Joe Wilson (Robert Nichols) have heard of the device, they immediately begin construction. When they finish, a mysterious man named Exeter (Jeff Morrow) appears on the device's screen and tells Meacham he has passed the test. His ability to build the interocitor demonstrates that he is gifted enough to be part of Exeter's special research project.

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Intrigued, Meacham is picked up the next day at the airport by an unmanned, computer-controlled Douglas DC-3 aircraft with no windows. Landing in a remote area of Georgia, he finds an international group of top-flight scientists already present – including an old flame, Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue). Cal is almost immediately suspicious of the odd-looking group of men leading the project.

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Cal and Ruth flee with a third scientist, Steve Carlson (Russell Johnson), but their car is attacked and Carlson is killed. When they take off in a Stinson 108 light aircraft, Cal and Ruth watch as the facility and all its inhabitants are incinerated, and their aircraft is drawn up by a bright beam into a flying saucer. They learn that Exeter and his group are from the planet Metaluna, having come to Earth seeking uranium deposits as well as scientists to help defend their planet in a war against the Zagons. Exeter informs the Earthlings that he is taking them back to his world. Exeter and the Metalunans are attacked by Zagon starships guiding meteors as weapons against them and Metaluna. The Metalunan saucer easily avoids each attack, dodging oncoming meteors.

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They arrive to find the planet under bombardment and falling quickly to the enemy. Metalunan society is breaking down and there is little hope. Their leader, the Monitor (Douglas Spencer), reveals that the Metalunans intend to relocate to Earth and insists that Meacham and Adams be subjected to a Thought Transference Chamber in order to subjugate their free will so they cannot object. Exeter believes this is immoral and misguided, since it would impede their ability to help the Metalunans. Before the couple are sent into the brain-reprogramming device, Exeter decides to help them escape.

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Exeter is badly injured by a Mutant while the three flee from Metaluna in the saucer as the planet's protective "ionization layer" becomes totally ineffective. Under the Zagon bombardment, Metaluna heats up and turns into a lifeless "radioactive sun". The Mutant also boards the saucer and tries to attack, but dies as a result of pressure differences on the journey back to Earth.

As they enter Earth's atmosphere, Exeter sends Cal and Ruth on their way in their aircraft, but Exeter himself is dying and the ship's energy is nearly depleted. The ship flies out over the ocean and rapidly accelerates until it is enclosed in a fireball and finally crashes into the water and explodes.

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The cinematography and sets are by and large fine. The miniatures are mostly well-done. The sound editing is passable. Technically it isn't terrible. The acting and especially the writing are the short-falls.

I can't find solid figures, but I get the sense that the film became a phenomenon, either in its time or after it was a few years old. For modern viewers (including me) it became well-known because it was selected by some spoofsters to be used in a theatrical film of a television series.

Was there a remake?
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There has not been a remake of the 1955 movie, but Mystery Science Theater 3000 the Movie (1996) selected This Island Earth as the film to be riffed upon. At the time there was criticism in the form of a question: Why would MST3K use a good film for their joke fodder? I think those people might have been joking. This Island Earth is not all that good! Actually, no film is so well-made that it doesn't have some potentially corny moments. And This Island Earth is filled with corny moments. It's the corny stuff as well as production shortcuts that provide the ammunition for the MST3K type of riffing. Only if you get as serious as Grave of the Fireflies do you produce a riff-proof movie.

If you don't have time to watch both the original 1955 film and the 1996 riff-spoof, then just get a copy of MST3K the Movie which will let you experience both at once (less 10 minutes of the original film which you will never miss). This Island Earth makes a wonderful target for the MST3K gang!

You Can Watch It.
There is a Google search below in the links, to get you started. Some of them promise free viewing on the 'net, but I didn't try out those links.

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this island earth movie. Google search result.

This Island Earth. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "In a magazine article the special effects department admitted that the "mutant" costume originally had legs that matched the upper body but they had so much trouble making the legs look and work properly they were forced by studio deadline to simply have the mutant wear a pair of trousers. Posters of the movie show the mutant as it was supposed to appear."

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Reviews were mostly positive, currently holding an 80% rating on the film-critics aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes based on 54 reviews; the consensus states: 'Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie may be thin and uneven, but it's hilarious in enough of the right spots to do the show's big-screen transition justice.'"

Joseph M. Newman. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "711 Ocean Drive (1950)"

Bud Westmore and the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth.. Toby Tea on pinterest.com.

Faith Domergue in "This Island Earth" (Universal International, 1955). Still (8" X 10").. flickr.com. Quote

MONSTER MEDLEY. sammaroniesentertainmentfunhouse.com. "Think you’ve seen every last picture available of the Metaluna Mutant from This Island, Earth? Here’s an ultra-rare still of the iconic monster, taking a rest between scenes of the Universal production. More than likely it’s stuntman Eddie Parker. (c) Universal Studios"

Jack Arnold (director). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Arnold directed a number of 1950's science fiction films. The best known of these, It Came from Outer Space (1953), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Tarantula (1955), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) are noted for their atmospheric black-and-white cinematography and sophisticated scripts."

Joseph M. Newman. They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?.com

William Alland. rateyourmusic.com.

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:44 am
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Only a week behind my unpublished schedule, here's the completed This Island Earth analysis.

Next will be a film ostensibly made from a Ray Bradbury short story: The Illustrated Man. When I watched it before I didn't care for it much, but that was several years ago when I was aging, unemployed and depressed. Maybe watching the film again will have the same tonic effect that finally working through Batman Begins a second time, did for me.

We'll see.

I feel like I've gotten kind of lazy with my graphics in this thread. I hope it's only me thinking that. :shifty:

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:32 am
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Well, while I was building the second graphic for the next post, my graphics card smoked itself. I went and got another and installed it, and finished the post.

Soldier on! That's what I always say (right now). ;)

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun May 03, 2015 7:11 am
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“The Illustrated Man” by Ray Bradbury (1950) pgs 300-310 – filmed as The Illustrated Man in 1969
PART ONE

This analysis is muddied by a simple, perplexing fact: in 1950 Ray Bradbury published a short story entitled “The Illustrated Man”, which is reprinted in Reel Future. In 1951 an anthology was published under the title The Illustrated Man, and it has a framing device that links together 18 otherwise unrelated stories; a device that is based on the Illustrated Man, but not on the short story. Merely on the main character of the short story.

Thus, the 1969 motion picture doesn't feature the short story that is included in Reel Future! Instead, it features the framing device, and three of the short stories in the anthology. Confused? Me, too.

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Ray Bradbury was my writer-hero when I was in Junior High school. I had read everything he had written that I could get my hands on by the time I finished 9th grade. But I hadn't read the story or collection called The Illustrated Man. Oddly enough, I had read some of the stories in the collection entitled The Illustrated Man in other places. Also The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, and as many other Bradbury tales as I could find.

I bought a mass market paperback of The Illustrated Man in the late 1960s, but that was a long time ago. I remember the cover, it's the one on the right in the top graphic. My memory of what it contains was not clear. So you might say that I only recently learned that there were 18 short stories in the original 1951 edition of The Illustrated Man, but the short story "The Illustrated Man" was not one of them!

That's right; the title story was not included in the first edition of the collection. The story is not related to any of the stories in that volume, either. The character of the Illustrated Man is used to bridge the stories.
Wikipedia wrote:
The unrelated stories are tied together by the frame device of "the Illustrated Man", a vagrant former member of a carnival freak show with an extensively tattooed body whom the unnamed narrator meets. The man's tattoos, allegedly created by a time-traveling woman, are animated and each tell a different tale. All but one of the stories had been published previously elsewhere, although Bradbury revised some of the texts for the book's publication.


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The Original Stories.
Reel Future includes a short story that was added to the collection on re-publication at some time. It is in the Kindle edition I recently purchased (so that I could read all the short stories). The title tale is the 18th story in this Kindle collection. The story "The First Balloons" from the 1951 edition is omitted. The framing story with the narrator is included (copyright 1951 by Ray Bradbury). "The Illustrated Man" is not in the paperback edition I bought in 1968 (says my GoodReads.com online source). For comparison to the film we have to look at the three short stories from the collection that are adapted for the screen. These are "The Veldt" (copyright 1950 by the Curtis Pub. Co.), "The Long Rain" (copyright 1950 by Fiction House, Inc.), and "The Last Night of the World" (copyright 1951 by Esquire, Inc.). These stories are not reprinted in Reel Future.

It's not as easy for you to read these stories that are still under copyright. I bought the costly Kindle edition of the anthology for $9.09 US. But I found places online where you can read the stories, if you wish. These are from .edu websites, and one from the original publisher. The Veldt. "The Veldt" is a very early virtual reality story. A family lives in a house that does everything for them. Even bathes them, makes food for them. They install a playroom that must have stimulated the idea of the holodecks in Star Trek: the Next Generation. It is for the children, Peter, and Wendy, and it responds to thoughts. Well, something goes wrong...
The Long Rain. "The Long Rain" is a tale set on Venus, following a spaceship crash landing. A handful of survivors walk across a landscape constantly pelted by falling rain. There is nowhere to shelter, the men have no caps to even keep the rain from their heads. The constant falling water drives some mad, while the Lieutenant tries to lead them to a Sun Dome, where they can go inside and find shelter, food, warmth... The Last Night of the World. "The Last Night of the World" is a strange tale. A man discovers through a dream that the world will end that night. He tells his wife, of course. She has had the same dream. People everywhere have. The husband and wife put their two daughters to bed. They disaffectedly discuss the end of the world, understanding it in a matter-of-fact and emotionless way...

Synopses of these stories appear behind the spoiler tags. Of course, you can read the entire stories in only a few minutes each at the links above.
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"The Veldt" synopsis from Wikipedia:
Wikipedia wrote:
The Hadley family lives in an automated house called "The Happylife Home," filled with machines that do everything for them from cooking meals, to clothing them, to rocking them to sleep. The two children, Peter and Wendy (their names a homage to Peter Pan and Wendy Darling), become fascinated with the "nursery," a virtual reality room that is able to connect with the children telepathically to reproduce any place they imagine.

The parents, George and Lydia, soon realize that there is something wrong with their way of life. Lydia tells George, "That's just it. I feel like I don’t belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. Can I compete with an African veldt? Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can? I cannot."[1] They are also perplexed and confused that the nursery is stuck on an African setting, with lions in the distance, eating the dead carcass of some sort of animal. There they also find recreations of their personal belongings and hear strangely familiar screams. Wondering why their children are so concerned with this scene of death, they decide to call a psychologist.

The psychologist, David McClean, suggests they turn off the house, move to the country, and learn to be more self-sufficient. The children, completely reliant on the nursery, beg their parents to let them have one last visit. The nursery has replaced their real parents. They live for the nursery. The parents relent, and agree to let them spend one more minute there. When they come to the nursery to fetch the children, the children lock them in from the outside. George and Lydia look on as the lions begin to advance towards them. They scream. At that point, they realize that what the lions were eating in the distance was not an animal, but their own simulated remains. When David comes by to look for George and Lydia, he finds the children instead enjoying lunch on the veldt and sees the lions eating something in the distance. The reader realizes that George and Lydia died at the hands of their own offspring, who had so often envisioned the lions eating them that it came true.


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"The Long Rain" synopsis from Wikipedia:
Wikipedia wrote:
The story is set on Venus in a jungle, where a group of four men whose rocket has crashed are attempting to reach the safety of a Sun Dome. Bradbury portrays Venus as having nearly eternal rains. The men are led by a character who is only identified as "the Lieutenant". One of the men is killed by a lightning strike when he tries to run when "he shouldn't have jumped up". The three remaining men make their way to a Sun Dome, but find that it has been destroyed and offers no shelter from the rain. One of the men becomes despondent and stops responding, instead staring up into the rain. He is shot by Simmons who defends his actions as a mercy killing, preventing the man from slowly drowning as his lungs fill up with rain. As Simmons and the Lieutenant continue on to where they think the next Sun Dome should be, Simmons believes that he is also going to go insane before they reach safety, and so commits suicide. The Lieutenant continues on, and finally reaches the Sun Dome where he is warm and safe, with dry clothing and hot chocolate; although Bradbury hints that the refuge may just be a hallucination.[1]


Of course Venus isn't at all like Bradbury portrays it. Yet, in the 1950s this was a very popular idea of what the planet might be like. The notion persisted until the Venera and other satellite expeditions to Venus in the 1970s and 1980s discovered that it is swathed in a greenhouse effect gone beyond mad.

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"The Last Night of the World" synopsis from a review of the story by Emily Babb:
Emily Babb at dystopic.co.uk wrote:
The Last Night of the World is about…the last night of the world. A couple are sitting together drinking coffee one evening when the husband asks the question: “What would you do if you knew this was the last night of the world?”

It’s a question that has no doubt crossed all of our minds at one point or another. What would you do? Rush to say goodbye to everyone you love, destroy something, make something, have sex, eat a lot of food?

In the story the wife initially seems perplexed but unfazed by the question, until we discover that she, her husband, and seemingly everyone on earth has experienced a collective vision in which the world ends. Everyone intuitively knows that their lives will be over by the end of that evening, yet the couple remain placid at the table drinking their coffee.

The husband and wife are relaxed as they speak about life and death in a matter-of-fact manner. They acknowledge that they weren’t bad people but weren’t particularly good either, just average citizens doing the best that they could.

The couple continue with their usual nighttime routine, putting the children to bed and finishing up chores. Their relationship is incredibly sweet but not particularly special, and it’s this realism of the characters juxtaposed with the inconceivable situation they’re in that skews the peacefulness of the story into a sense of heavy foreboding. The lightness of their demeanor is thickly laden with a hidden grief that is almost unbearable to acknowledge.

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Why it wants to be in Cinema.
Anything written by Ray Bradbury evokes such rich, dream-like mental imagery that it is impossible not to want to see it on the screen. Trouble is, no two people imagine the same thing when reading the story, so in most cases (Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 being an exception) the screen realization of the story will heavily conflict with something about your dream of the tale.

Bradbury's stories are often ironic, either in plot or in the telling, so that they can provide stimulating "surprise" endings or plot twists. And his skill at drawing word images is quite unusual. Sometimes he does this by very pedestrian language, describing only what is happening or what is said. Then he might toss in a very cleverly selected adjective or adverb, a repetition, or an inverted phrase, that causes fireworks in the reader's brain.

This leads to a craving for materialization of his ideas, for concreteness, for the sublime to become visible. For his vision of the future, whether dark or sunshine bright, to become visible. And people try. They certainly try. But Bradbury is his words, not the images they evoke. To make the images is often to remove the "Bradbury" from the story. And this is sad.

His stories adapt well to radio. The images remain in your mind, there. But people want stones, things that they can see if not touch.

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And people are spurred by his near-perfect language to turn his often-foamy stories into stones. By "foamy" I mean that he doesn't tell you everything. A screenwriter has to fill in gaps, and by doing so robs the story of its poetry, and dance-ability. But they keep trying. And the stories in The Illustrated Man certainly fit into this category: if you have any production skills at all, they fool you into thinking that you could make them into good films.

Francoise Truffaut did it. Jack Smight did not.

Learn why I think that when the next post goes up for this story-film combination.


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The Illustrated Man. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The Illustrated Man is a 1951 book of eighteen science fiction short stories by Ray Bradbury that explores the nature of mankind. A recurring theme throughout the eighteen stories is the conflict of the cold mechanics of technology and the psychology of people."

The Illustrated Man. amazon.com. "That The Illustrated Man has remained in print since being published in 1951 is fair testimony to the universal appeal of Ray Bradbury's work."

Ray Bradbury. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th-century American genre writers."

the illustrated man. markwelker.com. "To call Bradbury’s work escapism would downplay the maturity found in these excellent science fiction tales. But I have to admit there is a certain nostalgic charm in reading stories about space rockets, astronauts and intergalactic jaunts to strange new worlds."

Hear "The Veldt" for free on Youtube as Bradbury 13, a radio drama "The Veldt". This is a radio adaptation of the story, not exactly what Bradbury wrote. In some ways, much darker.

Want to hear more?: bradbury 13 youtube. Google search result. 9 of 13 episodes.

Bradbury 13. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Air dates 1983 to 1984, National Public Radio.

Comic of TIM. library.osu.edu.

Ray in Art. forbiddenplanet.co.uk. "Al Parker’s illustration for the delightfully creepy short Bradbury tale The Veldt"

the illustrated man tattoo. Google image search result. "Whoa! Some of me is still not covered!"

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. Goodreads: Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion. "That The Illustrated Man has remained in print since being published in '51 is fair testimony to the universal appeal of Bradbury's work. Only his 2nd collection (the 1st was Dark Carnival, later reworked into The October Country), it's a marvelous, if mostly dark, quilt of science fiction, fantasy & horror."

The Illustrated Man > Editions. Goodreads.

A Smorgasbord Of Bradbury. algonquinsidetable.com. "(P.S. I had a hell of a time finding a photo credit for this image– if anyone has any idea, please let me know!)" It's the image of Bradbury holding, and looking through his glasses. (Other Bradbury images from Goodreads and Wikipedia.)

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I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun May 03, 2015 7:11 am
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“The Illustrated Man” by Ray Bradbury (1950) pgs 300-310 – filmed as The Illustrated Man in 1969
PART TWO

As I confessed in the post above, when the movie came out I hadn't read "The Illustrated Man." I guess it didn't matter. I wasn't allowed to go see the movie in 1969 when it came out, because the Memphis Board of Censors made it an adults-only exhibition (the original rating was "M" for mature audiences, so I should have been able to see it). But I was 17, which was four years too young to get into a theater in that town in those days for that movie.

When I watched the film from an Arkansas Library DVD in 2009 I was underwhelmed. Even Roger Ebert awarded it only 2.5 stars in his 1969 review.

Who made it into a Film?
Warner Brothers-Seven Arts released the film in 1969 in the US. It is a Jack Smight film, and a Howard B. Kreitsek production. Kreitsek also wrote the script.

In the script, Carl (the illustrated man) and Willie (the analogue for the narrator in the print edition) take roles in three of the short stories from the collection: "The Veldt", "The Long Rain" and "The Last Night of the World." In addition, a young woman named Felicia is added to two of the stories and the framing story. This turns the movie into an ensemble play, a popular device on television in the 1950s and 1960s.

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According to the IMDb trivia page for the movie Bradbury sold the screen rights to Smight on the condition that one of three actors, including Rod Steiger, would have the lead role in the film. (We might alternatively have had Burt Lancaster or Paul Newman as the Illustrated Man.)

Smight won an Emmy in 1959. The Illustrated Man was nominated for a Hugo award, but only nominated. Smight directed 61 titles according to IMDb. He worked from 1949 to 1989 in the role of director. Among these are two that I have seen: Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) a TV mini-series, and Damnation Alley (1977), which is another of the Reel Future films.

How did it turn out?
Let's just say that watching it a second time didn't improve it a bit. The script by Howard B. Kreitsek uses the framing story and three of the short stories in the collection. It does not use the short story “The Illustrated Man,” which is more or less background for the framing story. That original 1950 story is reproduced in Reel Future.

The Reel Future anthology is a collection of stories that are supposed to have inspired science-fiction films. That description holds for Bradbury's first short story, because it inspired the framing device for the collection of 18 short stories, three of which were included in the movie. If you have read the short story from Reel Future you understand why the story as originally conceived could not have been used without changes for Bradbury's framing device. The end of the story guarantees that. So, writer Howard B. Kreitsek goes with the collection of stories, rather than the titular story (which doesn't even appear in the published collection until several editions past 1969). Yeah, I'm confused, too.

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The cinematic result is less than satisfactory. Bradbury uses language in a swirling, atmospheric way that is always slightly eerie. This production doesn't even attempt to recreate Bradbury's linguistic style in cinematography and settings. Instead, the director opts for "ponderousness" and slow pacing; the style of production that was frequently used for science fiction on TV in the 1960s; the style I call This. Is. Important.

Bradbury's short stories flow and expand beyond their words. This film drags, and is belittling to the work of the writer. It might be due to the replacement of the unrelated characters in the stories contained in the anthology with characters who have the same names as the narrator (William, played by Robert Drivas) the Illustrated man (Carl, Rod Steiger), and the tattooist from the future (Felicia, Claire Bloom). That budgetary device lets the same cast play all the major parts. This drives the stories toward a fusion that isn't suggested, and doesn't happen when you read the anthology. Its primary (and obvious) motivation is to keep the cast of the film smaller by nine actors, each of whom would expect payment. There is nothing certainly debilitating to a production that comes from cost-cutting measures, until that cost-cutting becomes obvious to the viewer. This money-saving dodge is pointed, and undercuts the effectiveness of the stories.

How to put this?: the acting is not terrible. Instead, it is the mis-casting of some of the parts in the stories that results from the ensemble gimmick that makes the production flounder. For one thing, if you read all of Bradbury's tales from the collection, you find several others that would have yielded much more exciting visualizations -- at a considerable cost. These three stories were selected, not because they translate to the motion aspect of motion pictures, but because they have a smaller cast of characters! For another, these three stories are perhaps not the best of the tales in The Illustrated Man, but the least expensive to produce. The talkiest. The most theater-stage-like. But Kreitsek was not writing a stage play.

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The 18 short stories in the anthology are of varying quality and depending on your mood, may or may not grab you, even if you are a science-fiction or Bradbury fan. Every film production has so many serendipitous and volitional choices that can make it shine or leave it a tarnished attempt long before the cameras roll. In this case the creators of the movie seem to have made mostly wrong choices. The result is flat, dull, and the sort of film that makes you keep checking your watch to see how much more there is to endure.

In the short story anthology, the narrator becomes enthralled by the various illustrations on the carnival worker's back, as they flicker and come to life in the firelight during the dark hours of the night. This draws him from story to story as the living tattoos play out each tale. The stories in the book are not interrelated, nor are they related to the narrator, the Illustrated Man, or the witch from the future who tattooed them onto his body. The differences between the print and film versions of the three stories and the framing device are detailed behind the spoiler tags.
The woman who applies the illustrations to the Illustrated Man has no name in the book. But in the film she is called Felicia. In the book she is an old crone, but the film casts Claire Bloom as the woman from the future, who illustrates Carl's body.

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In the book, the Illustrated man appears only in the bridging story, never in any of the collected stories (except in "The Illustrated Man" in the later editions that include it). In the film, Carl, the Illustrated Man, appears in the prologue, and all three embedded tales, while Felicia is also shoehorned into all of those, and Willie into two.
- - - - - - - - - -
"The Veldt" features a family called the Hansons. They have a house that features many automated functions so that the family members have very little to do for themselves. The parents have installed a playroom that we would call virtual reality at the behest of their children's psychologist. But the parents are not Felicia and Carl in the short story. The children are Peter and Wendy.

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In the film Claire Bloom and Rod Steiger play the parents. The short story house is closely enough reconstructed in the movie set. Tim Weldon plays the son, John, and Christine Matchett plays the daughter, Anna. Robert Drivas, still playing a character named Willie, shows up as the psychologist who recommends that the playroom be gutted and discarded. The plot is generally like that in the story with some additional family events. The ending is the same.
- - - - - - - - - -
"The Long Rain" features a lieutenant whose name is not known in the short story, who leads the few survivors of his crew away from their crashed space ship on Venus. They are trying to head toward a Sun Dome where they can find respite and shelter from the constant rain that falls on the planet. They find one wrecked Sun Dome. They march on. Only the lieutenant and one other survivor arrive at a functional Sun Dome. They are the only people there.

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In the film the leader is called Carl, and he is played by Rod Steiger. William (Drivas) is one of the survivors being led through constant rain on a nameless planet. But only Carl arrives at the second Sun Dome, alive, where he finds Felicia (Bloom) waiting for him.
- - - - - - - - - -
"The Last Night of the World" features an unnamed mother and father, who have two young daughters. Both the mother and father have had dreams, shared by all in their village, that the world will end on that very night. They don't tell the children about the end of the world. The couple go to bed and talk until they fall asleep. The story ends. The big deal is that they are not panicked, but simply accept that everything is over with, forever.

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In the film the parents are Felicia and Carl, and the children are John and Anna, played by the same four who appeared as the family in "The Veldt." Carl learns of the end of the world from a meeting of citizens. It has been decided at the meeting to poison all the children so they won't be aware of burning to death in the end. Felicia talks Carl out of poisoning John and Anna, and they fall asleep. But then we cut to the outside of the home (a large tent) in the morning. Felicia awakens alone in the bed, and runs to find Carl, who is distraught because he has poisoned the children against the fiery end, and the end did not happen.
The roles are nearly all played with inappropriate pomposity, usually signaled by long long pauses between lines. This bloats the pacing, and makes it seem as if hours drag by while you wait for the next actor to speak. Especially true in "The Veldt," where the parents are supposed to live in a condition of pampered ennui. This is best played by having a few lines spaced apart, so the audience gets the idea, and then having the rest delivered with a normal to very slightly longer wait time, but not by pausing and pausing between every line, and speaking as if you are bored. Ugh.

Still, the acting is not horrible, merely very inept. The three leads could have done much better. I blame Smight for asking the roles to be played this way. No, wait, the actors are complicit because they didn't slap him back to his senses.

Ray Bradbury had nothing to do with this film other than to sell the rights to Jack Smight. It probably would have been different if the short story maestro had been a consultant to the production.

If you select three or four of these 16 films to never ever see, be sure The Illustrated Man is on that list.

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Was there a remake?
Wikipedia wrote:
In August 2007, Warner Bros. hired director Zack Snyder to remake The Illustrated Man, and screenwriter Alex Tse was hired to write the screenplay. The remake has yet to be produced.
It's been 8 years. Reckon we'll ever see it? The first movie was a financial flop for whatever reason (probably that it sucks as a movie). Perhaps the ostensible producers figured that into their reckoning.

You Can Watch It.
But why would you want to? I had to for this thread. You don't have to. Put it in the box with the John McTiernan Rollerball, and stay farrrrrr away from the box.


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The Illustrated Man (film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Set in the backroads of America, the film enacts three of Bradbury's short stories set in the future, with Steiger as a man named Carl telling tales behind some of his tattoos."

Jack Smight. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Smight was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and went to school with future actor Peter Graves."

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun May 03, 2015 7:12 am
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The Illustrated Man analysis is now complete.

The next one, up in about 3 weeks, will feature 2001: a Space Odyssey.

One of my all-time favorites.

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sat May 09, 2015 12:15 pm
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Apologies to anyone who is waiting for the next entry.

The posts are written, but making graphics takes 3 times as long, and I have currently fallen into the black hole of novel-writing. The project is flowing, which means the characters wake me up in the middle of the night with things they want to do.

The same black hole has swallowed the Batman Multimatch. Once again, it is all written, except the bloody boring Tech posts, and awaiting graphics.

But these ideas for the novel keep bumping aside the time to whip open Photoshop and squeeze out a few dozen graphics to post with the words.

_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:13 am
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“The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke (1951) pgs 311-319 – filmed as 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968
PART ONE

This pair of essays deals with what was my favorite movie for a long, long time. Until I saw Ivan's Childhood. That demoted 2001: ASO to position #2. I read the short story in The Making of Kubrick's 2001 edited by Jerome Agel (1970) when the paperback book came out. I still love the film. I've bought it in every medium but laserdisc.

No spoiler tags here. You can read the entire very short story in pdf form using a weblink below. And there is no plot twist in the story, so nothing to give away. The plot itself is quite pedestrian.

The Original Story.
I have read the short story only twice, although I've honestly lost count of how many times I've watched the film. Certainly not 20 times yet.

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The story is fairly straightforward, with only a whisper of poetry. The usual style of Arthur Clarke.
Arthur C. Clarke wrote:
Until we destroyed it, that machine was still fulfilling the purpose of its builders; and as to that purpose, here is my guess.
The story is philosophical, so it is simply the tale of a man seeing a glittering mystery on a pinnacle of the moon while out on an expedition, and deciding to go take a look.
Arthur C. Clarke wrote:
You must understand that until this very moment I had been almost completely convinced that there could be nothing strange or unusual for me to find here. Almost, but not quite; it was that haunting doubt that had driven me forwards. Well, it was a doubt no longer, but the haunting had scarcely begun.


The short story is fairly bland (it was entered in a competition where it didn't even place), but Wikipedia writers point out that it changed Arthur C. Clarke's life.
Arthur C. Clarke wrote:
I could see just enough to tantalize me. Clear and sharp in the field of vision, the mountain peaks seemed only half a mile away, but whatever was catching the sunlight was still too small to be resolved. Yet it seemed to have an elusive symmetry, and the summit upon which it rested was curiously flat. I stared for a long time at that glittering enigma, straining my eyes into space, until presently a smell of burning from the galley told me that our breakfast sausages had made their quarter-million mile journey in vain.


Why it wants to be in Cinema.
Well, for the time it was written the idea embraced an up-and-coming idea: that we might find a link to other inhabited worlds. In 1950 there were vague dreams of traveling to the moon, of colonizing it, and of finding that it had once harbored life when it was a world with oceans. All speculation.

It would be another 19 years before anyone actually set foot on the moon. And starting only five years after that, no one would tread the dust of the moon for...well, we don't yet know how long.

But the short story deals matter-of-factly with living and working on the moon. What it speculates most heavily upon is the idea that an advanced civilization might have placed a beacon on the moon in a doubly-inaccessible location. First, you'd have to go from the earth to the moon as a species, and then an individual would have to notice the pyramid that houses the beacon. If it was a race that was not curious they would be held back by the internal shield that the beacon machine contains. But if the race were curious and persistent, they would find a way to open the machine...at which time they would find nothing useful, but by doing so they would silence the beacon.

Those who planted the beacon (if they still existed by that time) would then know that a beacon had been discovered by a species of some interest. The machine itself had been placed on the moon before there was intelligent life on earth, by the way. It was a crapshoot by those who built the beacon. An educated guess, but a guess nonetheless.

That would at least make a wonderful episode of The Twilight Zone, wouldn't it?

But to actually become a film -- ah! that took a lot of jiggering and enhancement. A film made solely from "The Sentinel" would run the risk of being 80% vapid. The result of Clarke and Stanley Kubrick putting their skills and imagination to work on the story yielded a cinematic masterpiece.

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The Sentinel. econtent.typepad.com. "I was turning away when my eye caught a metallic glitter high on the ridge of a great promontory thrusting out into the sea thirty miles to the west. It was a dimensionless point of light, as if a star had been clawed from the sky by one of those cruel peaks, and I imagined that some smooth rock surface was catching the sunlight and heliographing it straight into my eyes."

The Sentinel (short story). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Clarke expressed impatience with its common description as the story the novel and movie is based on. He explained: "I am continually annoyed by careless references to 'The Sentinel' as 'the story on which 2001 is based'; it bears about as much relation to the movie as an acorn to the resultant full-grown oak."

Arthur C. Clarke. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956, largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving. That year he discovered the underwater ruins of the ancient Koneswaram temple in Trincomalee."

There's no link for this, only a note. My Sri-Lankan Aunt's sister was Mr. Clark's housekeeper for years. To be so obscure I certainly have a lot of second and third-hand links to the notable. *sigh*


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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Jun 07, 2015 2:14 am
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“The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke (1951) pgs 311-319 – filmed as 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968
PART TWO

For many people watching the film 2001: a Space Odyssey in 1968, with its wide screen presentation and surrounding stereo mix lent the distinct feeling of being in the presence of greatness. But not all people felt that way. There seemed to be a generational divide (as there were for many ideas and phenomena around that time, actually). It was the second major, supposedly serious science-fiction film released in 1968 that featured avant garde music, and people playing apes. Although both films were technically released in the USA on 3 April 1968, Planet of the Apes was the first to arrive in Memphis, Tennessee by several weeks.

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Something about Planet of the Apes (1968) stimulated my imagination. For a brief moment it was my favorite film of all time. But when I saw the second film, 2001 blew Apes out of the picture. I had acquired the LP of the music score before I ever saw the film (in fact, before I saw Planet of the Apes), and had heard every track dozens of times before I finally saw the images that are attached to the sounds in Kubrick's masterpiece.

I left the theater after the first viewing with a worshipful craving to watch it again. That would require somehow procuring another $2.50. I did it, and went back again. I was convinced that a lot of people were seeing the film in the first place, or seeing it a second or third time because they were trying to figure out what it meant. Or, perhaps, they were just trying to stay awake through enough of it during each viewing to piece together what might or might not be happening on screen. It never has caused me to doze off, but you can leave the room to take care of biological urges (hunger, defecation, etc) without missing anything critical.

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Who made it into a Film?
Former still photographer Stanley Kubrick conceived the idea of the movie. I don't have Jerome Agel's book where I can refer to it, so I don't know details that I would otherwise. They probably aren't important. The main thing is that "The Sentinel" made Kubrick want to make a film about meeting alien life for the first time, and as he and Clark worked on the movie, the project changed and became better.

I have seen 9 of Kubrick's 16 films. For the most part I like his work very much. His sensibilities as a still photographer for the tabloid magazines provided him with a certain sense of composition that is almost always evident in the way his movies look. Kubrick liked camera movement, lighting, unique angles but seemed to use focus pulls and zooms sparingly. His still photos evoke the same high art look that his films do. Kubrick did not become mired in any one story genre. Although he made two science fiction films in a row, they are the only ones he ever made. And it's worth noting that the only common thread between 2001 and A Clockwork Orange is that both are set in the future (at least in the future for when they were made).

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How did it turn out?
Just as Clarke's "The Sentinel" is a philosophical tract disguised as a short story, the Clarke-Kubrick collaboration is a philosophical tract disguised as a film.

The germ idea of "The Sentinel" is used, but a lot of other ideas from other Arthur C. Clarke stories are added. For one thing, the set-up is more elaborate. There are 3 steps involved for an earth man to reach the alien race, but the one who travels through the star gate probably doesn't meet them. One of the most clever aspects of the film is that it is beautiful to watch, but doesn't have a clear sense of plot. It is more than a character study, though. Mostly, it seems to be a treatise about artificial and alien intelligence, and how human beings would fare when dealing with either. Yet, you could come up with a dozen other plausible themes.

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To me as a teenage worshiper it was clear that the film wasn't supposed to mean anything at all. It merely presents a dream, and it is the dream that is important, not what happens or does not happen in the course of the flimsy plot. I wanted to experience that dream as many times as I could before the movie was retired from exhibition.

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People below 22 years old (which included 16-year old YTMN) seemed to warm to the film much more than older viewers, many of whom (reportedly) walked out. I didn't see anyone walking out of the showings I attended, but, then, I was watching the movie very closely. The first night I went it took quite a while for the entire audience to file out of the huge theater.

It is difficult to imagine spoilers for this film, but I'll put my synopsis behind spoiler tags once I get into the Prologue a ways.

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The story opens with a title "The Dawn of Man" and a series of still pictures taken on the African savanna. The geology is timeless, so when you first meet proto-humans in the first live-action shots, you probably aren't surprised. It isn't what you were expecting, necessarily, but the opening title sets you up for an anything-might-go scenario.

There is a sequence featuring some very slender dancers inside ape suits, pretending to be the proto-humans. A quarrel with much arm waving and hooting takes place at a muddy watering hole. A cat kills one of the hominins. Then one tribe retires for the evening when darkness comes, all sheltered beneath a rocky ledge. One creature is awake, watching the moon, listening closely to the sounds. When he awakens he and his troupe meet The Monolith. This is the adaptation of "The Sentinel" for the film script, and it is about the only idea from the supposed seminal short story that remains in the movie or the novel 2001: a Space Odyssey.
The proto-humans have learned much from the black monolith. One experiments with a tapir femur as club, and successfully demolishes a skull with it. He kills a tapir, and the troupe eats meat (which as we all know from Oliver Twist's Mr. Bumble the Beadle, is always a source of trouble) At the water hole the club-wielding proto-human clubs another hominin, leader of the other tribe, to death.

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In triumph this inventor of murder flings his club into the sky. It falls back, and there is a famous jump cut to an orbital nuclear weapon circling the earth of the year 2001.

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Dr. Heywood Floyd is en-route to the crater Clavius on the Moon. The trip to the moon and out to Clavius is shown in great detail, but with no narration. Although narration was written, Kubrick decided not to use it, and to let the images stand on their own. We now learn that there is a discovery that is so important that a cover story for the lack of communication with the Clavius base crew has been circulated: There is an outbreak of a severe disease, and a subsequent quarantine of the Clavius base. Actually, they have merely discovered a monolith buried 40 feet beneath the lunar surface.

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As the VIPs are assembling for a group photo near the relic, it sends a very powerful signal which is aimed at Jupiter. How they know its target is not explained.

Naturally, this leads to a manned expedition to Jupiter aboard the XD-1 spacecraft. Only two men are awake during the transit, with three other crew members being put aboard in hibernation. Dr. Frank Poole and Dr. Dave Bowman are the two who are awake. We see a pretty good semblance of their routine. Then the control computer for the mission, the HAL 9000 machine, "detects" that the AE35 unit will fail within 76 hours.

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The human crew, relying on the perfect performance record of the HAL 9000 series, brings the unit that is expected to fail inside, and Dr. Bowman's diagnostics can find absolutely nothing wrong with it. HAL suggests replacing the unit and letting it fail. So, Poole goes back out to re-install the original unit, during which HAL murders him using the pod that was his EVA vehicle.

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Bowman goes after the body. Meantime, HAL kills the hibernating crew. Bowman returns with Poole's body, HAL reveals how he knew that the humans were up to no good from the computer's point of view. HAL will not open the pod bay doors. Bowman goes into the ship through the emergency air lock, without a space helmet, and once suited up again (lest HAL should evacuate the entire vessel of air) Dr. Bowman turns off the computer's higher brain functions, leaving only the maintenance functions running.

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Then he is taken on the most spectacular acid trip ever filmed as he passes through the stargate that is represented by a third monolith floating in orbit around Jupiter. Bowman arrives, still in the pod, in a Victorian styled bedroom. Over the course of a few moments running time he ages, but there is no clue how long this takes in supposed real time. Finally, he is an embryonic Star Child who ends up orbiting the planet earth and staring us down as the film ends.

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The credits begin to solemnly pop on and off the screen. The story, of course, only begins at that moment in your head as you attempt to assemble a tale in your imagination with the sole purpose of making sense of the film you have just seen. That is, if you didn't walk out of the theater in utter confusion, or eject the optical disc from your player mid-film, and put in something more approachable.

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There is a persistent rumor that at the next Academy Awards Planet of the Apes received "The" Oscar for special make-up effects, possibly because Academy voters didn't realize that the apes in 2001 were actors in suits and make-up. But I've read recently that there was no such award at the time. The Academy simply created a one-off award for the makeup in Planet of the Apes, which might mean that 2001 wasn't ever considered at all. Perhaps for the same reason given above, though.

The film was an early boxoffice failure and MGM decided to pull it, but exhibitors reported that a large number of people were coming to see the movie several times, and the audience was getting younger. It was left in exhibition for a while longer, and began to turn a profit. Still, it was eventually pulled while making money so that MGM could roll out its new adventure blockbuster Ice Station Zebra. I also saw that piece of crap film at the same theater. It may astound you to know that it was a piece of crap. But it was and is, a verifiable piece of crap. Truly, aside from the crummy special effects, the main reason I didn't care for Zebra is that it forced 2001 out of the theater when I could have watched it in 70mm a couple more times. (My next two viewings were at a second-run theater and a drive-in) The submarine film has an inexplicably high IMDb rating. :D

Was there a remake?
No, but there was an inferior sequel made from the second of four Arthur C. Clarke novels based on the same ideas: 2010 (1984). The tagline reads: the year we make contact.

After the success of the novel 2001, Clarke went on to write 2010, 2061 and 3001. The series of books came out in 1968, 1982, 1985 and 1996. The last two books have not been made into films. I have acquired and read all four novels. As with all Arthur C. Clark novels, the written form of the last three is superior to the 2010 film. Which version is better of the 2001 titles is a matter of debate. The novel is good, but you can't beat the film.

You Can Watch It.
The now-classic sci-fi film is available on Blu-ray, DVD, it streams, and has probably been dismantled into smaller segments ready to be bit-torrented and reassembled on your computer drive. As I wrote above, I have a VHS tape, a DVD, two Blu-rays, and that's enough for me to watch.

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The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey - text by Silvia Bombardini. ashadedviewonfashion.com. "...all encased in the shape of a familiar black monolith, as charming and mysterious as it ever was. Foolproof and incapable of error as Taschen tends to be, one can only wonder what will come next."

Making Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. unitedstyle.wordpress.com. April 5, 2014. "A set of 100 behind-the-scene pictures detailing the filming of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey just showed up on Imgur. These appear to match the Life archive on Google and some, if not all, were photographed by Dmitri Kessel." 21 of the images.

The Commercial Space Blog. acuriousguy.blogspot.com. "Below is a useful list of media, magazines, books and reports to provide context and help get you up to speed on the Canadian and international space industry." -- "2001: The Lost Science by Adam Johnson - 2001: A Space Odyssey is an almost flawless scientific façade constructed by Kubrick, Clarke, Ordway, Lange and the hundreds of engineers and scientists who contributed to the production."

Making Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a space odyssey.. making2001.tumblr.com. Source of several images I used.

Photo: Kubrick w/still camera. media.digititles.com.

Weird, Unseen Images from the Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey. vanityfair.com. "Moon children, polka-dot aliens, suckling ape suits, and many more intergalactic wrong turns are chronicled in a new behind-the-scenes book."

Kubrick and Clarke. archiveshub.ac.uk. "Stanley Kubrick (right), with Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008), co-writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and author of the short story on which the film was based, 'The Sentinel', first published in 1951."


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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:25 am
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Okay. The Space Odyssey posts are finished. Finally.

Next is "The Seventh Victim"/The Tenth Victim, in about three weeks.

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:27 am
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At last, the thread is half-way finished! :up: :D :heart: 8-)

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:17 am
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“The Seventh Victim” by Robert Sheckley (1953) pgs 320-332 – filmed as The Tenth Victim in 1965
PART ONE


In 1953 Robert Sheckley, writer of prose and screenplays published a whimsically warped story about murder becoming a social spectacle. Instituted to keep the fifth (or some say seventh) World War from wiping out humankind. The government operates the lottery that makes a person once a hunter, the next time a victim. No weapon is off limits, but killing the wrong person (it has to be only either your Hunter or your Victim) leads to a mandatory 30-year prison term. If one can make 20 kills (10x as hunter 10x as victim) then he or she enters the Tens Club, and retires from the Hunt. In the story, the Hunter's own business partner, E. J. Morger, is such a person.
Robert Sheckley wrote:
The old man had been quite a Hunter in his day. Ten successful hunts had qualified him for the exclusive Tens Club. And, of course, for each hunt Morger had had to act as Victim, so he had twenty kills to his credit.

"I sure hope my Victim isn't anyone like you," Frelaine said, half in jest.

"Don't worry about it. What number will this be?"

"The seventh."

"Lucky seven. Go to it," Morger said. "We'll get you into the Tens yet."


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The Original Story.

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Stanton Frelaine is awaiting the mail as the story opens. He awaits a letter from the Emotional Catharsis Bureau (ECB). In it he expects to see the name of his seventh victim. Eventually, after going home to his one-room apartment, he opens the letter. Sheckley lets us know that something is different about this hunt:
Robert Sheckley wrote:
Frelaine took out the envelope, chuckling to himself, remembering some of the tricks Morrow had turned for the Hunters. Still smiling, he glanced at the data inside the envelope.

Janet-Marie Patzig.

His Victim was a female!

Frelaine stood up and paced for a few moments. Then he read the letter again. Janet-Marie Patzig.

No mistake. A girl. Three photographs were enclosed, her address, and the usual descriptive data.

Frelaine frowned. He had never killed a female.
And that, my friends, is the complicating incident.

Frelaine thinks in a way that is strange to modern brains; after all Sheckley wrote this story in 1953, when YTMN was only a year old:
Robert Sheckley wrote:
Damn women, he grumbled to himself, always trying to horn in on a man's game. Why can't they stay home?

But they were free citizens, he reminded himself. Still it just didn't seem feminine.
We can presume that Frelaine is always wearing one of his own company's Protec-Suits at all times. Before the letter comes in the mail, Sheckley describes the Hunter in this contest:
Robert Sheckley wrote:
FRELAINE took back the sheet and jotted a note on the edge of it. Then he stood up, smoothing his jacket over his prominent stomach. Frelaine was forty-three, a little overweight, a little bald on top. He was an amiable-looking man with cold eyes.
But a gun is considered by some to be an equalizer. All are equally helpless against its force.
The reason for the ECB is laid out in the tale. You can read it outside the spoiler tags. His concern about the Victim being female is rooted in 1950s social stereotypes:
Robert Sheckley wrote:
He knew that, historically speaking, the Emotional Catharsis Board had been established for men and men only. The board had been formed at the end of the fourth world war—or sixth, as some historians counted it.

At that time there had been a driving need for permanent, lasting peace. The reason was practical, as were the men who engineered it.

Simply—annihilation was just around the corner.
Naturally, since this is a Science Fiction story, one solution solves all human problems, and creates a dystopic society in the process.

The victim appears to be in her twenties. This is an uneven fight in more ways than one. Frelaine goes through all the books he has in his apartment about successfully prosecuting a hunt. Well, most of them are written for how to be a successful Victim. Because Janet Patzig lives in New York City he chooses
Robert Sheckley wrote:
Hunting in Cities, by Mitwell and Clark, Spotting the Spotter, by Algreen, and The Victim's Ingroup, by the same author.
Frelaine travels to NYC, checks into a hotel, and begins looking for her. He spots her in a nearby cafe, close to her home. She doesn't appear to be armed. She doesn't appear to see him. The next day she is there again, and he sits down to talk with her. He learns that she is a failed actress.
Robert Sheckley wrote:
"Are you a Victim?" he asked.

"You guessed it," she said sardonically. "If I were you, I'd stay out of the way. No sense getting hit by mistake."

Frelaine couldn't understand the girl's calm. Was she a suicide? Perhaps she just didn't care. Perhaps she wanted to die.

"Haven't you got any spotters?" he asked, with the right expression of amazement.

"No." She looked at him, full in the face, and Frelaine saw something he hadn't noticed before. She was very lovely.

"I am a bad, bad girl," she said lightly. "I got the idea I'd like to commit a murder, so I signed for ECB. Then—I couldn't do it."
She accepts his invitation to go to the NYC Gladitorials with him. Yep, those are mostly fought to the death. Murder, Inc. so to speak.
Robert Sheckley wrote:
The evening passed pleasantly. Frelaine escorted the girl home, the palms of his hands sticky with sweat. He had never found a woman he liked better. And yet she was his legitimate kill.

He didn't know what he was going to do.

She invited him in and they sat together on the couch. The girl lighted a cigarette for herself with a large lighter, then settled back.
And now everything goes south for him.
Robert Sheckley wrote:
"You won't be killed. I'm your Hunter."

She stared at him a moment, then laughed uncertainly. "Are you going to kill me?" she asked.

"Don't be ridiculous," he said. "I'm going to marry you."

Suddenly she was in his arms.

"Oh, Lord!" she gasped. "The waiting — I've been so frightened—"

"It's all over," he told her. "Think what a story it'll make for our kids. How I came to murder you and left marrying you."

She kissed him, then sat back and lighted another cigarette. "Let's start packing," Frelaine said. "I want—"

"Wait," Janet interrupted. "You haven't asked if I love you."

"What?"

She was still smiling, and the cigarette lighter was pointed at him. In the bottom of it was a black hole. A hole just large enough for a .38 caliber bullet.

"Don't kid around," he objected, getting to his feet.

"I'm not being funny, darling," she said.
Ah, yes, a failed actress. And she's good-looking, too, so he's off guard. Should have used the button on his Protec-Suit long before to have his gun at the ready, but...
Robert Sheckley wrote:
"I don't love you, Stanton," she said very softly, the cigarette lighter poised.

Frelaine struggled for breath. One part of him was able to realize detachedly what a marvelous actress she really was. She must have known all along.

Frelaine pushed the button, and the gun was in his hand, cocked and ready.

The blow that struck him in the chest knocked him over a coffee table. The gun fell out of his hand.
Gasping, half-conscious, he watched her take careful aim for the coup de grace.

"Now I can join the Tens," he heard her say elatedly as she squeezed the trigger.

That's a clever twist. He couldn't find out that kind of information about his Victim. How many kills she already had was classified. She would have had to tell him that. What she told him and the truth of it all were very different. He succumbed to her feminine wiles, so to speak, in a very literal sense.

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Some people say that Robert Sheckley invented the idea of the legal murderous hunt with his 1953 short story. Our next story/film pair features somewhat the same idea with "The Racer" (1956) and Death Race 2000. But the short story was published three years later than Sheckley's, and the film was made a decade after The Tenth Victim. They were both predated by Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game," from 1924. But, of course, the hunting of humans in that story is not sanctioned as legal.

The major overall twist of the Sheckley story is that the Victim and the Hunter are opposite sex. They are "meant" to fall in love of course in the world of story-telling. So the man does just that, and decides to marry his victim rather than to kill her. How it turns out is in the synopsis behind the spoiler tags.

The story is very brief, but it includes a lot of detail, both explicit and implicit about the dystopian culture in which it takes place.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
Why, murder of course. Murder demands cinematic exploitation. And there is the sexual tension of a man out to kill a woman, while the woman is a willing participant in the hunt.

Is this some kind of metaphor for dating? Or for rape?

The very reason for the ECB is enough to get the imagination of a production person swirling with ideas:
Robert Sheckley wrote:
After a period of experimentation, uniform rules were adopted.

Anyone who wanted to murder could sign up at the ECB. Giving certain data and assurances, he would be granted a Victim.

Anyone who signed up to murder, under the government rules, had to take his turn a few months later as Victim—if he survived.

That, in essence, was the setup. The individual could commit as many murders as he wanted. But between each, he had to be a Victim. If he successfully killed his Hunter, he could stop, or sign up for another murder.

At the end of ten years, an estimated third of the world's civilized population had applied for at least one murder. The number slid to a fourth, and stayed there.

Philosophers shook their heads, but the practical men were satisfied. War was where it belonged—in the hands of the individual.

Of course, there were ramifications to the game, and elaborations. Once its existence had been accepted it became big business. There were services for Victim and Hunter alike.
Yeah, the Capitalistic ramifications of such a society are not ignored.

There is a link to read the story below. There are two links to the film, one to stream, the other to order the disc from Flix, if you have it.

NOTE: Val Lewton made a 1943 horror film with the same title, but a different plot and premise.


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Link to PDF download of the short story. http://www.lunsfordnet.com/get/pdf/18196. "'Wish I was a kid again,' Morger said, glancing down at his crippled leg with wryly humorous eyes. 'Makes me want to pick up a gun again.'
The old man had been quite a Hunter in his day. Ten successful hunts had qualified him for the exclusive Tens Club. And, of course, for each hunt Morger had had to act as Victim, so he had twenty kills to his credit."

Robert Sheckley. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The story may also have been the inspiration for the role-playing game Assassin. The Japanese novel and film Battle Royale and the series of best-selling novels The Hunger Games also have the same premise as Sheckley's story. The satirical premise, invented by Sheckley, is that in the future killings are legal and televised, and that potential victims or hunters can get corporate sponsors and extra perks to assist them in succeeding as a professional, corporate-sponsored, celebrity killer."

The Film at DailyMotion.com.

The film on Netflix DVD.


guns. Google Image search. Source of the gun images I used.

combat knives. Google Image search. Source of the knife images I used.

grenades. Google Image search. Source of the grenade images I used.


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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:52 pm
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“The Seventh Victim” by Robert Sheckley (1953) pgs 320-332 – filmed as The Tenth Victim in 1965
PART TWO


Italy made this short story into a cinematic experience. As with all Italian films that were brought to American shores, it seems a little artsy in style. The close-microphone effect from dubbing all the lines (even in the original Italian) has always distracted me in Italian films of that period. But I generally enjoyed the film adaptation of the short story. The adaptation twists and turns many of the original ideas. There are four distinct endings as well, piled atop one another.

Having read the short story won't clue you in to what happens in the film, except in a most general way. The ultimate endings are different.

Who made it into a Film?
Carlo Ponti produced, and Elio Petri directed. Ponti is known as a producer of 162 movies, but mainly (it seems) as Sophia Loren's husband.

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Elio Petri was an Italian director, who wrote 31 films and directed 17 times, including documentaries. Among his most well-known are The Assassin (1961), A Quiet Place in the Country (1968) and Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970). The third of those was nominated for the 1972 Oscar for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced.

Petri was one of the Italian realists, so his films don't always end in a Hollywood way. His characters often try to change their lives, with middling to horrible results. They might get mixed up with the Mafia and other social forces that steer them in the direction of evil when they attempt a good deed.

Robert Sheckley's original short story was really right up Petri's alley, as they say. I haven't seen any other Petri films so I can't comment on how much more or less humor there is in the presentation of The Tenth Victim.

How did it turn out?
It's European, mid-1960s and Italian, so it's a bit absurdist. The film retains a few ideas from the short story: there is a government department that oversees the Big Hunt; the Big Hunt is held in order to replace warfare; the participants must be both Hunter and Victim in alternate hunts (but the story requires ten turns as each, while the movie has only five each); the film story involves an opposite sex pairing as in the short story, but the Victim and Hunter are reversed (she is the Hunter).

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Twenty-nine year old Ursula Andress plays Caroline Meridith, the Hunter; it is her 11th feature film role. Forty-one year old Marcello Mastroianni plays Marcello Poletti, the victim; it is his 64th actor credit. Two years earlier he had played Guido Anselmi in Fellini's .

The story is mostly coherent, but comically structured. Even with the coherence, some of the film makes little sense. Perhaps this is because of the basic idea: that people hunt one another to the death of one, legally, and on television, with commercial endorsements. Both participants in this hunt are famous already. But I always blame it on bad translations of lines, or sections chopped out in order to shorten the run time in English-language theaters.

The short story has a grisly twist, whereas the film has a humorous one.

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At the beginning of the story we meet Caroline as the Victim, who cleverly dispatches her Hunter (ninth kill) with her double-barelled "top gun", and Marcello as the Hunter who blows up his Victim (sixth kill) with boot heel bombs. So these are accomplished murderers who will be going up against one another. Marcello has a mistress, and a wife. The wife withdraws all Marcello's earnings for the sixth killing before he can get to the Big Hunt office to claim it.

He first meets his hunter, a woman, whose identity is unknown to him, at an outdoor cafe. At this cafe they sit and talk, and Caroline doesn't tip her hand that she knows Marcello is her victim. Meanwhile another hunting pair come through, and are thrown out by the restauranteur, who reminds them that it is illegal to fire a gun in their restaurant. "It is not permitted since the first of the month. We put up a big sign over the door."

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The Victim is led out of the restaurant by his ear (yes, these are both adults). His pursuer promises to give him a one minute head start. In a retort reminiscent of modern US gun-toters, the hunter complains "In hospitals it's not permitted to shoot, in restaurants it's not permitted, in churches not permitted, at the barber's it's not, in the orphanage not permitted. It's not permitted any place anymore. What's the good of the Hunt, anyway? What a way to earn a living." He sighs at what seem to him the absurdity of placing restrictions on where you can commit murder.

Marcello goes to lead a Sunset Worshiper's service at the seaside. Caroline is there. Marcello calls a compatriot who will check her out to see if she is his hunter, and will meet Marcello later at his ex-wife, Lydia's house. Marcello takes Caroline there. She has made a deal to get an endorsement from Ming Tea, to kill Marcello on camera, and only at the Temple of Venus in Rome, Italy.

Beyond the spoiler tag is a general, although not perfectly accurate synopsis, and a few images.

After a couple of pulls back and forth, with each party planning things to entrap the other along with their handlers, and her subterfuge of hiring a "good looking man" to accompany her to a visit to the Hunt Club (where killing is not allowed), Marcello and Carolyn wind up in a tent house at the seaside.

There is a subplot with Marcello's mistress. But that only needs to be mentioned because it figures into one of the crazy pseudo-endings.

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The television producers lift the tent house onto a truck bed using a crane. The truck drives to the Temple of Venus, where the tent house is offloaded. Marcello finally awakens, and wonders why there is no sound of the sea. He feels for the gun he has secreted beneath the mattress, but Caroline has removed it. She has it in her possession.

There is a flourish as the tent portion of the house is lifted away, revealing them to the television cameras. He makes no pretense of trying to escape. She fires several times. He collapses.

A few moments later after congratulating Caroline, one of the producers notices that Marcello's body is missing. It is because he has walked down to some ancient auditorium to enjoy a moment alone. When she shows up he points out that it is dangerous to use a victim's gun on him, as it might be loaded with blanks.

There are three other turnabouts, Marcello shoots Caroline at point-blank range, and she dies, then she shows up with a shotgun and aims it at him, and then the ex-wife and jilted mistress show up both trying to kill Marcello and/or Caroline.

The central couple evade them and wind up fleeing onto a jet airplane, where a priest is marrying couples. He comes to the back of the plane, and knows Marcello's name. This is obviously because Caroline has made the arrangements. They are married. The attendant pulls the trigger on a flare gun that is pointed directly toward them, and then the camera, and a wedding bouquet pops out of the barrel. End credits.

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The movie is whimsical and light-hearted, despite the grisly topic.

Was there a remake?
No remake has been made, or even announced as far as I can tell. But subsequent cinematic (and print) stories have had similar ideas. "The Racer" and Death Race 2000 have already been mentioned in this analysis. A quotation in the WebLinks for Part One of this analysis covers the similarities to "The Seventh Victim" that are inherent in The Hunger Games and Battle Royale novels and films.

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You Can Watch It.
There is a DailyMotion streaming link below where you can watch the film. That version of the film is dubbed in English. The movie is also available on DVD. And there are no doubt bit-torrent copies available to those of you who fly the Jolly Roger!


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The 10th Victim (1965). IMDb. "La decima vittima" (original title)

The Film at DailyMotion.com.

The film on Netflix DVD.

Elio Petri. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "A friend of Gianni Puccini, he was introduced through him to Giuseppe De Santis and became assistant to the director of Bitter Rice. He collaborated, without being credited, on Rome 11 O'Clock (1952), one of the least known post-war neo-realist movies, based on an actual tragic event; a staircase collapse with dozens of women job seekers who had showed up in response to an advertisement by a doctor seeking a secretary."

Marcello Mastroianni. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "During World War II, after the division into Axis and Allied Italy, he was interned in a loosely guarded German prison camp, from which he escaped to hide in Venice."

Ursula Andress. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Shortly before his death in 1955, James Dean became involved with 19-year-old Andress. In 1957, she married actor/director John Derek; they divorced in 1966. One of her longest affairs was with Jean-Paul Belmondo."

The Most Dangerous Game. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. ""The Most Dangerous Game", also published as "The Hounds of Zaroff", is a short story by Richard Connell, first published in Collier's book on January 19, 1924. The story features a big-game hunter from New York who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island in the Caribbean, where he is hunted by a Cossack aristocrat."

Carlo Ponti. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Ponti died in Geneva, Switzerland from pulmonary complications on 10 January 2007. He was survived by his wife, Sophia Loren; his sons Carlo (now an orchestral conductor), film producer Alessandro, and film director and former child actor Edoardo Ponti; and his daughter Guendalina, a lawyer."


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I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:52 pm
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Aight! RF Number 9 is now done, and that means I can spend the time to do Corrie posts working on the Batman Multimatch for a while.

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:07 am
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“The Racer” by Ib Melchior (1956) pgs 333-342 – filmed as Death Race 2000 in 1975, and credited as the influence behind Death Race released in 2008

The Original Story.

The origin of this story is discussed in an essay for the Death Race Quickmatch. Adapted a Good Car Story Lately? essay #1. Be wary of spoilers. I still cannot find an online copy of "The Racer" that you can read for free, which I'll remind you of below.

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Here are a few quotes, that won't give away the ending of the written tale.

Ib Melchior wrote:
Hank was giving a last minute shine to the needle-sharp durasteel horns protruding from the front fenders. Willie's car wasn't nicknamed "The Bull" without reason. The front of the car was built like a streamlined bull's head complete with bloodshot, evil looking eyes, iron ring through flaring nostrils--and the horns. Although most of the racing cars were built to look like tigers, or sharks, or eagles, there were a few bulls--but Willie's horns were unequaled.

Ib Melchior wrote:
It was exactly 1048 hours when "The Bull" streaked into the deserted streets of Toledo.

"O.K.--What now?" asked Hank.

"Grand Rapids, Michigan," said Willie laconically.

"Grand Rapids! But that's--that's an easy 300 miles detour!"

"I know."

"Are you crazy? It'll cost us a couple of hours."

"So Grand Rapids is all the way up between the Lakes. So who'll be expecting us up there?"

"Oh! Oh, yeah, I see," said Hank.

"The Time isn't everything, my friend. Whoever said the shortest distance between two points is a straight line? The Score counts too. And here's where we pick up our Score!"

The first Tragi-Acc never even knew the Racer had arrived. "The Bull" struck him squarely, threw him up in the air, and let him slide off its plastiglass back, leaving a red smear behind and somewhat to the left of Willie--all in a split second....

Near Calvin College an imprudent coed found herself too far from cover when the Racer suddenly came streaking down the campus. Frantically she sprinted for safety, but she didn't have a chance with a driver like Willie behinds the wheel. The razor sharp horn on the right fender sliced through her spine so cleanly that the jar wasn't even felt inside the car.

Ib Melchior wrote:
The acceleration slammed the Racers back in their seats. "The Bull" shot forward and bore down on the little knot of terrified people with appalling speed.

This time there was no mistaking the hits. A quick succession of pars had Willie calling upon all his driving skill to keep from losing control. Hank pressed the Clean-Spray button to wash the blood off the front of the dome. He sat with eyes glued to the rear view screen.

"Man, oh man," he murmured. "What a record! What a Score!" He turned to Willie. "Please," he said, "please stop. Let's get out. I know it's against regulations, but I've just gotta see how we did. It won't take long. We can afford a couple of minutes' Time now!"

Ib Melchior wrote:
Within seconds the deserted street was swarming with people. Now the Racers were out of their car they felt safe. And curious. A few of them pressed forward to take a look at Willie. Naturally he was recognized. His photo had been seen in one way or another by everyone.

Willie was gratified by this obvious adulation. He looked about him. There were many people in the street now. But--but they were not all fawning and beaming upon him. Willie frowned. Most of them looked grim--even hostile? Why? What was wrong? Wasn't he one of their greatest Racers? And hadn't he just made a record Score? Given them a Tragi-Acc they wouldn't soon forget? What was the matter with those hicks?

Suddenly the crowd parted. Slowly a young girl walked up to Willie. She was beautiful--even with the terrible anger burning on her face. In her arms she held the still body of a child. She looked straight at Willie with loathing in her eyes. Her voice was low but steady when she said:

"Butcher!"

Someone in the crowd called: "Careful, Muriel!" but she paid no heed.

Ib Melchior wrote:
They'd lost 13 minutes. Now they were on their way to El Paso, Texas. The nagging headache Willie'd suffered the whole week of planning before the race had returned. He reached for a No-Sleep, hesitated a second, then took another.

Hank glanced at him, worriedly. "Easy, boy!"

Willie didn't answer."

"That Anti-Racer get under your skin?" Hank suggested. "Don't let it bother you."

"Butcher," she'd said. "Butcher!"

Willie was staring through the plastiglass dome at the racing poll of light from the headbeams. "The Bull" was tearing along the Thruway at almost 180 MPH.

What was that? There--in the light? It was a face--terrible--dark eyes--getting larger--larger--Muriel! It was butcher--no, Muriel! No--it was a Racer--a Racing Car with Muriel's face, shrieking down upon him--closer--closer...

He threw his arms in front of his face."

Well, Willie has let himself be temporarily disturbed by the altercation with the Anti-Racer girl in the streets of Oklahoma City. This kind of thing might affect his driving. The scant plot of the short story is much different from what Corman and crew would concoct for the movie. But they kept all the basic ideas that Melchior thrust into place in his written text.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.

Both the 1975 and 2008 films were analyzed in the Rematch thread Death Race Remake Quickmatch. You can read the story, but you'll have to find your own copy. Apparently there are still no pdfs or html versions posted online.

The story wants to be a movie because it is murderous, and makes a strongly negative comment about the nature of humans to be bloodthirsty. It is a caricature of humanity, as well (look at the design of the Racing Cars, for example). It is also humorous, although Melchior denied that he wrote it to be funny. If there were no jokes the story would be hideously melancholy. The idea of murder being sanctioned by government and the populous is the kind of idea that would bring only grisly depression and tears if it weren't peppered with "misplaced" humor.

So in the next post we'll look at how Paul Bartel's direction of Robert Thom and Charles B. Griffith's adaptation plays on the screen.


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Ib Melchior. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Death Race Quickmatch. YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread. The Corrierino.com


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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:16 am
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“The Racer” by Ib Melchior (1956) pgs 333-342 – filmed as Death Race 2000 in 1975, and more or less the influence behind Death Race released in 2008

Could we really turn into a society that relishes the kill to the point of wanting to see innocent people be slaughtered before our eyes? Could The Hunger Games ever be reality? And is there much practical difference between the films of that type and the fictional games they represent on movie screens? I'll leave that up to you to debate. In 1975 a now-legendary B-movie producer and an actor/director teamed up to bring something reminiscent of "The Racer" to movie screens across America, and perhaps, the world.

Who made it into a Film?
Roger Corman was the producer and Paul Bartel the director for the 1975 original film based on the story. Loosely based, that is.

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Corman is known for giving many well-known actors and directors, as well as costume designers and other specialists their start in the business. He has produced 409 titles to date, very few, if any of which have A-grade budgets. His first producer credit appears on Monster from the Ocean Floor (1954). The most recent which is currently in post-production is Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf (TV, 2015). Among the films on the huge list are Death Race (2008), Death Race 2 (2010), and Death Race: Inferno (2012).

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Paul Bartel is primarily known as an actor (91 credits) although he has 14 directorial credits. He is probably best known for directing Death Race 2000 (1975) and Eating Raoul (1982). Bartel's filmography features mostly bizarre, sometimes upsetting movies. His next film after Death Race 2000 was Cannonball! (1976), another film about a cross-country road race where there are no rules. It isn't about killing people, though, only about getting there first. David Carradine stars in both films. As a driver.

How did it turn out?
Aside from the part where it has become a cult classic, and was the first major feature film acting role for Sylvester Stallone (his 9th credited film role), it is quite watchable in its low-budget way. There is a false light-heartedness about it that is so out of place that you understand from the beginning that the film is done that way on purpose. For irony.

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The plot is much more complex than that of the Melchior short story. Even though Melchior had nothing to do with the adaptation, he has stated that he thinks the Bartel film with its rampant humor is well-done. The movie has plenty of bare skin, an ample number of explosions, crashes and blood capsules in sufficient number. Yet, overall it projects a conservative attitude. The film retains and expands on the Anti-Racer faction. The presentation of the Race itself is overdone to the point of sarcasm. As much of the film deals with relationships between drivers and navigators at the overnight stops as the part that is racing footage. In the movies the Racers are sometimes the victim of other Racers. An aspect that is new to the movie.

It is interesting that Reel Future juxtaposes these two stories: "The Seventh Victim" and "The Racer." As I pointed out in the previous analysis, they share the same kernel of drama: legal murder.

In the same way that Mad Max tells a tale of collapse, Death Race 2000 chronicles the end of an era. There is more explicit personal violence on the screen in Death Race 2000 than in the first Max film.

The 1975 film adds a romance between two of the characters that isn't in the written story. This parallels the romance between the two protagonists of "The Seventh Victim" and The Tenth Victim.

Was there a remake?
Paul W.S. Anderson made what he called a "prequel" in 2008 (produced by Roger Corman). It is titled simply Death Race, and it has a vague resemblance to the 1975 movie. Less of a resemblance to the short story. Anderson wrote, but did not direct two other direct-to-video features: Death Race 2 (2011) and Death Race: Inferno (2012). I have the second film in a Blu-ray package with Death Race, and I decided to watch it. It is a prequel to the 2008 prequel, showing how a prison-based pay-per-view TV show called "Death Match" turned into "Death Race" for subscriber TV in "the near future." And it is the origin story of the Frankenstein who dies at the beginning of Death Race. In terms of story and other production values it is no worse than Death Race. No better, either.

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You Can Watch It.
Both the 1975 and 2008 films were analyzed in the Rematch thread Death Race Remake Quickmatch. The full version that was on YouTube at that time now has a number of commercial interruptions built into it. Found another with no commercials, but smaller image size. There are two links below. There is also availability on Netflix as a DVD. Amazon instant streams the movie, but iTunes has only the three 21st century knock-offs.


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BOOKS 2 FILM >> Death Race. Bookgasm. Author: Rod Lott "For Hollywood’s big-budget remake and these PC times, however, mowing down innocent people for sport won’t do, so writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson ... makes his competition internal, in an enclosed track on a prison island. The drivers are hardened criminals; five victories and freedom is granted, according to icy warden Joan Allen."

Death Race 2000 (1975). YouTube. Lower rez version w/o commercials

Death Race 2000 [1975] Paul Bartel. YouTube. Higer rez version with 15 commercials

Death Race 2000 from Wikipedia

Paul Bartel from Wikipedia

David Carradine from Wikipedia

Simone Griffeth from Wikipedia

Sylvester Stallone from Wikipedia

Ib Melchior from Wikipedia

Roger Corman from Wikipedia

New World Pictures from Wikipedia

Frankenstein (Death Race) from Wikipedia

Death Race 2000 (1975) Trivia from IMDb

Death Race from giantbomb.com. "Death Race is a game for the arcades and NES based on the film "Death Race 2000". It struck controversy when it was released in 1976."


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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:17 am
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The analysis for "The Racer" is completed.

The next story/film combination from the book Reel Future is another Rematch: The Fly. I have already watched the 1958 film again, and have skimmed through the short story.

See you in here in about 3 weeks, unless someone decides to comment in this thread; in which case I'll likely get so excited that I can reply to a comment, that I'll forget how to type! :D

_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:59 pm
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“The Fly” by George Langelaan (1957) pgs 343-371 – filmed as The Fly in 1956 and 1986
PART ONE

The Original Story.
This is one of the print stories in the collection that has the same title as the film made from it; in this case the same title as both films made from it. They were reviewed in the Remake Rematch thread.

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The short story must have been quickly snatched up by Hollywood, because the first film came out only 13 months after its publication in the June 1957 issue of Playboy magazine. In the 1950s there were dozens if not hundreds of low-budget science fiction films pouring out of the US film industry. I suppose the visual presentation of the story as envisioned by Kurt Neumann would have caused 1950s conformist skin to crawl. It has nothing in it that is scary to modern eyes. But most drama works because it makes you think of how awful it would be to live through the scenario in real life (if it were possible to do that). The short story, of course, takes place inside your head, and it is as scary as you wish to make it.

The film story is not realistic, nor is it realistically presented. But with a good enough dose of willing suspension of disbelief, you can enjoy it. For the short story to capture you the writer merely needs to use words to trigger visions inside your mind, and those are always believable if the words can arouse them. Langelaan writes in such a way that you don't question his basic assumptions. His style is straightforward, and compelling.

Half of Langelaan's IMDb screen credits are for films derived from this short story. They are all for adaptations of his prose works.

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A synopsis borrowed from Wikipedia is behind the spoiler tags.
The story begins late at night when François Delambre is awoken by the telephone. On the other end of the line is his sister-in-law Helene who tells him that she has just killed his brother and that he should call the police. He does and they find the mangled remains of his brother in the family factory, his head and arm crushed under a hydraulic machine press.

Helene seems surprisingly calm throughout the investigation, willing to answer all questions except one: she will not give the reason for killing him. Eventually she is sent to a mental asylum and François is given custody of his brother's young son, Henri. François goes to visit her often, but she never provides the explanation for the question that he most desperately wants to know. Then one day she inquires how long a housefly's life span is. Later that evening, he hears Henri mention something about a fly with a funny white head. Realizing that this might somehow hold a clue to the murder, François confronts her with the news that Henri spotted a strange fly, and Helene becomes extremely agitated at this news. François threatens to go to the police and give them the information about the insect if she does not tell him what he wants to know. She relents and advises him to come back the next day, at which time he will receive his explanation. The next day she gives him a handwritten manuscript, and later that night he reads it.

His brother, André Delambre, was a brilliant research scientist who had just found an amazing discovery. Using machines that he called disintegrator-reintegrators, André could instantaneously transfer matter from one location to another through space. He had two such machines in his basement, one being used as a transmitter pod, the other as a receiver. Helene's manuscript reveals that at first André encountered several flukes, including an experiment in which he transmitted an ashtray that reintegrated in the receiver pod with the words "Made in Japan" on the back written backwards. He also tried transmitting the family cat, which disintegrated perfectly but then never reappeared. Eventually, however, he ironed out the mistakes and found that the invention worked perfectly. Then one day André tried the experiment on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a tiny housefly had entered the transmitter pod with him, and when he emerged from the receiver, his head and arm had been switched with that of the insect.

André tells Helene that his only hope of salvation is for her to find the fly so that he can transmit himself with it again in the hopes of regaining his missing atoms. A search of the house proves fruitless, and in desperation Helene begs him to go through once more in the hopes that the transformation might reverse itself. Not believing it will work, but wanting to humor her, he agrees and goes through. When he steps out of the receiver Helene excitedly pulls off the cloth sack that he has been covering his head with, and she is greeted with a truly horrifying sight. Not only is his head now that of a fly, but some of the missing particles from the family cat were also mixed in with his scrambled anatomy during the last experiment. Now realizing that he has been transformed beyond all hope, André destroys the pods and all of the work in his lab and devises a way to commit suicide while at the same time hiding from the world what he had become. He shows Helene how to operate the hydraulic press and then places himself under it. Obeying his last wish, Helene pushes the button to lower the press and kills her husband.

François goes to see Helene the next day but receives heartbreaking news. Unable to live with her memories, she committed suicide during the night. Later that evening François invites Inspector Charas, the policeman in charge of the case, over to his house for dinner. After finishing their meal, François allows him to read Helene's manuscript. After reading it, Charas declares that Helene must have been mad, and they both decide to destroy the "confession." But just as the story ends, François tells Charas that earlier that day he buried a fly at his brother's graveside. It was a fly with a white head and arm.
Not quite like the take on the story presented in the movie.

You'll find that the basic structure is the same, but the location is transposed to Canada, some of the names are changed, and some of the circumstances are altered to fit better within a cinematic budget.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
Teleportation! True Love! Mystery! Creepiness! All those things that you can punctuate with exclamation points!

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The idea is so cinematic that it spawned a film in 1958, a sequel in 1959, and a second sequel in 1965, a re-make in 1986 and a sequel to the remake in 1989.

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Oh, and an opera in 2008, written by Howard Shore, and based on the 1986 remake. This probably makes it the only story in Reel Future to have been adapted for the operatic stage.

When you read the words it is clear to you why someone would want to make this a concrete performance done in front of a film camera. But, as with so many ideas that play wonderfully in your brain, this story doesn't translate perfectly well to the screen.



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The Fly (George Langelaan). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Helene's manuscript reveals that at first André encountered several flukes, including an experiment in which he transmitted an ashtray that reintegrated in the receiver pod with the words "Made in Japan" on the back written backwards."

“The Fly” By George Langelann.. The Unravelling Of Al Cook…on wordpress.com. The blog author misspells the story author's last name. But that won't hinder you from reading the full text of the story at this link.


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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:51 am
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“The Fly” by George Langelaan (1957) pgs 343-371 – filmed as The Fly in 1956 and 1986
PART TWO

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The first cinematic adaptation of Langelaan's story is fairly literal. Some character names are changed. The setting is switched to Montreal, Quebec, Canada rather than France. The exact disposition of the teleportation mix-up is altered slightly. A recap of the crux of the tale is spoken rather than written out. The big details stay mostly the same. And the romance that is at the core of the story is retained.

Who made it into a Film?
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Kurt Neumann (1908–1958) directed from a script by James Clavell (1921–1994). Neumann's first feature film, El Tenorio del harem, came out in 1931. He made only three films after The Fly (1958) which were released in 1958 and 1959, after his death. He didn't live long enough to see how successful The Fly was at the box office. Neumann directed 61 short and feature films in his career. He was nominated for a science-fiction Hugo award in 1951 for Rocketship X-M (1950) and in 1959 for the 1958 film of The Fly.

James Clavell Directed 10 titles, and gets writing credit for 20. He is mainly known for penning some best-selling novels, one of which was made for TV three times: Shogun (1980 miniseries and TV movie, and another TV movie in pre-production according to IMDb). But he also wrote screenplays. Among them The Fly (1958), The Great Escape (1963) and To Sir, With Love (1967).

How did it turn out?
Is it a science-fiction film? Is it a horror movie? Yes? No?

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This film is sincerely of its time, in that the images were probably frightening to audiences of 1956, but are not very much so today. The ideas are still frightening, as long as you forget that the science isn't quite there. Still, it is speculative fiction, speculating on the basis of "What if someone could build a machine that would teleport matter?" Then again, I have no idea what it would be like to see the movie and not know what is beneath Andre's velvet head covering.

Admittedly, there is a shipload of stuff that makes no sense about this movie. But those improbabilities are from the original story. This is a freewheeling tale, which requires you to either totally suspend disbelief, or to get a tissue handy to wipe away the tears of laughter that failure to suspend disbelief will evoke.

It's a fun little flick, though. If you decide to watch it, just let yourself go. If you do that it will pull you along. There are only a few moments now and again where it drags. For the most part its pacing is right on the money. When it ends, it seems as if you've spent no time watching it, yet an hour an a half have gone by.

Was there a remake?
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David Cronenberg re-envisioned the story in 1986. The plot of his film The Fly is not at all like that of the short story or the 1956 movie. Yet certain paeanic motifs are retained. There is still a romance, but not between husband and wife. There is a triangle, but this one is explicit. There is no child involved, and no cat. Whereas the first film lacks a baboon, Cronenberg takes pains to include one. The ending, which is the beginning of the 1956 film, is also retained in spirit if not in actual method.

As a horror film, Cronenberg's version has it all over the 1956 visualization.


You Can Watch It.
Buy it in your favorite disc format; download it from your favorite online source; watch it on YouTube. You can see both films. And probably the sequels, if you want to.

The 1958 film is worth your time, but the 1986 film is simply a very good film. It will likely gross you out more than once. It might leave you feeling all empty inside. But it is a very well made piece.


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The Fly (1958). IMDb.

The Fly (1958 film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "...a 1958 American science fiction-horror film produced and directed by Kurt Neumann. The screenplay was written by James Clavell (his first), from the short story of the same name by George Langelaan. It tells a story of a Scientist who mutates into a human fly after one accidentally flew into his transportation machine and switches their DNA."

The Fly (1958) Full Movie | Watch Vincent Price's Full Horror Movies. YouTube.

The Fly (1986) Full Horror Movie | Jeff Goldblum Full Movie. YouTube.


A Remake Rematch of The Fly (1958) and The Fly (1986). The Corrierino Forums. About the 1958: "The color design is quite rich, but befits the darkness of the storyline. A purposeful contrast exists between Helene's boudoir and André's laboratory. There isn't as much red in the film as I expected, although it turns up in odd places, such as the smoking jacket that Vincent Price is wearing when we first see him on the night of André's murder. Also, I had never before seen a color photo of the flugly head that Al Hedison (later David Hedison) wore after his transformation." and about the 1986: "We aren't shielded from anything by cinematic propriety. Just as the 1958 film was bold in its day, Cronenberg's 1986 film showers us with boldness: language and imagery that could not appear in any other genre, even in 1986. Because this is a horror film, it gets away with characterizations, relationships, and things that happen that you couldn't have had go on in a crime film of the era. At least Cronenberg says in the commentary that he'd never have gotten a lot of aspects past the studio bosses if he'd been making anything other than a horror movie."

A Scientist Responds… to The Fly. io9.com. "In our series, A Scientist Responds, we’re dredging up the great and terrible science fiction flicks of days past—and we’re making scientists watch them. Today’s movie: David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of the B-movie screamer, The Fly. The scientist: Throb editor and resident biologist, Diane Kelly."


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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:52 am
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Post Re: The Future Unreels...

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“Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Faraday Nelson (1963) pgs 372-376 – filmed as They Live in 1988
PART ONE

One of the stories in Reel Future is a very brief tale by Ray Nelson. I was only 11 years old when it was published, but I waited more than 50 years to read it. I knew about, and even saw the movie inspired by the story before I knew the story existed. Ray Nelson tells us that he was a cartoonist first, and wrote science fiction only later. There is a link to an autobiographical page on his website in the links at the bottom of this post. The page went up 13 years ago. On it he tells a story, then concludes:
Ray Nelson wrote:
As I write I have recently turned seventy years old. I still haven't run. I had learned what no child is supposed to learn, that if you say yes to the game you can, at best, win out against a ragtag troop of little kids your own age. If you say no you can win out against the entire adult world. They can hurt you, even kill you, but they can't make you run.
Which means he was writing from personal experience (at least emotional personal experience) when he penned the short story.

The Original Story.
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As you can see, “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” begins with an unusual incident. Following hypnosis George Nada wakes up completely. He is the only one who does, though. He can immediately see the faces of the Fascinators in the audience. Only George recognizes them.

They have "green reptilian flesh" and "multiple yellow eyes." They are "the rulers of earth." This is all set up in the four paragraphs on the scanned page from Reel Future. There are only four other pages to complete the story in the book. It is a truly short story.

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By the way, I found more than one blog with scans of the 7-page comic from April 1986 (created by Nelson, himself, and artist Bill Wray) retelling the story with slight alterations, and although it depicts the Fascinators in a different way, I use clips from it to illustrate this post.

No need for a synopsis for this one. There is a link to the story below. Read it. Won't take you long. Heck, I'll just drop the text from the page into spoiler tags right here.

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Reel Future page 372
Ray Faraday Nelson wrote:
At the end of the show the hypnotist told his subjects, “Awake.”

Something unusual happened.

One of the subjects awoke all the way. This had never happened before. His name was George Nada and he blinked out at the sea of faces in the theatre, at first unaware of anything out of the ordinary. Then he noticed, spotted here and there in the crowd, the non-human faces, the faces of the Fascinators. They had been there all along, of course, but only George was really awake, so only George recognized them for what they were. He understood everything in a flash, including the fact that if he were to give any outward sign, the Fascinators would instantly command him to return to his former state, and he would obey.

He left the theatre, pushing out into the neon night, carefully avoiding any indication that he saw the green, reptilian flesh or the multiple yellow eyes of the rulers of the earth. One of them asked him, “Got a light buddy?” George gave him a light, then moved on.

Reel Future page 373
Ray Faraday Nelson wrote:
At intervals along the street George saw the posters hanging with photographs of the Fascinators’ multiple eyes and various commands printed under them, such as, “Work eight hours, play eight hours, sleept eight hours,” and “Marry and Reproduce.” A TV set in the window of a store caught George’s eye, but he looked away in the nick of time. When he didn’t look at the Fascinator in the screen, he could resist the command, “Stay tuned to this station.”

George lived alone in a little sleeping room, and as soon as he got home, the first thing he did was to disconnect the TV set. In other rooms he could hear the TV sets of his neighbors, though. Most of the time the voices were human, but now and then he heard the arrogant, strangely bird-like croaks of the aliens. “Obey the government,” said one croak. “We are the government, ” said another. “We are your friends, you’d do anything for a friend, wouldn’t you?”

“Obey!”

“Work!”

Suddenly the phone rang.

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George picked it up. It was one of the Fascinators.

“Hello,” it squawked. “This is your control, Chief of Police Robinson. You are an old man, George Nada. Tomorrow morning at eight o’clock, your heart will stop. Please repeat.”

“I am an old man,” said George. “Tomorrow morning at eight o’clock, my heart will stop.”

The control hung up

“No, it wont,” whispered George. He wondered why they wanted him dead. Did they suspect that he was awake? Probably. Someone might have spotted him, noticed that he didn’t respond the way the others did. If George were alive at one minute after eight tomorrow morning, then they would be sure.

“No use waiting here for the end,” he thought.

He went out again. The posters, the TV, the occasional commands from passing aliens did not seem to have absolute power over him, though he still felt strongly tempted to obey, to see things the way his master wanted him to see them. He passed an alley and stopped. One of the aliens was alone there, leaning against the wall. George walked up to him.

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“Move on,” grunted the thing, focusing his deadly eyes on George.

George felt his grasp on awareness waver. For a moment the reptilian head dissolved into the face of a lovable old drunk. Of course the drunk would be lovable. George picked up a brick and smashed it down on the old drunk’s head with all his strength.

Reel Future page 374
Ray Faraday Nelson wrote:
For a moment the image blurred, then the blue-green blood oozed out of the face and the lizard fell, twitching and writhing. After a moment it was dead.

George dragged the body into the shadows and searched it. There was a tiny radio in its pocket and a curiously shaped knife and fork in another. The tiny radio said something in an incomprehensible language. George put it down beside the body, but kept the eating utensils.

“I can’t possibly escape,” thought George. “Why fight them?”

But maybe he could.

What if he could awaken others? That might be worth a try.

He walked twelve blocks to the apartment of his girl friend, Lil, and knocked on her door. She came to the door in her bathrobe.

“I want you to wake up,” he said

“I’m awake,” she said. “Come on in.”

He went in. The TV was playing. He turned it off.

“No,” he said. “I mean really wake up.” She looked at him without comprehension, so he snapped his fingers and shouted, “Wake up! The masters command that you wake up!”

“Are you off your rocker, George?” she asked suspiciously. “You sure are acting funny.” He slapped her face. “Cut that out!” she cried, “What the hell are you up to anyway?”

“Nothing,” said George, defeated. “I was just kidding around.”

“Slapping my face wasn’t just kidding around!” she cried.

There was a knock at the door.

George opened it.

It was one of the aliens.

“Can’t you keep the noise down to a dull roar?” it said.

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The eyes and reptilian flesh faded a little and George saw the flickering image of a fat middle-aged man in shirtsleeves. It was still a man when George slashed its throat with the eating knife, but it was an alien before it hit the floor. He dragged it into the apartment and kicked the door shut. “What do you see there?” he asked Lil, pointing to the many-eyed snake thing on the floor.

“Mister…Mister Coney,” she whispered, her eyes wide with horror. “You…just killed him, like it was nothing at all.”

“Don’t scream,” warned George, advancing on her.

“I won’t George. I swear I won’t, only please, for the love of God, put down that knife.” She backed away until she had her shoulder blades pressed to the wall.

George saw that it was no use.

Reel Future page 375
Ray Faraday Nelson wrote:

“I’m going to tie you up,” said George. “First tell me which room Mister Coney lived in.”

“The first door on your left as you go toward the stairs,” she said. “Georgie…Georgie. Don’t torture me. If you’re going to kill me, do it clean. Please, Georgie, please.”

He tied her up with bedsheets and gagged her, then searched the body of the Fascinator. There was another one of the little radios that talked a foreign language, another set of eating utensils, and nothing else.

George went next door.

When he knocked, one of the snake-things answered, “Who is it?”

“Friend of Mister Coney. I wanna see him,” said George.

“He went out for a second, but he’ll be right back.” The door opened a crack, and four yellow eyes peeped out. “You wanna come in and wait?”

“Okay,” said George, not looking at the eyes.

“You alone here?” he asked as it closed the door, its back to George.

“Yeah, why?”

He slit its throat from behind, then searched the apartment.

He found human bones and skulls, a half-eaten hand.

He found tanks with huge fat slugs floating in them.

“The children,” he thought, and killed them all.

There were guns too, of a sort he had never seen before. He discharged one by accident, but fortunately it was noiseless. It seemed to fire little poisoned darts.

He pocketed the gun and as many boxes of darts he could and went back to Lil’s place. When she saw him she writhed in helpless terror.

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“Relax, honey” he said, opening her purse, “I just want to borrow your car keys.”

He took the keys and went downstairs to the street.

Her care was still parked in the same general area in which she always parked it. He recognized it by the dent in the right fender. He got in, started it, and began driving aimlessly. He drove for hours, thinking–desperately searching for some way out. He turned on the car radio to see if he could get some music, but there was nothing but news and it was all about him, George Nada, the homicidal maniac. The announcer was one of the masters, but he sounded a little scared. Why should he be? What could one man do?

George wasn’t surprised when he saw the road block, and he turned off on a side street before he reached it. No little trip to the country for you, Georgie boy, he thought to himself.

They had just discovered what he had done back at Lil’s place, so they would probably be looking for Lil’s car. He parked it in an alley and took the subway.

Reel Future page 376
Ray Faraday Nelson wrote:
There were no aliens on the subway, for some reason. Maybe they were too good for such things, or maybe it was just because it was so late at night.

When one finally did get on, George got off.

He went up to the street and went into a bar. One of the Fascinators was on the TV, saying over and over again, “We are your friends. We are your friends. We are your friends.” The stupid lizard sounded scared. Why? What could one man do against all of them?

George ordered a beer, the it suddenly struck him that the Fascinator on the TV no longer seemed to have any power over him. He looked at it again and thought, “It has to believe it can master me to do it. The slightest hint of fear on its part and the power to hypnotize is lost.” They flashed George’s picture on the TV screen and George retreated to the phone booth. He called his control, the Chief of Police.

“Hello, Robinson?” he asked.

“Speaking.”

“This is George Nada. I’ve figured out how to wake people up.”

“What? George, hang on. Where are you?” Robinson sounded almost hysterical.

He hung up and paid and left the bar. They would probably trace his call.

He caught another subway and went downtown.

It was dawn when he entered the building housing the biggest of the city’s TV studios. He consulted the building director and then went up in the elevator. The cop in front of the studio recognized him. “Why, you’re Nada!” he gasped.

George didn’t like to shoot him with the poison dart gun, but he had to.

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He had to kill several more before he got into the studio itself, including all the engineers on duty. There were a lot of police sirens outside, excited shouts, and running footsteps on the stairs. The alien was sitting before the the TV camera saying, “We are your friends. We are your friends,” and didn’t see George come in. When George shot him with the needle gun he simply stopped in mid-sentence and sat there, dead. George stood near him and said, imitating the alien croak, “Wake up. Wake up. See us as we are and kill us!”

It was George’s voice the city heard that morning, but it was the Fascinator’s image, and the city did awake for the very first time and the war began.

George did not live to see the victory that finally came. He died of a heart attack at exactly eight o’clock.

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...

So, there you have the whole thing. Nelson packs a lot into 4½ pages. He manages to create images of a world different from ours, yet derived from it. He makes it clear that George Nada is very different from everyone else. He allows Nada to act brashly.

And then the story ends very soon afterward.

The film to be made from the story would change the flow, but not the basic idea of the story.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
A hero who fights against human oppression by an alien race of overlords! Not to mention: an alien race of overlords! Conspiracies!

What other attribute does it need?

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The visualization of the story didn't begin with Carpenter's film, though. Remember Nelson's comic adaptation? A tumbler poster claims that Carpenter read the comic and decided to make a movie from that. Not that John Carpenter restricted himself to what was in the short story or the comic adaptation when he further adapted the idea for the movie They Live in 1988.

By 1986 the idea of alien invasion by reptilian creatures had been severely overworked. Nelson's comic book adaptation made from the short story doesn't use the same visual for the aliens that his original 1963 short story does. The 1988 John Carpenter movie does something that is probably easier to accomplish for makeup on balance, but even creepier!

There are several links to the comic, below.


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Ray Nelson. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Nelson began his career writing and creating cartoons for science fiction fanzines. Later Nelson wrote many professionally published short stories including "Turn Off the Sky" and "Nightfall on the Dead Sea". His best known story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (November 1963)."

Eight O’Clock in the Morning by Ray Nelson. whale.to. Full text of story in html.

CARTOONISM: Ray Nelson on his life as a cartoonist. raynelson.com. "Then the attack begins. Your parents, your teachers, your psychotherapists (if you can afford them) begin the lifelong struggle to cure you of being you. Eventually your classmates enlist on the enemy side."

They Live by John Carpenter & Nada comic by Ray Nelson. sanjindumisic.com posted Monday, November 24, 2014. This contains a 7-page comic of the story, called "Nada", and full text of the original short story.

Nada comic. bio-lol-ogy on tumblr.com. January 9, 2012 "Bill Wray did a comic book adaptation of Eight O'Clock in the Morning for the April 1996 issue of Alien Encounters (Eclipse Comics) that John Carpenter read and ended up liking enough to buy the rights to make They Live." Obviously, the author means April 1986 issue.

Nada. SAPcomics.blogspot.com. "by Ray Nelson and Bill Wray Originally published in Alien Encounters [ Eclipse Comics ]"


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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:30 am
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Post Re: The Future Unreels...

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“Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Faraday Nelson (1963) pgs 372-376 – filmed as They Live in 1988
PART TWO

It took me a long time to get around to watching this movie. The trailer looked interesting in 1988, but I was too busy producing videos to watch the film. And then it became available on VHS tapes, but I still didn't have time to watch it. When it came out on DVD I was too cash-strapped to buy a copy, or to join Netflix. By the time I got where I could buy it if I wanted it, I thought I'd wait for a Blu-ray release, and then the notion of this thread came up, and I requested it from the Flix.

As I was preparing this analysis, Roddy Piper, the star of the film, died in his sleep at age 61. This happened on 2 August 2015.

Who made it into a Film?
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Who hasn't heard of the man who directed this movie? His name is legendary. He has never had a very large budget. For example, the estimated budget for this movie is $4,000,000. I've wondered if his films are good because he is budget-strapped and has to be imaginative, or if he would be stupendous given a $100,000,000 fund for making a movie.

John Carpenter made movies before I heard of him, but when I first heard of him it was because of Halloween (1977). That was the first of his films that I saw. I was among a group of film students, all at or nearly 30 years old, watching a boot-legged VHS copy of the film. Panned and scanned, so that we didn't see his real intention in terms of framing. But the power of the story was there. The tricks that he had used to contrive the telling were all open to our inquisitive powers of observation, and we learned "just how much you can get away with when making a film." Our words.

They Live is Carpenter's 13th feature film. It falls six years after The Thing (1982), and eight years before Escape From L.A. (1996). Carpenter has 21 directorial credits, 41 writing credits, and 26 soundtrack credits (the bulk of which come from his most famous composition: the theme from Halloween (1978)). His 16 Actor credits include some cameos, and in They Live, the voice that says "Sleep."

How did it turn out?
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Netflix calls it "this consumer culture parody," but of course they mean "satire" not parody. It doesn't skew scenes from other films, which is required for a movie to be a parody. The film is kind of quirky, but being a product of John Carpenter's mind it has plenty of fist fighting and gunplay. There is an occasional betrayal, and the usual tropes to keep the story moving along. For the most part it moves at a good clip.

It is humorous all the way through, although nothing will make you laugh out loud, except the fist fight between nameless Nada and Frank, maybe.

Someone wrote a very detailed plot outline and posted it at Wikipedia, so once again I'm going to turn to that for the synopsis in this case. Behind the spoiler tags, naturally. Keep in mind as you read that Nada, Piper's character, is never referred to by his name in the film. Only in the credits at the end.

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Wikipedia wrote:
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An unemployed drifter referred to as Nada (Roddy Piper) finds construction work in Los Angeles, and befriends fellow construction worker Frank Armitage (Keith David), who leads him to a local shantytown soup kitchen. There, Nada notices strange activity around the church; a blind preacher (Raymond St. Jacques) loudly chastising others to wake up, a police helicopter scouts them overhead, and a drifter (George Buck Flower) complains that his TV signal is continually interrupted by a man warning everyone about those in power. Nada discovers the nearby church is a front: the choir is actually an audio recording and the building is filled with scientific equipment and cardboard boxes. Nada finds a box hidden in the wall, but escapes when the preacher catches him. At night, the police attack and bulldoze the shantytown. Nada returns in the morning to find the church empty, but with the hidden box still there. In an alley, he opens the box and finds dozens of sunglasses. Taking one, he hides the box of remaining sunglasses in a garbage can.

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Nada discovers the sunglasses are special. After putting on a pair, he sees the world in black and white and discovers it is not what it seems. Media and advertising hide constant subliminal totalitarian commands to obey and conform. Many of those with wealth and authority are actually humanoid aliens with skull-like faces. In a grocery store, Nada confronts an alien woman, who then speaks into her wristwatch notifying others about him. Two alien police officers try to apprehend Nada but he kills them, taking their guns. He goes on a shooting spree, killing several aliens that he encounters in a nearby bank. He sees one vanish using its wristwatch. Nada escapes, destroying a small, flying saucer-like alien surveillance drone and taking a Cable 54 assistant director, Holly Thompson (Meg Foster), hostage. At her hill-top home, Nada tries to convince her of the truth. He also begins suffering migraine headaches from using the glasses. Holly does not believe him. Catching him unaware, Holly knocks him through a window and calls the police. Nada tumbles down a steep hillside and escapes, leaving his belongings behind.

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Now a fugitive, Nada returns to the alley where he finds the garbage can that he hid the other glasses in empty. He sees and enters a nearby garbage truck, where he discovers and saves the box. Frank meets him to give him his paycheck and tells Nada (now considered a wanted man) to stay away. Nada fights with Frank in a long fistfight, trying to force him to put on a pair of sunglasses. Finally, Nada holds Frank down and puts them on him and he sees the truth. The two rent a hotel room to discuss their predicament. Gilbert (Peter Jason), a member of the shantytown, discovers them and notifies them about a secret meeting with other activists.

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There, Nada and Frank are given special contact lenses to replace their sunglasses. They learn from the bearded man's broadcast that the aliens control Earth as their third world, depleting its resources and causing global warming before moving on to other planets. The aliens use a subliminal signal broadcast into people's brains to camouflage themselves. Destroying its source will allow everyone on Earth to see their true form. Frank is given an alien wristwatch which functions as a complex radio and teleportation device. Holly appears, apparently joining the cause before apologizing to Nada. However, the police suddenly attack the meeting, killing anyone in sight while Nada and Frank are cornered in an alley after fighting their way out. Frank accidentally opens a temporary portal by throwing the watch, through which the two jump into a network of underground passages.

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The two find the aliens in a grand hall celebrating with their elite human collaborators. The homeless drifter from earlier, now a well-dressed collaborator, believes the two to be collaborators as well. He takes them on a tour of the passages, revealed to link the alien society, including a space travel port. A further passage leads to the basement of Cable 54 station, the source of the aliens' signal. The two then launch an attack through the building to find the broadcaster on the roof, before meeting Holly and taking her along. As Nada climbs to the signal broadcaster disguised as a satellite dish, Holly kills Frank. Finally revealing herself to be a collaborator, Holly takes aim at Nada and persuades him to stop as an alien police helicopter hovers overhead. Nada complies by dropping his weapon, but then retrieves a hidden pistol from his sleeve and kills her. He then shoots and destroys the broadcaster before being fatally wounded by the aliens in their helicopter. Before he dies, Nada gives them the finger as his last gesture now that he scored the final victory over the aliens. With the signal destroyed, humans all over the world are shown discovering the aliens in their midst on television, in a bar, and in a comical final shot one woman finds the man she is having sex with is actually an alien.

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There are glasses involved that allow humans to see the aliens as they are through "Hoffman lenses" which appear to be merely sunglasses. At the end of the movie there is a new development: contact lens versions of the Hoffman lens.

Was there a remake?
To date no one has remade "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" by its own title, or as They Live. There were rumors a few years back that Matt Reeves was going to adapt the story under its original title. But there is no current information saying the project still floats.

You Can Watch It.
The movie is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and it can be downloaded from iTunes, you can rent the DVD from Netflix. Your library may have it. And of course the ever-present bit torrents might have it stashed away somewhere. Excerpts are posted on YouTube. Amazon Instant streams it for a fee. You'll enjoy it if you take the time. You probably will be satisfied with a single viewing.


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They Live. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The more political elements of the film are derived from Carpenter's growing distaste with the ever-increasing commercialization of 1980s popular culture and politics. He remarked, 'I began watching TV again. I quickly realized that everything we see is designed to sell us something... It's all about wanting us to buy something. The only thing they want to do is take our money.'"

They Live (1988). IMDb. "A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth."

“Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson. marissavu.com Posted on March 9, 2012 by marissa. "Word on the web is that Cloverfield director Matt Reeves is to write and direct a film adaptation. I approve! There’s an earlier adaptation called They Live (1988), which I haven’t seen because I am a terrible person, but I intend to find this and upgrade myself soon."

There were rumours of a remake a few years ago:
Matt Reeves To Write/Direct Universal Thriller Based On Famed Sci-Fi Short Story. Deadline Hollywood.com. Posted by Mike Fleming Jr April 11, 2011 12:08pm "Reeves said he will begin writing immediately. I asked him about a Cloverfield sequel and, while Reeves said it’s still on the drawing board, his collaborators have been busy."

Matt Reeves to Write/Direct Thriller Based on Sci-fi Short Story 8 O’Clock in the Morning. Filmofilia By Nick Martin Apr 12, 2011. "Reeves will be writing his script based on the story and will be ditching the plot element where special glasses reveal the identity of aliens who are hiding as humans."

Eight O’Clock In The Morning. wordsandpicturesonline.com Posted on June 15th, 2009. Copyright 2009 Jamie Lirette & Graham Mutch. A 2-panel comic inspired by the movie.

John Carpenter Will Release ‘Lost Themes’ Album Of New Music In February. geeksofdoom.com. By BAADASSSSS! November 3rd, 2014 at 6:00 pm "John Carpenter is pushing 70 and, sadly, he doesn’t direct very much anymore. At this rate he may possibly never direct another film. But early next year he’ll be able to satisfy one of the greatest cravings of his massive fan base when John Carpenter’s Lost Themes is released from the indie record label Sacred Bones."


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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:31 am
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They Live part two is now posted.

We turn to Philip K. Dick for the next tale in Reel Future.

This one is a short story, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, and was made twice as films with the title Total Recall. The second film is different, and possibly inferior. It follows the original print story somewhat more closely, but changes up a lot more than the Paul Verhoven film does, on balance.

You can possibly find the story on line, you can certainly find it in a bound condition in your local library. It's 19 pages in Reel Future.

It will be 3-4 weeks before the scheduled appearance of the first post, but if I get things going faster I'll go ahead and post it for your perusal.

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:42 am
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Well, I got impatient about waiting three weeks to post the next comparison. There's no Remake Rematch in progress right now, and I got itchy to move ahead with this thread.

So I'll post at least the first part of "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale"/Total Recall now, and might get the rest of it up before midnight. Who can say?

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:17 am
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“We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick (1966) pgs 377-395 – filmed as Total Recall in 1990, and Total Recall in 2012
PART ONE

Philip K. Dick wrote very strange stories. Very strange. With really fabulous titles! His sense of place and reality, of sequential events and surrealism always merge together into something that stimulates the imagination, but his words often confuse you at the same time. If the tale is straight-forward (The Man in the High Castle) then the environment is very odd (Japan and Germany have won WWII and the US is divided and occupied by their military forces). This naturally elevated him to cult status.

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Often his stories are lodged somewhere between those extremes, and everything is odd. The plot is odd, the language used is a bit quirky and the environment being reported on is uncertain. “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” fits into that group. Translating a print story with gaps of logic and juxtapositions that leave your head whirling into a film that does the same, is not easy. The tendency is to make the movie script more linear, and have it make more sense than the print story does. That happens to “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” as it is adapted into Total Recall. And there is a practical, cognitive reason for this practice: when you're reading a story, if something doesn't gel in your mind, you can skip your eyes back up the page, or scroll backward in your ebook, to re-read what has left you confused. Any audiovisual presentation sort of runs along, and backing up to repeat something confusing can take a lot of time and much manipulation of media. Oh, it is also impossible if your are watching in a theater, or via broadcast. So straightforward works a bit better in a film. However, that discards some of the flavor of the writing.

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The Original Story.
Philip Dick's story is not as rangy as either of the films inspired by it, but you can pile in a lot of your own details in the gaps he leaves.

Philip K. Dick wrote:
Taking a deep breath of mildly smog-infested Chicago air, he walked through the dazzling polychromatic shimmer of the doorway and up to the receptionist's counter.

The nicely-articulated blonde at the counter, bare-bosomed and tidy, said pleasantly, "Good morning, Mr. Quail."

"Yes," he said. "I'm here to see about a Rekal course. As I guess you know."

"Not 'rekal' but recall," the receptionist corrected him. She picked up the receiver of the vidphone by her smooth elbow and said into it, "Mr. Douglas Quail is here, Mr. McClane. May he come inside now? Or is it too soon?"

"Giz wetwa wum-wum wump," the phone mumbled.

"Yes, Mr. Quail," she said. "You may go on in; Mr. McClane is expecting you." As he started off uncertainly she called after him, "Room D, Mr. Quail. To your right."

This scene is in the film, but the receptionist is not bare-breasted. We learn later in the story that her breasts are dyed, or painted, blue on this day. Later on she has a different color applied to them (which might have led to the instant nail-color scene in the 1990 film).

The Interplan Police keep track of Quail in a very high-tech manner:
Philip K. Dick wrote:
He turned instinctively without raising his hands.

The man who faced him wore the plum uniform of the Interplan Police Agency, and his gun appeared to be UN issue. And, for some odd reason, he seemed familiar to Quail; familiar in a blurred, distorted fashion which he could not pin down. So, jerkily, he raised his hands.

"You remember," the policeman said, "your trip to Mars. We know all your actions today and all your thoughts--in particular your very important thoughts on the trip home from Rekal, Incorporated." He explained, "We have a telep-transmitter wired within your skull; it keeps us constantly informed"

Here is another (very brief) borrowed Wikipedia plot synopsis for the short story.
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Someone at Wikipedia wrote:
Douglas Quail, a simple and ordinary clerk, wishes to visit Mars. Unable to afford it, he visits a company, REKAL (pronounced "recall") Incorporated, which promises to implant an "extra-factual memory" of a trip to Mars as a secret agent. The procedure involves administration of narkidrine, a sedative and truth drug, which causes Quail to remember and reveal that he actually did go to Mars as a secret government agent. His conscious memories of the trip have been erased, but his initial desire to sign up for the trip cannot be removed. The REKAL staff quickly get Quail out of their office without implanting anything, but his real memories are now returning slowly. At home, he finds physical evidence to support his trip but also remembers that he attended REKAL. This conflict causes him to angrily return for a refund, which he is given.

When two police officers show up to kill him, Quail discovers that his former handlers have been reading his thoughts by means of an implanted device that was used to communicate with him during his mission on Mars. As more memories return, he realizes that he was an assassin for the government, but also remembers how to disarm the cops and escape. Since he can be tracked by the device, this cannot last for long. He thus makes a deal for the memory of his Mars mission to be replaced by a false memory of his deepest fantasy as analyzed by psychiatrists, in order to prevent any further desires to visit REKAL. He is sent back to REKAL for the procedure, but under the narkidrine, he reveals that the memories they are about to implant are real – that aliens visited him when he was nine and were so touched by his kindness and compassion that they decided to postpone their invasion until his death. By simply remaining alive, he is the most important person on Earth, and the government is now unable to kill him.

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Quail's adventure is restricted to Chicago, and the contemporary time of the story. He does have at least one previously covered-up memory, but there is an additional complication in the story that wasn't picked up in the film.

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Why it wants to be in Cinema.

A secret agent is always a fairly good bet for the protagonist of a movie. At least film history would suggest that. And this one is interplanetary, so there is the possibility of space travel (despite the fact that neither movie made from the story shows any space travel).

And the short story is an examination of what it means to be yourself, even though that is never explicitly stated in the story. The premise tacitly asks whether we are our memories, or if we are something else. If you implant memories into my mind, is it the same as if I had been there done that...to me? This was a Cold War concern because of the shibboleth of "brainwashing" that ate its way through the popular press and the common conscience in those days like a worm penetrating a fat, juicy apple.

There are many changes between the short story and the film screenplay. As hinted above, there is plenty of room, and there are even some suggestions that lead to the changes made. But a lot is simply added, and the entire plot is reorganized so that we go to Mars with Quail.

I wonder what a film of the original short story would have been like. Probably very much like an episode of The Twilight Zone, although the 1990 film has a suspensive ending that is more worthy of the TV program than the original print ending.


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Dick_Wholesale.pdf. english.upenn.edu. The full text of the story in a pdf file.

33 Sci-Fi Stories by Philip K. Dick as Free Audio Books & Free eBooks. openculture.com. Has a link to iTunes for the short story in iPad/iPhone format.

Philip K Dick :: We Can Remember It For You Wholesale :: Alternate Version :: Audiobook. YouTube.com posted by Philip K Dick on Nov 2, 2013. A well-done audiobook reading of the text of the original story. (For amusement, turn on the closed captions, which must have been generated by some automatic device. They are crazy!)

Philip K Dick :: We Can Remember It For You Wholesale :: Audiobook. YouTube.com posted by Philip K Dick on Nov 2 2013. A radio play adaptation of the story, not the original story text.

The Philip K. Dick Reader Paperback – April 1, 2001. Amazon.com. Used paperback book with 24 tales, including this story.

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "'We Can Remember It for You Wholesale' is a short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in April 1966. It features a melding of reality, false memory, and real memory."

Thread: TOTAL RECALL Comic Coming This May. FIGURES.COM forum. "Who'd have ever thought we'd be receiving a Total Recall comic book series 21 years after the movie debuted? It's kind of like Weird Science the TV series (although that was only 9 years after the fact)."

Blade Runner Philip K. Dick. gradesaver.com. "Critic John Clute calls Dick 'the first writer of genre science fiction to become an important literary figure' (Turan)."

PKD Quote For February 28, 2013. The Philip K. Dick Reading Club. Quote

Vintage Editions of Philip K. Dick's Science-Fiction Novels. The Philip K. Dick Bookshelf. at WordPress.

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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:18 am
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“We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick (1966) pgs 377-395 – filmed as Total Recall in 1990, and Total Recall in 2012
PART TWO

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This was a VHS rental from Blockbuster, and then a DVD rental from the same outfit (so I could see the parts of the image that were sliced off due to panning and scanning). Both viewings seemed overlong. There is a valiant effort by Ronald Shusett, Jon Povill and Dan O'Bannon to make the movie as action-packed as possible. They toss in ample doses of humor as well, which eases the long run time. And, it is a characteristic of Philip Dick's original short story, as well.

Recently I bought a Blu-ray that contains the movie. It was my first purchase of a copy. The disc box also contains discs for The Condemned (2007) and Replicant (2001) neither of which I am likely to watch. But it was 3 films for $7.88 US so I bit. No doubt the 1990 Total Recall is the best of the three. But knowing that film leads me to believe that the other two are also gun/punch/kick/run/chase fests!

Who made it into a Film?
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Paul Verhoeven is still directing films. He has been since 1960. His first feature film was Diary of a Hooker (1971), so the man is certainly not scared of presenting controversial topics on the screen. His most widely known films are nearly all sci-fi classics: RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Basic Instinct (1992), and Starship Troopers (1997). But he has 28 directorial credits, and I have only seen four of them (swap Hollow Man (2000) for Basic Instinct and you'll have the list). Verhoeven is also a producer, and writer, so he stays busy. At 77 he is in post-production on a film entitled Elle, slated for 2016 release.

How did it turn out?
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I really like this fun movie. But, "Inspired by" a story is not used as often as "based on" a story, and apparently means there is less of a connection between the source story and the one in the movie. In this case the inspiration mostly leads to filling in the gaps left in Philip Dick's print tale. There is a lot of room there to let the imagination run freely, so Ronald Shusett, Jon Povill and Dan O'Bannon do just that. It took 20 years and many drafts to get the script ready. Meanwhile, Hollywood special effects began closing in on the ability to crystallize the ideas that would have to be shown on the screen.

A bit too much of the gap space is filled up with automatic weapon fire, but as the film progresses you begin to get the idea that it may be a parody of other action films. The amount of gun play gets to be silly; overwrought; shameless; and then at last just dumb. That's a possible sign that it's meant as comic, not as cool.

The film kept me entertained, but I didn't really like it until I saw the wide-screen photography from a DVD. Jost Vacano's cinematography is an eyeful. The sets sometimes seem too confined, but then you remember that most of the film is set on Mars, where people live in enclaves protected from the vacuum of the outside. They live inside mountains! That' s rather confined. The best look is from the restored Blu-ray version, of course.

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One aspect of Philip Dick stories and the movies made from them is that the plot points don't necessarily "follow" one another, which makes it possible for you to remember what you have read or seen, out of order upon reflection. Indeed, without using traditional flashback techniques, Dick places flashbacks into dialog or inward thoughts by the characters. One of the sources below asserts that there is only one Philip K. Dick story that was not hugely changed when it became a film: A Scanner Darkly (2006).

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Someone wrote on the IMDb trivia page for the 1990 movie that "This was one of the last major Hollywood blockbusters to make large-scale use of miniature effects as opposed to CGI." They also point out that early CGI was used for certain effects in the film. A lot of animatronics appear in the movie. There are mixed creature and makeup effects. Rob Bottin's effects crew created these. Remember that he was instrumental in the same area for The Thing (1982). These days he does makeup for Game of Thrones.

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Some of the ideas in the film are inspired by the short story, but they're given a special twist by the writers. For example, Quail in the story takes a robot taxi.
Philip K. Dick wrote:
Where'd I get this? he asked himself Didn't I spend every 'cred I had on my trip?

With the money came a slip of paper marked: one-half fee ret'd. By McClane. And then the date. Today's date.

"Recall," he said aloud.

"Recall what, sir or madame?" the robot driver of the cab inquired respectfully.

"Do you have a phone book?" Quail demanded.

"Certainly, sir or madame." A slot opened; from it slid a microtape phone book for Cook County.
This becomes the Johnny Cab in the film.

The writers keep many ideas from the short story, and a few plot points. Most other plot points are more or less suggested by the story, even if only in a toss-away description. I think they really tried to honor the author's story, but as I wrote in the Part One post: there isn't enough in it to fill out more than a Twilight Zone episode, or maybe one for The Outer Limits. It needed something else in order to be a 90 minute film, certainly in order to expand to nearly two hours.

Jerry Goldsmith's music for the film is mostly forgettable, except for one very sweet romantic theme. Goldsmith considered the score one of his best. I must be missing something.

Was there a remake?

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Yes. The story was remade in 2012 under the same title as the first film, directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld). But Mars drops out of the remake. There are two populated areas on a post-chemical warfare earth, and people commute through the center of the earth each day via The Fall, a transportation system. There is the British Federal Union (GB and Europe) and The Colony (Australia). No other part of the earth is habitable.

When Quail goes to Rekall half the gadgets are virtual: touch pads, and even components that exist only as light hanging in the air. It is quite different from the Verhoeven film. I didn't find it to be as engaging. It seems much longer than the other film, and even the Verhoeven seems a bit bloated.

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The 2012 film has many paeans to the production design and plot of the first film. Both feature beauties with three breasts, for example. The central design of the Rekall machinery is a disc behind the patient's head. Quail is being tracked using a device embedded within his body (in 1990 it was a transponder in his brain, in 2012 a cell phone embedded in his hand). Many of the set pieces from 1990 are transformed for this movie. But if you watch them back-to-back, or have a terrifically detailed memory for the 1990 film as you watch 2012, you can see the picked up bits.

The reproducers increase the number of bullets fired, the number of car and foot chases, the number of fistfights. They also use more screen time for each incident. If a 1:30 scene would get the point across nicely, they use 4:00 and it seems like 10:00. I don't hate this movie at all. I simply don't find much to love in it.

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On balance the film did not get much praise from critics. I would have to agree that it has some impressive set pieces and the CGI is amazing...but the story is half-assed and unsatisfying. There is nothing of the humor that Verhoeven peppers through his take on the story. (Sometimes humor is all that can save an action film. It has made the 1990 film a classic.) The 2012 remake is a waste of time and money in the opinions of some. Why? There is nothing in it to relieve the tedium of "seriousness" and let you breathe (or wake up). The film is carefully, even assiduously cleaned of anything that might be correctly interpreted as a joke, or even things that might be misinterpreted as a joke.

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The 2012 film is more or less boring, despite all the action scenes. But if you love the things that they decided to feature in it, you'll probably have a good time. And I don't want to have a beer with you. We'd not have much to talk about. Well, we could talk about the sequences featuring all the mag-lev vehicles. Those are pretty cool. Thanks, Patrick Tatopoulos!

There is very little plot. It doesn't seem worth timing segments to test my theory that either 2/3 or 3/4 of the film is overly-long fight sequences. If you like those, or desire to look at the imagery, you may not be entirely disappointed if you decide to watch the remake. It's your choice. But if you're only in it for the production design, save time, and Google images from the film. It will take you less time to see how it looks, that way.

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Clearly, modern films are being transformed by international distribution. The more fight footage there is, the less dialog there is. Less to subtitle or to dub. The less humor there is (humor aside from slapstick is linguistic, and difficult to translate) the easier it is to market it internationally as well. The film made about $59 million in the US, and another roughly $140 million in the international market. It's practically gutted of anything but fight scenes. It has gorgeous production design, but in service to no story.



You Can Watch It.

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Both films are available on DVD and Blu-ray. They stream from various sources, and are available as digital downloads. I have Blu of the Verhoven. I haven't bothered to buy the 2012 movie.


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Sources of information, and of images.

Biggest Box Office Hits and Misses of Summer 2012. Charlie Jane Anders on io9.com. 8/13/12 12:13pm "Total Recall. It only just came out a couple weekends ago, but after a really weak opening weekend gross, people are already calling this a pretty massive flop. It also dropped a pretty tragic 69 percent in its second weekend, and doesn't appear to be having the kind of overseas box office that would save it."

Total Recall. Box Office Mojo. "All Time Domestic Rank = 453"

Total Recall (1990 film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Total Recall debuted at number one at the box office. The film grossed $261,299,840 worldwide, a box office success. Critical reaction to Total Recall has been mostly positive. It currently holds an 84% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 51 reviews. Metacritic rated it 57 out of 100 based on 17 reviews." Find a plot synopsis of the 1990 movie in this article.

Total Recall (2012). Box Office Mojo. "All Time Domestic Rank = 1,216"

Total Recall (2012 film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Total Recall was released on August 3, 2012, and opened in 3,601 theaters in the United States, grossing $9,092,341 on its opening day and $25,577,758 on its opening weekend, ranking #2 with a per theater average of $7,220. The film performed poorly domestically with only $58,877,969 but made a strong $139,589,199 outside of the United States for a total of $198,467,168 against a $125 million budget." Find a plot synopsis of the 2012 movie in this article.

Philip K. Dick's Messy, Mindbending Cinematic Legacy. theatlantic.com. Scott Meslow Aug 2, 2012. "'We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,' the Philip K. Dick short story that inspired both Arnold Schwarzenegger's and Colin Farrell's Total Recall films, opens with a short, clean sentiment: 'He awoke—and wanted Mars.' Moviegoers who want Mars, which served as the setting for 1990's blockbuster adaptation of the same story, should stick with Schwarzenegger. As with Philip K. Dick's original short story, there are no trips to Mars to be found in the Total Recall that opens Friday."

Hollywood remake flops: Is the cast or the content to blame?. By Hollie McKayPublished August 09, 2012 FoxNews.com. "So are audiences simply sick of the film industry’s mounting obsession with making all that is old new again – and thus vying for some original storylines? Is the prominent theory that studios are now hesitant to take risks of new material and instead out to capitalize on pre-established fan bases starting to look flawed?"

50 behind the scenes photos and a poster gallery from the original Robocop. deep fried movies February 12, 2014 by mattmulcahey.

My 25 Favorite Fango Covers. shitmoviefest.blogspot.com Monday, January 30, 2012. "I began my love affair with Fangoria back in the early 90s. The barbershop I used to get my hair cut at always had them lying around along with copies of Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and Playboy.

GUEST STRIP – WILSON PARKER. Theater Hopper by Tom Brazelton. by Tom on August 8, 2012 at 8:26 am. "I also think Wilson hit on a universal truth about the three-breasted prostitute scene from the original Total Recall. If you're not going to at least try to improve on the original, what's the point?"

production still. moviestillsdb.com.

Pervert Trailers. we-make-money-not-art.com By Regine on February 28, 2012 5:15 PM. Total Recall in production in Toronto.

The Philip K. Dick Movie Report Card. tor.com Ryan Britt Wed Aug 1, 2012 4:00pm. "Friday will see the release of a new Total Recall, which aims to erase our memories of another movie called Total Recall. Do films remember other films wholesale? Or do films dream of electric films? In either case, it remains to be seen if Total Recall is a cinematic imposter of a Philip K. Dick story or is instead just the second variety of a well-worn 90’s action movie."

First look: Total Recall 2012. borg.com July 30, 2011. "One of the reasons tens of thousands of fans flock to San Diego each year is for an advance look at the best of what’s to come in the next year. Sometimes Hollywood fulfills our expectations and sometimes it lets us down, but the advance peeks always leave you eager to see even more."

Recollections: The Making of Total Recall. September 19, 2012 at flickeringmyth.com. "'Total Recall [2012] came to us a couple of years ago and we started to brainstorm,' states Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos (Dark City) who shares a Los Angeles office with frequent collaborator and filmmaker Len Wiseman (Underworld)."

Total Recall: A Chat With Stephan Martiniere. rockpapershotgun.com By Duncan Harris on February 5th, 2014 at 9:00 pm. "Total Recall 2012’s concept art provides rare scenes in which none of the people, buildings or vehicles is played by Kate Beckinsale."


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_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:19 am
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When I was about to watch a movie my ancient mother dropped by the door of my office to say that she was going back to bed for a nap, having not gotten much sleep last night.

Well, her bedroom is next to my office, so I couldn't have the rumble of sub-woofing keeping her awake, could I?

What kind of a son would I be if I did that?

Looked around to find something to occupy my time, and wound up returning to the desk to create graphics for Part Two of the Total Recall post. So, it's done.

The next comparison will be about Damnation Alley 1967/Damnation Alley (1977). The novella is by Roger Zelazny, who later expanded it to novel length. The film is directed by Jack Smight, who should have known better.

I'll post it whenever I get it ready, but by no more than three weeks from today.

It is interesting to note that the 1976 novel Deus Irae is co-written by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny. Two authors featured back-to-back in Reel Future.

_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:16 am
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“Damnation Alley” by Roger Zelazny (1967) pgs 396-471 – filmed as Damnation Alley in 1977
PART ONE

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I bought some of Roger Zelazny's science fiction work when I was young. Actually, I bought a paperback of This Immortal (which was earlier published in serial form as ...And Call Me Conrad. I never read it. But his name is very familiar to anyone who was a follower of sci-fi in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Although the tome is probably still around somewhere, I couldn't find it if my life depended on it. I also bought Nebula Award Stories Three in paperback, which Zelazny edited. I did read that one.

The Original Story.
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I remember reading that Damnation Alley was being made into a movie, but I was already a working guy by then and didn't have much time to go to the movies. Or to read books. I was too busy trying to write my own books in my off time. And then I changed jobs. And got married and so on and so forth.

So my first reading of Damnation Alley was in preparation for this thread. Reel Future contains the 1967 novella, which was later expanded into a novel. It is a bizarre story, there is little to no scientific basis for anything that happens in it. The tale is pretty much a rote, hackneyed post-apocalypse story that someone, somewhere must love beyond measure.

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It is fun to read, but don't go into it expecting it to make any sense. Part of the idea is that the world itself no longer makes any sense. There is mostly nothing that humans have evolved to recognize that still works or exists in the post-apocalypse world of the novella. Yet reading it is fun, and won't break your brain, and sometimes that's all you're looking for.

As I was reading the novella last year I kept wondering if Zelazny intended this to be taken as absurdism in print. It isn't clear. What is clear is that he must have been having pretty much unadulterated commercial fun when writing the story. Usually he makes some important points. This novel is not devoid of the man's usual literary touches, but it is pretty much so. The term "potboiler" refers to a prose piece written only to make money, so also applies to a film made for the same reason. I think each Damnation Alley is quite clearly a member of that category.

No one has written a synopsis that I can borrow, but this review by Brian Schwartz pretty much summarizes the book well and completely, in case you don't want to find and read a copy.

And I've typed up some excerpts. Some might be spoilers, but most aren't. However, they are rather long, so I put them under spoiler tags. There are also examples of cover art along with the text, and some stills of the sky special effects from the movie.
Hell was the name given to the seventh Tanner kid, a boy. And then his father left after naming him Hell. Explanation in full in the book.
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Hell Tanner speaks first, to his younger brother who is planning to make the run with him.
Roger Zelazny wrote:
"Does your girl know what you've got in mind?"

"No."

"I didn't think so. Listen, I've got to do it--it's the only way out for me. You don't have to--"

"That's for me to say."

"--so I'm going to tell you something: You drive out to Pasadena to that place where we used to play when we were kids--with the rocks and the three big trees--you know where I mean?"

"Yeah, I sure do remember."

"Go back of the big tree in the middle, on the side where I carved my initials. Step off seven steps and dig down around four feet. Got that?"

"Yeah. What's there?"

"That's my legacy, Denny. You'll find one of those old strong boxes, probably all rusted out by now. Bust it open. It'll be full of excelsior, and there'll be a six-inch joint of pipe inside. It's threaded, and there's caps on both ends. There's a little over five grand rolled up inside it, and all the bills are clean."

"Why you telling me this?"

"It's yours now," he said, and hit him in the jaw.

When Denny fell, he kicked him in the ribs three times, before the cops grabbed him and dragged him away."
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Breaking your bro's ribs is one way to keep him from being a cross-country driver on a suicide mission, isn't it?
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
Something big and bat-like swooped through the tunnel of his lights and was gone. He ignored its passage. Five minutes later it made a second pass, this time much closer, and he fired a magnesium flare. A black shape, perhaps forty feet across, was illuminated, and he gave it two five-second bursts from the fifty-calibers and it fell to the ground and did not return again.

To the squares this was Damnation Alley. To Hell Tanner this was still the parking lot. He'd been this way thirty-two times, and so far as he was concerned the Alley started in the place that was once called Colorado.

He led and they followed, and the night wore on like an abrasive.
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There are three of these cars. Zelazny describes the one Hell is riding in. The other cars have two drivers, but he beat up his co-driver, so he's alone.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
There were no windows in the vehicle, only screens which reflected views in every direction including straight up and the ground beneath the car. Tanner sat within an illuminated box which shielded him against radiation. The "car" that he drove had eight heavily traded tires and was thirty-two feet in length.


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Tanner burns some thorny bushes out of his way with a flame thrower. Lights them up and lets the whole patch burn.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
He blew his horn and rolled ahead even faster. The other vehicles kept pace.

He drove for an hour and a half before he saw the end of the ash and the beginning of clean sand up ahead.

Within five minutes, he was moving across desert once more, and he checked his compass and bore slightly to the west. Cars one and three followed, speeding up to match his new pace, and he drove with one hand and ate a corned beef sandwich.
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Okay, Zelazny borrows giant mutated animals from B-grade sci-fi flicks when he's writing this thing, so we read:
Roger Zelazny wrote:
It was a Gila, bigger than his car, and it moved in fast. It sprang from out the sheltering shade of a valley filled with cacti and it raced toward him, its beaded body bright with many colors beneath the sun, its dark, dark eyes unblinking as it bounded forward on its lizard-fast legs, sable fountains rising behind its upheld tail that was wide as a sail and pointed like a tent.

He couldn't use the rockets because it was coming in from the side.

He opened up with his fifty-calibers and spread his "wings" and stamped the accelerator to the floor. As it neared, he sent forth a cloud of fire in its direction. By then, the other cars were firing, too.

It swung its tail and opened and closed its jaws, and its blood came forth and fell upon the ground. Then a rocket struck it. It turned; it leaped.

There came a booming, crunching sound as it fell upon the vehicle identified as car number one and lay there.

Tanner hit the brakes, turned, and headed back.

Car number three came up beside it and parked. Tanner did the same.

He jumped down from the cab and crossed to the smashed car. He had the rifle in his hands and he put six rounds into the creature's head before he approached the car.
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One of the drivers is dead. Greg is merely knocked out, and he becomes Tanner's co-driver.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
Greg said, "If we don't make it, the population of the continent may be cut in half."

"If it's a question of them or me, I'd rather it was them."

"I sometimes wonder how people like you happen."

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Roger Zelazny wrote:
"What was that guy's name that brought the news about the plague?" Tanner asked.

"Brady or Brody or something like that," said Greg.

"What was it that killed him? He might have brought the plague to L.A., you know."

Greg shook his head.

"No. His car had been damaged, and he was all broken up--and he'd been exposed to radiation a lot of the way. They burnt his body and his car, and anybody who'd been anywhere near him got shots of Haffikine."

"What's that?"

"That's the stuff we're carrying--Haffikine antiserum. It's the only cure for the plague. Since we had a bout of it around twenty years ago, we've kept it on hand and maintained the facilities for making more in a hurry. Boston never did, and now they're hurting."

"Seems kind of silly for the only other nation on the continent--maybe in the world--not to take better care of itself, when they knew we'd had a dose of it."

Greg shrugged.
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They put on their infra-red goggles and look upward.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
Bats. Enormous bats cavorted overhead, swept by in dark clouds.

"There must be hundreds of them, maybe thousands..."
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Then they come grille to cloud with some gigantic tornadoes. He's in radio contact with the driver of car three.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
Tanner did not answer immediately. He stared ahead, and the tornadoes seemed to grow larger.

"They're coming this way," he finally said. "I'm not about to park here and be a target. I want to be able to maneuver. I'm going ahead through them.

"I don't think you should."

"Nobody asked you, mister, but if you've got any brains you'll do the same thing."

"I've got rockets aimed at your tail, Hell."

"You won't fire them--not for a thing like this, where I could be right and you could be wrong--and not with Greg in here, too."

There was silence within the static, then, "Okay, you win, Hell. Go ahead and we'll watch. If you make it, we'll follow. If you don't we'll stay put."

"I'll shoot a flare when I get to the other side," Tanner said. "When you see it, you do the same. "Okay?"
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They go look for car three, but there are no clues about what happened to it.
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Zelazny gives us a view into the past as Tanner muses one morning:
Roger Zelazny wrote:
It was a strange feeling that came over him as he sat there with his pardon in his pocket and his hands upon the wheel. The dust fumed at his back. The sky was the color of rosebuds, and the dark trails had shrunken once again. He recalled the stories of the days when the missiles came down, burning everything but the northeast and the southwest; the day when the winds arose and the clouds vanished and the sky had lost its blue; the days when the Panama Canal had been shattered and radios had ceased to function; the days when the planes could no longer fly.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
A monstrous herd of bison crossed before him. It took the better part of a hour before they had passed.
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They drive on and reach mid-continent one morning when Greg is driving.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
He awoke with a jolt and saw the morning spread out before him: a bright coin in the middle of a dark blue tablecloth and a row of glasses along the edge.

"That's it," said Greg. "The Missus Hip."

Tanner was suddenly very hungry.

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Eventually they arrive in Indiana.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
The grasses grew shorter, shriveled, were gone. An occasional twisted tree clung to the bare earth. The radiation level began to rise once more. The signs told him he was nearing Indianapolis, which he guessed was a big city that had received a bomb and was now gone away.

Nor was he mistaken.
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More gigantic critters:
Roger Zelazny wrote:
He'd thought at first that it was more black lines in the sky. He'd halted because they seemed to appear too suddenly.

It was a spider's web, strands thick as his arm, strung between two leaning buildings.

He switched on his forward flame and began to burn it.

When the fires died, he saw the approaching shape, coming down from high above.

It was a spider, larger than himself, rushing to check the disturbance.

He elevated the rocket launchers, took careful aim and pierced it with one white-hot missile.

It still hung there in the trembling web and seemed to be kicking.
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Greg wants to turn back, so Hell knocks him out, and when they are in Pennsylvania they find a village where they stop. Greg is under the care of a doctor. Tanner goes ahead to Boston by himself. After a run-in with a biker gang in a roadside eatery somewhere, he leaves and they come after him.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
Albany to Boston. A couple hundred miles. He'd managed the worst of it. The terrors of Damnation Alley lay largely at his back now. Night. It flowed about him. The stars seemed brighter than usual. He'd made it, the night seemed to say.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
Their first few shots had been in the nature of a warning. He couldn't risk another barrage. If only they knew....

The speaker!

He cut in and mashed the button and spoke:

"Listen, cats," he said. "All I got's medicine for the sick citizens in Boston. Let me through or you'll hear the noise."

A shot followed immediately, so he opened fire with the fifty-calibers to the rear.

He saw them fall, but they kept firing. So he launched grenades.

The firing lessened, but didn't cease.

So he hit the brakes, then the flame-throwers. He kept it up for fifteen seconds.

There was silence.

When the air cleared he studied the screens.
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He walks to a woman on the ground, killing a few men as he does.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
Everyone else was dead or dying, so Tanner picked her up in his arms and carried her back to the car. He reclined the passenger seat and put her into it, moving the weapons into the rear seat, out of her reach.

Then he gunned the engine and moved forward. In the rear view screen he saw two figures rise to their feet, then fall again.

She was a tall girl, with long, uncombed hair the color of dirt. She had a strong chin and a wide mouth and there were dark circles under her eyes. A single faint line crossed her forehead, and she had all of her teeth. The right side of her face was flushed, as if sunburnt. Her left trouser leg was torn and dirty He guessed that she'd caught the edge of his flame and fallen from her bike.

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Her name is "Corny" which is short for Cornelia. She stays with him for a while.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
When Tanner awoke, it was morning and the storm had ceased. He repaired himself to the rear of the vehicle and after that assumed the driver's seat once more.

Cornelia did not awaken as he gunned the engine to life and started up the weed-infested slope of the hillside.

The sky was light once more, and the road was strewn with rubble. Tanner wove along it, heading toward the pale sun, and after a while Cornelia stretched.

"Ungh," she said, and Tanner agreed. "My shoulders are better now," he told her.
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During a storm the car is destroyed by a crashing hail of fist-sized stones. They have to abandon the car, and take the motorcycle.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
In the morning, Tanner walked back through the mud and the fallen branches, the rocks and the dead fishes, and he opened the rear compartment and unbolted the bikes. He fueled them and checked them out and wheeled them down the ramp.

He crawled into the back of the cab then and removed the rear seat. Beneath it, in the storage compartment, was the large aluminum chest that was his cargo. It was bolted shut. He lifted it, carried it out to his bike.
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A man with a 30.06 rifle kills Corny, and Hell blows him up. He buries Cornelia and then heads on toward Boston. He is met by officers with guns outside the nation of Boston, and they arrest him for looting. He finally proves that he has the Haffikine antiserum. Oh, and he is holding onto a grenade.
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Roger Zelazny wrote:
"Stick your hands out here, boy," said the second cop, and Tanner handed him the grenade pin.

The man stared at it dumbly for several seconds, then his eyes shot to Tanner's right hand.

"God! He's got a bomb!" said the man with the gun.

Tanner smiled, then, "Shut up and listen!" he said. "Or else shoot me and we'll all go together when we go. I was trying to get to a telephone. That case on the back of my bike is full of Haffikine antiserum. I brought it from L.A."

"You didn't run the Alley on that bike!"

"No, I didn't. My car is dead somewhere between here and Albany, and so are a lot of folks who tried to stop me. Now, you better take that medicine and get it where it's supposed to go."
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But he is injured, and weak. They take him into Boston where he tosses the grenade into the river:
Roger Zelazny wrote:
They tore out onto the bridge, and the tires screeched as they halted. Tanner opened the door slowly. The driver's had already slammed shut.

He staggered, and they helped him to the railing. He sagged against it when they released him.

"I don't think I--"

Then he straightened, drew back his arm and hurled the grenade far out over the waters.

He grinned, and the explosion followed, far beneath them, and for a time the waters were troubled.
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Tanner was faking his injury to bug them. Or so he says.
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There is quite a little bit more that happens, but those are some of the story points that get the idea across. They will help you compare the book to the movie that was based on it.

Figuring that you shouldn't hear only from me, because I don't exactly go gaga for the novella, I offer links to some other reviews below.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
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If this novella didn't pre-date the movie Mad Max by 13 years, you'd swear that Zelazny had mainlined the entire series of Max films before sitting down to write. It has a certain core of machismo that we see in a lot of movies, so maybe that's it. There are huge tornadic storms and some kind of hopped up vehicle that's supposed to be able to cross the part of the country that has been destroyed, and which the residents call "Damnation Alley."

The writers, Alan Sharp and Lukas Heller, retained the ghosts of some of the ideas that are in the novella, but they shifted them in such a way that you have to be fairly familiar with the book in order to see the connections in the movie. Maybe that's clever adaptation at work, I don't know.

There is actually a human core to the novel that ought to translate well to the film world. But that's invisible. Frankly, I didn't find anything in the novella that I didn't think would look pretty goofy in a movie. But they made one. And guess how it turned out!


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Roger Zelazny. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "In his stories, Roger Zelazny frequently portrayed characters from myth, depicted in the modern world. Zelazny was also apt to include numerous anachronistic present-day elements, such as cigarette-smoking (see below) and references to various drama classics into his fantasy and science-fiction works. His crisp, minimalistic dialogue also seems to be somewhat influenced by the style of wisecracking hardboiled crime authors, such as Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett. The tension between the ancient and the modern, surreal and familiar was what drove most of his work." Only the dialog and surreal comments apply to Damnation Alley.

Damnation Alley. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The story opens in a post-apocalyptic Southern California, in a hellish world shattered by nuclear war decades before. Several police states have emerged in place of the former United States. Hurricane-force winds above five hundred feet prevent any sort of air travel from one state to the next, and sudden, violent, and unpredictable storms make day-to-day life a mini-hell." Actually, the idea is that all these things make day-to-day life a complete hell.

Damnation Alley - paperback. Amazon.com. "Hell Tanner isn't the sort of guy you'd mistake for a hero: he's a fast-driving car thief, a smuggler, and a stone-cold killer. He's also expendable - at least in the eyes of the Secretary of Traffic for the Nation of California."

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny. brianbookreviews.blogspot.com Posted by Brian Schwartz at 9:57 PM. "Damnation Alley might best be termed bubblegum science fiction. The creatures that inhabit Damnation Alley are straight out of B-movie material. The story is bereft of subplots. Hell Tanner is not a man given to flights of introspection. He has no character arc."

Roger Zelazny Book Review: Damnation Alley. Where there had been darkness...Tuesday, January 11, 2011. "It has a lot of stuff I like, but the stuff I like doesn't fit in with the broader tone of the work."

Review: Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny. kingofthenerds.wordpress.com 7 September 2010 Mike. " Damnation Alley is about as over the top as they come and the novel never flinches at the ridiculous. Giant Gila Monsters, Giant Bats, Giant Spiders, mentioned though never seen killer butterflies, and tornado dodging covers just about all the notes of craziness you’ll see over the course of this journey; typically only when briefly illuminated by a muzzle flash or flamethrower." Mike concludes that the purpose of the novel is one thing: fun. And I must agree.

Roger Zelazny Quotes. wallpaper222.com.

original cover artwork. Alan Guiterriez Art at DeviantArt.com.

Roger Zelazny cover gallery. bearalley.blogspot.com Saturday, March 29, 2014. "This covers only Zelazny's early books, although he managed to cram in 16 novels (one a collaboration) and 3 short story collections in his first 11 years."

Damnation Alley. bronzeageofblogs.blogspot.com Posted by pete doree. "I also like the section where he falls in with a God fearing, farming family and is forced to pretend to be a decent human being to get their help and continue his odyssey."

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The Future Unreels


Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:34 am
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“Damnation Alley” by Roger Zelazny (1967) pgs 396-471 – filmed as Damnation Alley in 1977
PART TWO

Who made it into a Film?
You no doubt remember that I didn't care for the other Jack Smight film that was made from a Reel Future story. The Illustrated Man was not so spiffy, as I recall. And this film seems as if it were made by...have you ever read a reviewer's comment that the people making the movie "just didn't care?" Maybe that they simply "weren't even trying?" Well, this one would slot nicely into either cliche. It seems like nobody was really trying to do quality work. Yet there is evidence to the contrary.

Smight won an Emmy in 1959. The Illustrated Man was nominated for a Hugo award, but only nominated.
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Smight's work was mostly for television until 1966, when he shifted over to mostly theatrical film work (with a few TV movies and an occasional TV episode tossed in). In 1964 he directed I'd Rather Be Rich, which IMDb says is a remake of It Started with Eve (1941). Two years later he was directing Paul Newman in Harper. He directed Newman again in The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968), so he got good projects. The Traveling Executioner (1970) got a lot of attention. By the mid-1970s he was directing very big projects: Airport 1975, Midway (1976), he was doing fairly well with box-office, so Fox handed him this huge science-fiction project for release in 1977, and 17 mil to spend on it.

Smight worked from 1949 to 1989 in the role of director. He directed 61 titles according to IMDb. Among these are three movies that I have seen: Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) a TV mini-series, as well as The Illustrated Man (1969), and Damnation Alley (1977), which are the Reel Future films.

After a few not so golden movies, Smight's career more or less ended in 1989 with The Favorite.

How did it turn out?
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This film, so I've read, was supposed to be the summer blockbuster hit of 1977. Instead, Star Wars took that prize. This film would not have changed anything about film making. Star Wars did. And just compare the special effects in this movie with those in the original Star Wars (if you can find a copy anywhere). In general it is fair to say that the worst aspect of the movie is that the special effects in Damnation Alley are, for the most part, better-done than the movie they are a part of!

YouTube supplied my viewing of this movie. I barely liked the short novel, and I had read that the film was unlike it, but not any better. The reviewers were correct. It's dull and unimaginative, twisting the weird aspects of Roger Zelazny's story into total head-scratchers. It's almost as if the producers were trying to take a hyper-violent post-apocalyptic story and turn it into family fare. It is, in fact, rated PG.

A few of the reviews I linked below point out that the opening sequence (the WWIII part) is the best-done segment of the movie. And I agree, except I don't think it is as coherent as some of them think. I will agree that the film falls apart in almost every way once we're into the "two years" into the future segment of the film.

The film is not without its well-done aspects. Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack sounds cool in places. It is partly synth and partly orchestral scoring. Some of the matte paintings or models are nicely done. There is sometimes some adequate acting from one or the other of the cast.
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Whereas the novellic Hell Tanner is taking a load of plague vaccine from the nation of California to the nation of Boston, across the ravaged entirety of the central North American Continent in order to have his prison sentence commuted, the guy called Tanner in the movie and his Air Force soldier buds are heading to Albany...because they heard automated radio signals from there and nowhere else. They're lonesome. They meet a woman, and then a boy (one reviewer, link below, points out that the theme seems to be "rebuilding the world." As the writer says, we have men, and a woman, and a kid, which is the nuclear family (that's my bad pun, not his). And they are headed for paradise in Albany.

Now, I can't say that none of the characters are well-written. Some of them are interesting. Others seem weird. Mostly, they are shallow and dull. But, overall this feels like a made-for-TV movie of the era, except that it's presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. Everything that makes the novella a page-turner is missing from this bizarre film adaptation. Nothing is shockingly presented, although people die in nuclear war, in crashes, from being eaten by insects, and are threatened with rape. Unless you know what's going on, you won't understand. For that reason, a PG rating.
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The special effects in the movie are sometimes WTF!!???!?!?, and sometimes amazingly well-coordinated to the plate. By coordinated I mean that the matted sky effects track with camera motion in the original plate. And I'm sure it wasn't shot with motion control. George Lucas was using the only camera like that that existed at the time to shoot special effects for Star Wars.

Star Wars cost about $10,000,000 while Damnation Alley clocked in at $17,000,000. I don't think actors got paid quite as well back then, so (I'm guessing) the budget for the cast was probably not even half that amount, since there are few well-known actors in either film. I think most of the cost of both pictures was for special visual effects.

This movie was slated to be released before Star Wars, but the production team wanted to have extra time to insert the sky effects. Star Wars was released in May 1977, and this film in October 1977. So, Star Wars forged a new model for cinema. This movie simply crashed and burned in theaters all across America.

Both movies are supposed to just be fun. And Damnation Alley is fun, but Star Wars is fun with a backbone. Both from Fox, released in the same year, yet such different experiences for the audience.
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In Zelazny's story Hell Tanner rides the last miles of his cross-continent odyssey on a dirt bike that has been suspended in the back of his car in case it was needed. There is also a dirt bike in the movie, but it makes its appearance very early on. I was thinking, and then in reading other reviews I realized I wasn't the only one with this thought: they keep stopping the movie to have Jan Michael Vincent ride that little dirt bike. He was the Taylor Lautner of the day, I guess...there must have been a clause in his contract specifying that he has to spend a certain number of on-screen minutes without a shirt. In this case, he has ample half-stripped footage, but he spends even more time riding lickety split on that dirt bike. Woo hoo! Even teenager Jackie Earle Haley gets into shirtless mode late in the film. Oh, it's for a ride on the back of the dirt bike (!) at the near-end of the movie.
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The film has become a cult classic in recent years. In large part because of the vehicle called the Landmaster. It was a full-scale operable vehicle built for the movie. From the novel we get the specially built trans continental car. Also from the novel we get a woman (Cornelia, late in the novel, Janice early in the film). Hell has an interaction with a boy, but doesn't take him along in the novel, while Billy becomes part of the crew halfway through the film (the boy in the story lives with his family, while Billy is a vagabond orphan). There are huge animals and an enormous spider in the novel, so the movie features giant scorpions. The tornado-like storms from the novel appear in a vapid way in the movie. They take out one of the two Landmasters in the screen story, and one of them disappears during such a storm in the novella.

Was there a remake?
Not so far. There has been talk, and there might be a guerrilla movement to get a remake done. Up until now, without success. Of course, some people insist that the Landmaster vehicle from the original movie has to be used in the film.

You Can Watch It.
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There is a complete widescreen copy on YouTube that is low resolution (640x270) but you can see it. There is a DVD available, with used copies going for about $10.00. A Blu-ray version is also out there by now for about twice that. This movie isn't worth $10.00, so you can rent it on Amazon Instant for $2.99. But the movie isn't necessarily worth $2.99 (and it costs $9.99 to buy in SD from Instant), so I opted for YouTube. There are also two YT channels that will be glad to charge you a fee to watch. I have no idea about the resolution of those, but probably higher.

You might like it. Some people do.


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Damnation Alley (film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Two years later, the Earth has been tilted off its axis by nuclear detonations of World War III; radiation has mutated insect life, the planet is wracked by massive storms, and the sky is in a perpetual aurora borealis-like state."

Damnation Alley (1977). IMDb. Rated PG

Top 10 Nuclear War Movies. Scene-Stealers by Shelby Thomas on March 30, 2010. "For a subject that was once (and still is, from time to time) so pervasive in the news media, it’s surprising to me that there aren’t more films exploring the “what if” scenarios of nuclear war. Here is my attempt to list the best of them." He places Damnation Alley at position # 9.

5 Remakes Which Haven’t Been Made – But Should Be. mossfilm.wordpress.com Greg Moss March 26, 2014. "Hell Tanner is the original post-apocalyptic anti-hero – a proto Snake Plissken in a Mad Max world."

CULT MOVIE REVIEW: Damnation Alley (1977). John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Cult Movies and Classic TV Tuesday, April 12, 2011. "Upon release, Star Wars promptly re-defined the genre film (and the blockbuster...) and Damnation Alley simply crashed and burned. Today, the Smight film isn't even commercially available on DVD, which is a shame." Also "At one point, there are three adult men and one woman living together inside the Landmaster, and yet nobody makes overtures, inappropriate or otherwise, towards Janice. This isn't very realistic or likely."

Damnation Alley Reviewed by Ivan Lerner. Revolution Science Fiction. "Like Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog, the novel takes place enough in the post-nuclear war period that our protagonist is truly of a unique post-war generation: kids who grew up never knowing a pre-nuked civilization, but with enough of that civilization's detritus and trappings for them to scrap up an inkling of what they've been cheated out of terribly.
Unlike A Boy and His Dog, when Damnation Alley was made into a movie, the filmmakers strayed far from the source material—and screwed things up royally."

Landmaster. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The Landmaster is a unique 12-wheeled amphibious articulated vehicle constructed by Dean Jeffries at Jeffries Automotive in Universal City, California for the 1977 science fiction film Damnation Alley."

Ode To The Landmaster. jalopnik.com Matt Hardigree 2/25/08 3:30pm. "What does the Landmaster have going for it other than a rabid fanbase?"

Landmaster. By Jack Scagnetti From the March, 1977 issue of Popular Science. at cs.wise.edu. "The Land Master was build by Dean Jeffries of Studio City, California, based on the patented invention of Robert W. Forsyth and John P. Forsyth, of the Vehicle Development Corporation. Its most outstanding feature is a system of 12 wheels arranged in triangular sets that enable the machine to run easily through sand, mud, and water."

Damnation Alley (1977). The Zone. "Legend has it Damnation Alley was expected to be a hit. 20th Century Fox had two science fiction films planned for release in 1977, but the studio did not expect the other one to make much money at the box office. Damnation Alley, however, had everything going for it."

Jack Smight (1925-2003). IMDb. "Went to high school in Minnesota with Peter Graves. They shared an apartment when they were trying to make it in Hollywood."


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The Future Unreels


Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:34 am
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Aight, the entire Damnation Alley analysis is posted, now.

The next to last story/film pair is for Enemy Mine, a novel and film where I like both of them quite a bit. That should be ready in two to three weeks from now.

“Enemy Mine” by Barry B. Longyear (1979) pgs 472-526 – filmed as Enemy Mine in 1985

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
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And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:12 am
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For the icon for this thread we need a teenincey calendar page. I have no idea where to find one.

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:30 pm
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While researching Enemy Mine I ran across a suggestion that the idea of the novella story came to Barry Longyear when he saw a 1968 John Boorman film: Hell in the Pacific with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune. So I ordered the DVD (used) in order to see what similarities there might be. It's here, but I haven't watched it, yet.

I have found nothing that puts in stone that this happened, though, this inspiration for the novella. It will be interesting to watch the Boorman and see how similar it is to the sci-fi film's plot, though. Kind of makes me feel as if I'm working on two Not-Quite a Remake Rematches at the same time. 8-)

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:24 am
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For the two of you who are still following this thread (although I admit I may be inflating my true audience out of conceit), I will need to write bout Enemy Mine really soon if I want to complete this thread by November 2015. The original schedule for Enemy Mine was to post by 24 Oct 2015.

It's a longish novella or a shortish novel, and you have probably found and read it if you have any intention to.

If I don't write about it soon, I will forget what I saw. And I still have this Lee Marvin/Toshiro Mifune vehicle to ride in before I write about the sci-fi movie.

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:23 pm
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“Enemy Mine” by Barry B. Longyear (1979) pgs 472-526 – filmed as Enemy Mine in 1985
PART ONE

The Original Story.
The book is touching. The film is comfortably charming. Lou Gossett, Jr. saves the film by becoming an approachable alien.

Barry Longyear saves the novel by making the non-human characters quite human, with just enough of a touch of alienness to make them seem not human. I think it's much the same effect you get when you look at photos of people in South American tribes who have had little contact with more "modern" humans. They seem both human and different at the same time. The difference can seem fetching, although it would have been repulsive to the Victorians.

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The theme of this novel is slightly like the theme of our first story in this thread: "The Empire of the Ants". In fact, it is directly about empire, since earth is trying to occupy planets that the sentients from the planet of the Dracons also want to occupy. This leads to war over turf. That's basically what is behind the idea of empire: if you have something we need, it's ours if we take it from you. That's theft on a national scale, so it's okay, right? If a nation does it, it's okay, right?

So H.G. Wells applied the same reasoning to an invasion of ants, and set his story at the interface between humans and an unfathomably huge swarm of ants. But he did not have an ant and a human establish communication and come to depend upon one another for survival.

In Enemy Mine the interface between humanity and Draconity is kept to a minimum. A human pilot and a Drac pilot manage to shoot one another down and crash onto the same uninhabited world at the same time. So, they are stuck with one another.

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Longyear's extended version of his novella is included in Reel Future. He jumps right into the story, with the intention of leaving it up to us to reason out the backstory. It is a tale of two creatures finding their common core, more or less. Their differences are glaring. Each thinks the other's species is incredibly ugly. Hard to look at. But each experiences the inner self of the other in a way that says, "The inside is much easier to look at than the outside. The inside is much less alien."

Would it happen like this in real life? No. Undoubtedly not. But this is a story written by and for earthlings. The purpose is to examine intractable enmity and racism without saying so. And it makes a statement that acceptance is easier if you're in the same boat, as we say. So two enemies of different species from different worlds are placed where the survival of either depends on making a better relationship with the other.

The differences are magnified and also sublimated. Both are warm-blooded creatures (homeotherms). But one is like earth human and the other is like earth lizard. Both are from highly intelligent species and races within those species. Both are warlike. But both have a philsophico-religious history of tolerance and acceptance. No doubt this encourages both creatures to be more accepting of the other. If one or the other had come from a totally war-like culture the outcome wouldn't have produced Longyear's little story.

If you read all the excerpts I've typed up behind the spoiler tags, you will know almost the entire story. There is a lot I have skipped over, of course.
---Each speaks a bit of the other's language, and they make an effort to learn more. Davidge makes the first efforts to gavey Drac. This is after they have a brief fight, then decide cooperation would be superior. It isn't their last fight. But there is danger from waves rushing up onto the shore of their island from the surrounding sea. And their only source of food and shelter is the Drac's landing capsule.

Barry Longyear wrote:
At dawn on the second day, we rolled and pushed the capsule into the center of the rise and wedged it between two large rocks, one of which had an overhang that we hoped would hold down the capsule when one of those big soakers hit. Around the rocks and capsule, we laid a foundation of large stones and filled the cracks with smaller stones. By the time the wall was knee high, we discovered that building with those smooth, round stones and no mortar wasn't going to work. After some experimentation, we figured out how to break the stones to give us flat sides with which to work. It's done by picking up one stone and slamming it down on top of another. We took turns, one slamming and one building. The stone was almost a volcanic glass, and we took turns extracting splinters from each other. It took nine of those endless days and nights to complete the walls, during which waves came close many times and once washed us ankle deep. For six of those nine days it rained. The capsule's survival equipment included a plastic blanket, and that became our roof. It sagged in at the center, and the hole we put in it there allowed the water to run out, keeping us almost dry and giving us a supply of fresh water. If a wave of any determination came along, we could kiss the roof goodbye; but we both had confidence in the walls, which were almost two meters thick at the bottom and at least a meter thick at the top.

---At some point they move to a cave, which is more secure, and begin to live there. Davidge gets sick and Jerry, the Drac, nurses him back to health. Davidge learns that the Drac, a hermaphrodite, is pregnant.

Barry Longyear wrote:
We talked of Jerry's coming child.

"What are you going to name it, Jerry?"

"It already has a name. See, the Jeriba line has five names. My name is Shigan; before me came my parent, Gothig; before Gothig was Haesni; before Haesni was Ty, and before Ty was Zammis. The child is named Jeriba Zammis."

"Why only the five names? A human child can have just about any name its parents pick for it. In fact, once a human becomes an adult, he or she can pick any name he or she wants."

The Drac looked at me, its eyes filled with pity. "Davidge, how lost you must feel. You humans--how lost you must feel."

"Lost?"

Jerry nodded. "Where do you come from, Davidge?"

"You mean my parents?"

"Yes."

I shrugged. "I remember my parents."

"And their parents?"

"I remember my mother's father. When I was young we used to visit him."

"Davidge, what do you know about this grandparent?"

I rubbed my chin. "It's kind of vague...I think he was in some kind of agriculture--I don't know."

And his parents?"

I shook my head. "The only thing I remember is that somewhere along the line, English and Germans figured. Gavey Germans and English?"

Jerry nodded "Davidge, I can recite the history of my line back to the founding of my planet by Jeriba Ty, one of the original settlers, one hundred and ninety-nine generations ago. At our line's archives on Draco, there are the records that trace the line across space to the racehome planet, Sindie, and there back seventy generations to Jeriba Ty, the founder of the Jeriba line."

---Naturally, the lineage becomes an important thread in the story. Eventually, the Drac gives birth, but dies in the process. However, Davidge has learned the entire Jeriba line from Jerry, who entrusted it to him.

Barry Longyear wrote:
It whimpered again. I pushed myself to my feet, walked the sandy floor to the infant's side, then knelt beside it. Out of the bundle that was Jerry's old flight suit, two chubby three-fingered arms waved. I picked up the bundle, carried it next to the fire, and sat on a rock. Balancing the bundle on my lap, I carefully unwrapped it. I could see the yellow glitter of Zammis's, eyes beneath yellow, sleep-heavy lids. From the almost nose-less face and solid teeth to its deep yellow color, Zammis was every bit a miniature of Jerry, except for the fat. Zammis fairly wallowed in rolls of fat. I looked, and was grateful to find that there was no mess.

I looked into Zammis's face. "You want something to eat?"

"Guh."

Its jaws were ready for business, and I assumed that Dracs must chew solid food from day one. I reached over the fire and picked up a twist of dried snake, then touched it against the infant's lips. Zammis turned its head. "C'mon, eat. You're not going to find anything better around here."

I pushed the snake against its lips again, and Zammis pulled back a chubby arm and pushed it away. I shrugged. "Well, whenever you get hungry enough, it's there."

"Guh meh!" Its head rocked back and forth on my lap, a tiny three-fingered hand closed around my finger, and it whimpered again.

"You don't want to eat, you don't need to be cleaned up, so what do you want?" Kos va nu?"

Zammis's face wrinkled, and its hand pulled at my finger. Its other hand waved in the direction of my chest. I picked Zammis up to arrange the flight suit, and the tiny hands reached out, grasped the front of my snakeskins, and held on as the chubby arms pulled the child next to my chest. I held it close, it placed its cheek against my chest, and promptly fell asleep. "Well...I'll be damned."

---Zammis naturally grows faster than a human, otherwise the story would be terribly long. One day it notices that its hand and reflection are not like Davidige's. So Davidge begins to teach it what he knows about the Dracs, including Zammis's entire line back to the very first Jeriba Ty. After some other twists and turns, including the arrival of a Drac survey team which takes the young Drac and Davidge to Drac, and takes Zammis away from Davidge. During the ride to Jerry's homeworld in a Drac spacecraft, the Irkmaan receives his share of disgust spewed from Drac mouths about his ugliness and the aberration that his race is in the Universe. Ultimately, Jeriba Gothig, Shigan's parent, gives Davidge a reluctant audience.

Barry Longyear wrote:
I studied Gothig. The old Drac had heard nothing from the commission. The Drac authorities took Zammis, and the child had evaporated. Gothig had been told nothing. Why? "I was with Shigan, Gothig. That is how I learned your language. When Shigan died giving birth to Zammis, I--"

"Irkmaan, if you cannot get to your scheme, I will have to ask Nev to throw you out. Shigan died in the battle of Fyrine IV. The Drac fleet notified us only days later."

I nodded, "Then, Gothig, tell me how I came to know the line of Jeriba? Do you wish me to recite it for you?"

Gothig snorted. "You say you know the Jeriba line?"

"Yes."

Gothig flipped a hand at me. "Then, recite."

I took a breath, then began. By the time I had reached the hundred and seventy-third generation, Gothig had knelt on the stone floor next to Nev. The Dracs remained that way for three hours of the recital. When I concluded, Gothig bowed its head and wept. "Yes, Irkmaan, yes. You must have known Shigan. Yes." The old Drac looked up into my face, its eyes wide with hope. "And you say Shigan continued the line--that Zammis was born?"

I nodded. "I don't know why the commission didn't notify you."

Gothig got to its feet and frowned. "We will find out, Irkmaan--what is you name?"

"Davidge. Willis Davidge."

"We will find out, Davidge."

---Naturally, Davidge is reunited with Jeriba Zammis who he raised. The commission has separated Zammis from the earthling because teh young Drac loves Davidge, and that is a disgrace to the Jeriba line. They meant well, of course. But Jeriba Gothig liquidates the estate on Drac and moves to Fyrine IV where he founds a colony of Dracs. Jeriba Ty, Zammis's son, names the planet Friendship. But, Davidge moves away from them and lives near Jerry's grave.

Barry Longyear wrote:
One blustery day I knelt between the graves, replaced some rocks, then added a few more. I pulled my snakeskin tight against the wind, then sat down and looked out to sea. Still the rollers steamed in under the gray-black cover of clouds. Soon the ice would come. I looked at my scarred, wrinkled hands, then at the grave

"I couldn't stay in the colony with them, Jerry. Don't get me wrong, it's nice. Damned nice. But I kept looking out my window seeing the ocean, thinking of the cave. I'm alone, in a way. But it's good. I know what and who I am, Jerry, and that's all there is to it, right?"

I heard a noise. I crouched over, placed my hands upon my withered knees, and pushed myself to my feet. The Drac was coming from the colony compound, a child in its arms.

I rubbed my beard. "Eh, Ty, so that is your first child?"

The Drac nodded. "I would be pleased, Uncle, if you would teach it what it must be taught: the line, the Talman; and about life on Friendship."

"I took the bundle into my arms. Chubby, three-fingered arms waved at the air, then grasped at my snakeskins. "Yes, Ty, this one is a Jeriban." I looked up at Ty. "And how is your parent, Zammis?"

Ty shrugged. "As well as can be expected. My parent wishes you well."

I nodded. "And the same to it, Ty. Zammis ought to get out of that air-conditioned capsule and come back to live in the cave. It'll do it good."

Ty grinned and nodded its head. "I will tell my parent, Uncle."

---That is pretty much the end of the story, although there are a few more paragraphs.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
The story has fighting, hatefulness, enmity. It also has cooperation and diplomacy. It has a monkey raising a baby gecko. So to speak. We know what the monkey looks like, but what about the gecko and its kid? "If we make a movie of this we can actually show it!"

There is an alien landscape to design and to show off. There are seasons of weather, something unexpected that happens to bond the enemies, and then something even less expected that welds them together.

The imaginative reader could easily have the urge to show this. To draw it or to film it so that you could also see what they imagined. That could go horribly wrong without the right budget or the right creative touch. But is the novel too sentimental to become a film? Is it about too many ideas? Which ones would you cull?

Image

And, when someone decided to actualize this story for you, how did it turn out? It might not be worth the time to watch. Or it might change your entire life for the better. Of course if a movie could change your life for the better, you must have a pretty damn good life in the first place!



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Scenes from a Multiverse. amultiverse.com comic. "Stay back or I poke you to death with pointy stick."

Enemy Mine (novella). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "It first appeared in the September 1979 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Later, it was collected by Longyear in the 1980 book Manifest Destiny. A longer, novel form was published, based on the film. It also appears in The Enemy Papers (Longyear anthology) in 1998. That version was labeled as "The Author's cut" and was significantly revised."

Read Enemy Mine (Enemy Mine) by Barry B. Longyear Online. aolsa.lv/ebooks. "Enemy Mine--The Nebula and Hugo Award winner that inspired the 20th Century Fox motion picture starring Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett, Jr.The story of a man, incomplete in himself, taught to be a human by his sworn enemy, an alien being who leaves with the human its most important possession: its future. ..." You're on your own with this. I didn't try the download link. There might be a book, or nothing there at all.

Enemy Mine Kindle Edition. Amazon.com. "Enemy Mine (the Author's Cut). Novella. Expanded version of the award winning story "Enemy Mine" that inspired the 20th Century Fox motion picture starring Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett, Jr." I know there is a book to read here, but it'll cost you. Links to hardcover, paperback and mass-market paperback. The last starts at $0.01, but has shipping charges.

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:31 am
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“Enemy Mine” by Barry B. Longyear (1979) pgs 472-526 – filmed as Enemy Mine in 1985
PART TWO

As I wrote in Part One: the book is touching. The film is comfortably charming. Lou Gossett, Jr. saves the film by becoming an approachable alien.

On the same afternoon I first saw the 1986 remake of The Fly, just before that movie started, I watched the last 75% of Enemy Mine. Thus, I didn't get in on the start, and I didn't know the setup until I read Barry Longyear's short story while preparing for this thread. I had seen some favorable reviews of the film, but most of the printed amazement was over the fact that Louis Gossett Jr. was acting from beneath a lot of makeup prostheses. There was even talk of an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but that didn't materialize.

Who made it into a Film?
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Some directors seem to handle multiple genres with aplomb. Whether Wolfgang Petersen manages the aplomb part in all cases, he certainly has tackled a lot of different genres in amassing 30 directorial credits (IMDb list). Stadt auf Stelzen (1965, TV) was his first film as director. In 1971, following 3 short films, Petersen directed a theatrical feature with the English title I Will Kill You, Wolf. Fifteen titles, and 10 years later, Petersen wrote produced and directed a film that became internationally known: Das Boot (The Boat, 1981). This film garnered Petersen two Oscar nominations, and some awards from various film festivals. The Neverending Story (1984) leapt from war film to children's adventure film. Yet it retained the darkness of Das Boot to a surprising extent. The next year Petersen directed Enemy Mine (1985), a sort of sci-fi war movie turned odd couple romance. The seven films since Enemy Mine have ranged across noir mystery, biological disaster, historical drama, political drama...and a remake of The Poseiden Adventure. IMDb offers no explanation about why Petersen has made no films since 2006, but the title Poseidon might explain a lot.

How did it turn out?
Image
Whereas Longyear slips right into the meeting between the Drac and its human enemy in the first lines of his story, the movie script gives us the back story. Maybe that's important for a film. Maybe it goes along with the linear storytelling aspect that seems to work well in film, and that I mentioned in the Total Recall analysis. I'm not sure. I've seen some film scripts jump right into the action the way the novel does. But it doesn't hurt to let Davidge narrate a bit as we watch the war in progress as envisioned by ILM.

The characters are strong. The plot is super-simple. I can't say whether the friendship that develops between the stranded enemies is plausible. I suppose it is. Why not? Having another living creature around is better than being totally alone.

And they face the vagaries of life on an unexplored planet: meteor storms, rain, and underground carnivores.

The film adds a major mining plot point that the novella lacks. This also introduces Dracs as slave labor. And by the time this is revealed, Davidge is
already the adoptive father of a young Drac, the child of his former adult companion,
as in the novella. This gives Davidge a different perspective on, well, just about everything. But before that plot development comes through there is the obligatory "getting to know one another" sequences.

Image

The line, "Maybe we should open up a little place here. I could ruin the food. You could frighten the customers," sums up the friendship that the two mortal enemies develop for one another.

The odd couple aspect of the story, not quite so upfront in the novella, seems to garner the bulk of the attention in the film. I would guess that whether a particular viewer would like the film or not would be highly personal, and would vary all over the place.

I like the film because of the characters. But neither novella nor film is intended to be anything beyond a science-fiction sidestep into examining friendship, racial prejudice, hatred of foreigners, and so forth.

Was there a remake?
No remake so far. But one guy claims that Enemy Mine is a remake of Hell in the Pacific (1968) by John Boorman. I hadn't seen that one when I started this analysis, but if Empire Online claims it and provides titles and release dates (which they do), someone could check that out for us. My suspicion is that it's a Not Quite a Remake at best.

Image

My father always answered me, whenever I said "Someone should do something about..." anything, "You're somebody." So I ordered a used DVD of Hell in the Pacific. I usually like John Boorman's work. So I can tell you that the film is more or less enjoyable. It has Boorman's usual attention to photography. There is little dialog. Also, neither the ending the studio insisted upon, or the alternate ending that Boorman filmed and cut is satisfying. The film is funny. But Enemy Mine is a more satisfying tale.

IMDb trivia claims that critics heaped praise on Mifune's performance as perhaps the best of his career. And it is very good. Also, I've never seen Lee Marvin do better work.

It might have influenced or inspired Barry Longyear to write the novella Enemy Mine. But he didn't borrow anything beyond the very simplest idea of enemies being stranded together. Longyear's story is much more complex, and his characters better-drawn than the two WWII guys who never even bother to try learning any of the other's language. Would that happen? I think not.

An important clue about whether Barry Longyear got his basic idea from the 1968 Boorman film might be found in the way the film and Longyear's original novella open with the enemies meeting one another. There is no explanation about how they got stranded in the first place.

You Can Watch It.
The Petersen film streams on, among others, Google Play, VUDU, Amazon video and iTunes. You can still buy DVD (double feature with Alien Nation) and Blu-ray discs of the film, although the Blu is kind of pricey, being a 2012 limited edition (only 3000 copies were sold). There is a certain thematic parallel between Enemy Mine, and Alien Nation (1988) which might make the two films a good double feature. I have not seen Alien Nation. Nor the TV series. RT gives the movie a 54% Tomatometer. Viewers knock it further down with 45%. Then again, for comparison, RT has Enemy Mine at 59% Tomatometer, although viewers in this case bump it up to 69%.

And there is a link below for you to watch the purported predecessor film on Youtube. So, read the novel, watch Hell in the Pacific, then Enemy Mine (if you haven't seen it) and see if you think Barry Longyear took his basic ideas from the earlier film.



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Enemy Mine: the B-movie that is a parable for absolutely everything. io9 by C.J. Silva, 9/06/10 8:35pm. "See, director Wolfgang Peterson's bastardization of Barry Longyear's novella draws more parallels to present day than any distorted Nostradamus text ever could."

Remakes That Worked: Enemy Mine. empireonline.com. "John Boorman set his humanist movie as a Robinson Crusoe story on an unnamed Pacific island. Although Gossett Jr. and Quaid can't quite match the volatile chemistry of Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune, the reworking into a sci-fi context (via Barry B. Longyear's novella) is effective."

Enemy Mine (film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Originally budgeted at $17 million, Enemy Mine eventually cost more than $40 million after marketing costs were factored in, and was a flop at the box office during the 1985 holiday season, earning only $12.3 million."

Wolfgang Petersen. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "He next directed the 1977 film Die Konsequenz, a b/w 16 mm adaptation of Alexander Ziegler's autobiographical novel of homosexual love. In its time, the film was considered so radical that when first broadcast in Germany, the Bavarian network turned off the transmitters rather than broadcast it."

Wolfgang Petersen. IMDb. "Directed one Oscar nominated performance: John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire (1993)."

Dennis Quaid. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "On November 18, 2007, hospital staff mistakenly gave Quaid's ten-day-old twins a dosage of heparin 1,000 times the common dosage for infants. Their attorney said the newborns will "be fine now," but Quaid filed a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer, Baxter Healthcare, claiming that packaging for the two doses of heparin are not different enough. In May 2008, the Quaids testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asking U.S. Congress not to preempt the right to sue drug manufacturers for negligence under state law"

Louis Gossett, Jr.. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Gossett is the voice of the Vortigaunts in the video game Half-Life 2 and is the Free Jaffa Leader Gerak in Season 9 of the sci-fi television series Stargate SG-1. He provides the voice of Lucius Fox in The Batman animated series. He recorded several commercials for a Nashville-based diabetic company, AmMed Direct, LLC. In 1997, Gossett presented When Animals Attack! 4, a one-hour special on Fox."

Hell in the Pacific (1968). IMDb. "During World War II, a shot-down American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain find themselves stranded on the same small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. Following war logic, each time the crafty Japanese devises something useful, he guards it to deny its use to the Yank, who then steals it, its proceeds or the idea and/or ruins it." Hmm. Wonder which one of them gets pregnant in this movie. Prolly neither one, since it's rated G.

Enemy Mine, by Barry B. Longyear. Review by Nicholas Whyte at nicholaswhyte.info, last modified 31 March 2002. " Again, this seems likely to have a source from a late 1960s screenplay, this time the 1968 John Boorman film Hell in the Pacific, which starred Lee Marvin and Toshirô Mifune as two WW2 pilots, one American and one Japanese, crashed on a Pacific island, who have to co-operate to survive."

Hell in The Pacific (1968) War Drama.full movie. mnotfox on Youtube, Published on Aug 17, 2012. "I do not own the rights to this graet [sic] war movie 2 men on an island ww2"

Behind-the-Scenes: "Enemy Mine" - SFX Miniatures. cineweekly.com Article from Issue #027. source of images.

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
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And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:18 pm
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Got in my 1999 issue used DVD of Millennium today. I'm installing Win10 on my oldest laptop, so I thought I'd maybe grab some stills from the movie, meantime. Can't bring myself to watch it! Ha ha!

I'll try to finish this thread this weekend. That will be one week ahead of my original schedule.

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:16 am
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“Air Raid” by John Varley (1977) pgs 527-538 – filmed as Millennium in 1989
PART ONE

This was the last of the 16 stories I read. I was told by several people to stay away from the movie, even though the blurb on the back of the plastic case looked fairly interesting when the DVD first came out. Still, I left it on the shelf.

The Original Story.
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The printed story really has quite a bit of visual potential, and it sloshes with weirdness. Just my kind of story. But the film adaptation couldn't go with everything that's written, and what was left out diminishes the bizarre qualities of the tale. Nonetheless, John Varley is the screenwriter who adapted his own story for the film script. But in researching the film I learned from IMDb trivia that Varley first expanded the short story into a novel, Millennium, in 1983. His screenplay is quite true to his own novel version of the story. Or so I gather from the written comments of others, since I haven't read the novel.

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And I am not going to read the novel. So I have to assume that Varley himself made many of the changes that I see between the short story and the movie, and that he did so when writing the novelization of his own short story.

John Varley wrote:
I opened the drawer and started preliminary work on my face. It's a bigger job every time. Transfusion or no, I looked like death. The right ear was completely gone now. I could no longer close my lips; the gums were permanently bared. A week earlier, a finger had fallen off in my sleep. And what's that to you, bugger?

While I worked, one of the screens around the mirror glowed. A smiling young woman, blonde, high brow, round face. Close enough. The crawl line read Mary Katrina Sondergard, born Trenton, New Jersey, age in 1979: 25. Baby, this is your lucky day.

The computer melted the skin away from her face to show me the bone structure, rotated it, gave me cross-sections. I studied the similarities with my own skull, noted the differences. Not bad, and better than some I'd been given.

I assembled a set of dentures that included the slight gap in the upper incisors. Putty filled out my cheeks. Contact lenses fell from the dispenser and I popped them in. Nose plugs widened my nostrils. No need for ears; they'd be covered by the wig. I pulled a blank plastiflesh mask over my face and had to pause while it melted in. It took only a moment to mold it to perfection. I smiled at myself. How nice to have lips.

The delivery slot clunked and dropped a blonde wig and a pink outfit into my lap. The wig was hot from the styler. I put it on, then my pantyhose.

"Mandy? Did you get the profile on Sondergard?" I didn't look up; I recognized the voice.

"Roger."

"We've located her near the airport. We can slip you in before take-off so you'll be the joker."

I groaned and looked up at the face on the screen. Elfreda Baltimore-Louisville, Director of Operational Teams; lifeless face and tiny slits for eyes. What can you do when all the muscles are dead?

"Okay." You take what you get.

She switched off and I spent the next two minutes trying to get dressed while keeping my eye on the screens. I memorized names and faces of crew members, plus the few facts known about them. Then I hurried out and caught up with the others. Elapsed time from first alarm: twelve minutes and seven seconds. We'd better get moving.

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Later in the story, they perform a snatch. They have only 94 minutes in original time to pull the living passengers off and substitute "wimps." In the future they have at max a three hour window to do the swap aboard the airplane. They are working against time. And this isn't even the snatch that goes wrong. That screwed up one is featured in the film, with a vastly redesigned blaster.

John Varley wrote:
There was an uproar building in the back of tourist, with about sixty-percent of the goats already processed. Cristabel glanced at me, and I nodded.

"Okay, folks," she bawled. "I want you to be quiet. Calm down and listen up. You fathead, pipe down before I cram my foot up your ass sideways."

The shock of hearing her talk like that was enough to buy us a little time, anyway. We had formed the skirmish line across the width of the plane, guns out, steadied on seat backs, aimed at the milling, befuddled group of thirty goats.

The guns are enough to awe all but the most foolhardy. In essence, a standard-issue stunner is just a plastic rod with two grids about six inches apart. There's not enough metal in it to set off a hijack alarm. And to people from the Stone Age to about 2190 it doesn't look anymore like a weapon than a ball-point pen. So Equipment Section jazzes them up in a plastic shell to real Buck Rogers blasters, with a dozen knobs and lights that flash, and a barrel like the snout of a hog. Hardly anyone ever walks into one.

"We are in great danger, and time is short. You must all do exactly as I tell you, and you will be safe."

You can't give them time to think, you have to rely on your status as the Voice of Authority. The situation is just not going to make sense to them, no matter how you explain it.

"Just a minute, I think you owe us--"

An airborne lawyer. I made a snap decision, thumbed the fireworks switch on my gun, and shot him.

The gun made a sound like a flying saucer with hemorrhoids, spit sparks and little jets of flame, and extended a green laser finger to his forehead. He dropped. All pure kark, of course, but impressive.

And it's damn risky, too. I had to choose between a panic if the fathead got them to thinking, and a possible panic from the flash of the gun. But when a 20th gets to talking about his "rights" and what he is "owed" things can get out of hand. It's infectious.

It worked. There was a lot of shouting, people ducking behind seats, but no rush. We could have handled it, but we needed some of them conscious if we were going to finish the snatch.

"Get up. Get up, you slugs!" Cristabel yelled. "He's stunned, nothing worse. But I'll kill the next one who gets out of line. Now get to your feet and do what I tell you. Children first! Hurry, as fast as you can, to the front of the plane. Do what the stewardess tells you. Come on kids, move!"

I ran back into first class just ahead of the kids, turned at the open restroom door, and got on my knees.

The greatest thing about the short story "Air Raid" is that it presents you with an inconceivable future, tells you just enough about it to make you thoughtful, and then abandons you to glorious speculation. Because it is so short it has many gaps in information. And it invites you to fill in the many gaps.

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I guess Varley thought he should fill in those gaps for us, and wrote it into a novel. As a writer I can attest to the frequent misjudgment that well enough should not be left alone when it comes to stories. And I can also attest from having seen the film that is supposedly faithful to Varley's novel, that he messed up his own brilliant idea by trying to fill it out.

Then again, some internet witnesses say that the novel is far superior to the movie made from it. I can't contest this because I haven't read the novel.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
The Air Raid of the story is a raid on an airplane that is in mid-crash. Well, that builds cinematic tension right there. Plus, we have people cobbled together from both human and synthetic parts. And the denouement tells you just enough to get your imagination cranked up full blast.
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But (this observation is now a cliche for this thread) the story is more like a Twilight Zone episode, because there is not enough there for a feature film. It is a good germ of an idea. If a student had the budget it would make a great student project. Maybe for someone with the fundage of one of Steve Jobs's daughters, for example.

And if you want to see how it turned out...well, nowadays you don't have many choices. Buy a long out of print DVD which will cost you only half what the shipping charge is, or watch it with subtitulos de español on Youtube. That might at least be an inter-cultural educational experience. But the dialog is in English.


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Millennium (novel). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Millennium is a 1983 science fiction novel by John Varley. Varley later turned this novel into the script for the 1989 film Millennium, both of which are based on Varley's short story "Air Raid", which was published in 1977. It was nominated for the Dick Award in 1983, and for both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1984."

Boeing 747-300 Taxiing on Runway Set to Takeoff Aircraft Wallpaper 2944. avioners.net. source of image.

_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Nov 08, 2015 5:59 am
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“Air Raid” by John Varley (1977) pgs 527-538 – filmed as Millennium in 1989
PART TWO

Oddly enough, although people who have read the 1983 novel Millennium by John Varley and have also seen the movie say that this film is very close to the novel. Yet the credits at the beginning of the film say that Varley adapted the screenplay from "his short story 'Air Raid.'" Hmmm.

Who made it into a Film?
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Writer John Varley adapted his novel from 1983 into the script for this film. Thus, the movie comes not from "Air Raid" but from the expanded version entitled Millennium. Varley's Hollywood career resulted in precisely one film and three episodes for two TV series between 1985 and 1998.

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Michael Anderson had a 50-year career directing films. He is still living, born in 1920 in London, England. Among the titles he directed are the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days (which got him an Oscar nomination while the film itself won 5 of the statuettes), Logan's Run (1976), and 3 episodes of the 1980 television mini-series The Martian Chronicles. I have seen the two films, and a few moments of one or two episodes of the Bradbury adaptation. Anderson also directed The New Adventures of Pinocchio (1999) all of which are loads better than Millennium.

How did it turn out?
Not very well.

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I first watched this one from a YouTube posting con subtitulos de español. Thus, it was a bilingual experience. That part I liked. But the viewing made me very glad that I listened to the woman who advised me not to buy the DVD of the film when it was first available in 1999 (for $17.99 on sale at Target). [After seeing it, I know it isn't even worth the $5.98 I spent to get a used DVD of it in order to finish this thread. But the YouTube copy I found has subtitles all through it, and that ruined some stills I wanted. So I decided to sacrifice a few bucks in order to grab a few dozen clean stills. Dumb, I know. But the grabs look better with DVD rez.]

The short story opens with a team of "rescuers" preparing to go on a mission where retrieval of the dying (but not yet dead) is the goal. The film opens aboard the aircraft where the Snatch Team members are already at work, unseen, just as the airplane collides with another aircraft in mid-flight, and both planes begin to fall toward doom. The blurb on YouTube simply says, "An NTSB investigator seeking the cause of an airline disaster meets a warrior woman from 1000 years in the future." That isn't really what this movie is about.

Here is the plot synopsis, taken from a Wikipedia article:

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Wikipedia wrote:
The film begins in the cockpit of a U.S. passenger airliner (Boeing 747) in 1989, shortly before they are struck from above by another airliner (McDonnell Douglas DC-10) on a landing approach. The pilot handles the airplane as well as he can while the flight engineer goes back to check on the passenger cabin. He comes back in the cockpit screaming, “They're dead! All of them! They’re burned up!”

Quote:
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Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson) is a National Transportation Safety Board investigator hired to determine whether human error is the cause of a collision of the two aircraft, both of which crashed. He and his team of investigators are confused by the words on the cockpit voice recorder because there had been no fire on board before the plane hit the ground. At the same time, a theoretical physicist named Dr. Arnold Mayer (Daniel J. Travanti) has a professional curiosity about the crash, which borders on science fiction. While giving a lecture, he talks about time travel and the possibility of visitors from the future.

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Time travelers are, in fact, visiting the present day and stealing passengers from doomed aircraft. In the future, because of pollution, the human population is no longer able to reproduce, so teams are sent in to the past to abduct groups of people who are about to die and keep them in stasis until they will be sent into the far future to repopulate the Earth. Every incursion into the past causes an accompanying "timequake" whose magnitude is proportional to the effects of the incursion into the past. Each "timequake" causes physical damage in the time from which the incursion has been made. This is why they are abducting people who will not be able to affect the future any further and replacing them with copies of those who would have died. Thus, the co-pilot's strange comment came because all the passengers had been replaced with pre-burned duplicates in preparation for the upcoming crash.

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While on a mission to 1963, an operative is shot and loses a stun weapon on board a plane before it crashes. This weapon winds up in the possession of Dr. Mayer, setting him on the path to working out what's happening. Twenty-five years later, Smith finds a similar artifact in the crash portrayed at the beginning of the film.

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Worried that these two individuals of the 20th century might change history by their discoveries, Louise Baltimore (Cheryl Ladd) travels back to 1989 in order to distract Bill Smith and discourage him from pursuing his investigation further. Louise manages to gain Bill's trust, as well as seduce him into a one-night stand, which she hopes will complete the distraction. It is later revealed that Louise becomes pregnant in this encounter. However, because of still more errors on the part of the time travel team, as well as paradoxical events, Bill becomes even more suspicious. He soon pays a visit to Dr. Mayer. At that point, Louise materializes from the future and reveals her mission to both of them in the hope that they will voluntarily keep quiet. However, in a mishap with the stun weapon, Mayer kills himself.

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Mayer was instrumental in the development of the time travel Gate technology, so his death results in an unresolvable paradox - a force infinity timequake - which will destroy the entire civilization of the "present" future. It is decided that it is time to send all of the people who have been collected to the distant future before the Gate is destroyed. Louise decides to go with Bill to the future.

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Bill and Louise step through and disappear into the Gate, which takes them to another time and another place, in order to save their lives, and to fulfill a destiny to repopulate Earth. A simple, but poignant, message is recited by Sherman the Robot, quoting Winston Churchill, in the closing seconds of the film. As the blast wave of the gate being destroyed vaporizes Sherman he states, "This is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning" as the scene transitions to the sun rising above the clouds.


Varley's original short story is crisp, full of detail, enticing in its presentation of a bizarre future and some sort of a task that the "Snatch Team" has to do, that unfolds to the reader a page at a time. 12 pages after it first hits you, it is done. Short. Sweet. A very rich, good short story. The purpose of the Snatch Teams is to save the human race. You learn that, and then the story is over.

Image

The movie is an attempt to flesh out the story. Instead it sort of fattens it up for the kill and then ends it with one of the hokiest trios of final lines that I have ever heard. "It is not the end. It is not the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning." Embarrassing. As it turns out, the three-sentence statement is an alleged quotation from Sir Winston Churchill, paraphrased for this movie. That doesn't help it make sense, or fit the film, though.

As is sometimes the case, I can understand why the reviews are so negative for this movie. Sure, it's a rotter. But I've seen and written about worse films. Perhaps it is the romance (no romance in the SS, but obviously there must be in the novel) and how much of the screen story is filled up with it. Perhaps it is the disconnect within the film between the action elements and the romance. Perhaps it is the fact that the tropes in the film are arranged in a slightly off-kilter way, and viewers don't like you messing with their cliched ideas of how things ought to fit together. Perhaps it is the special effects, especially the matte composites, that were done much much better by that time in many films. But not in this one!

Anyway, I'll agree that it is not a good film, yet in some small ways, for a few seconds here and there, it doesn't suck pond water. It is fair to expect more from any movie.

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René Ohashi's cinematography is clear and informative. But the editing often takes the sense right out of what he shot. Like a couple of other films I've analyzed in depth in this and the other thread, Millennium suffers from the people involved not knowing or understanding what the others were doing.

Millennium is not a life-changing movie. It's not going to make your life suck if you watch it. It does have a message. The message doesn't come across very well. In fact the movie makes you laugh at the message. Not intentionally. It tries to make you believe that as humans we may very well pollute and destroy our environment and ourselves, yet it holds out the idea that we will make it all better through technology. That second idea isn't supposed to be the message. But...it's there.

There are tedious stretches, but also moments of adequate vision. I haven't read the novel. My experience is with the original short story, and the movie adapted from the novel. My recommendation: read the short story. Skip the movie.

Was there a remake?
Thank the gods, no.

You Can Watch It.
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But you should do this only if you are really, really bored on a rainy Sunday afternoon with lots of beer in the house (and in you) when the fire is burning well in the fireplace and you are liable to drop off to sleep at the end of the front credits. That would be safe. Or, perhaps you are a connoisseur of films that didn't quite come together, although they got made. Used copies are available via Amazon re-seller partners; the disc won't cost you much but they have that standard rip-off $4.00 shipping charge, so that makes the discs relatively costly. I can't find it streaming much, except on those "Watch it for free online" type of movie sites.


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Millenium (1989). varley.net. "(Both the story and the novel this turkey are based on are lots better than the movie.)" This writer has read the novel and finds it to be superior to the film. That's reassuring.

Millennium. varley.net. "If you want to know how Millennium the movie was supposed to end, read the book."

Time jump aircraft film "Millennium" 80's?. therpf.com. "When the robot walked in, it was a big "you have to be kidding me" moment. This would be a good film for a remake, but maybe loose the bad props."

Millennium (novel). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Millennium is a 1983 science fiction novel by John Varley. Varley later turned this novel into the script for the 1989 film Millennium, both of which are based on Varley's short story "Air Raid", which was published in 1977. It was nominated for the Dick Award in 1983, and for both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1984."

Millennium (film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Millennium is based on the 1977 short story "Air Raid" by John Varley. Varley started work on a screenplay based on that short story in 1979, and later released the expanded story in book-length form in 1983, titled Millennium."

Millennium, John Varley. The Official Web Site of Christian Sauvé. "The essential back-story of the saga goes like this: After causing quite a stir in written Science Fiction circles at the end of the seventies, Varley went to Hollywood to work on movies. His written output during those years slowed down considerably, and the only tangible result of those years is his screenwriter credit on the 1989 film Millennium."

varley millennium watch online. Google search results.

Michael Anderson on "Logan's Run" & "Carousel". source of image.

_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Nov 08, 2015 5:59 am
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DONE!

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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:20 am
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YouTookMyName wrote:
DONE!

I'm at least as happy about this as you are.

You know, I thought the way this thread started out 11 months ago that it would get more comments. Ha! It took only 2 pages to cover 16 movies! :D

_________________
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


The Future Unreels


Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:28 am
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