A successful combination of sci-fi, murder mystery and espionage thriller. Slow-paced at times but raises issues of relevance for today’s audiences.
Director: Herbert L. Strock
Producer: Ivan Tors
Written by Tom Taggart (screenplay), Ivan Tors (story), Richard G. Taylor (dialogue)
Music: Harry Sukman
Cinematography: Lothrop B. Worth
Editing: Herbert L. Strock
Distributed by United Artists
Running time: 85 min.
Budget: $250,000 (approx.)
Richard Egan: David Sheppard
Constance Dowling: Joanna Merritt
Herbert Marshall: Dr. Van Ness
John Wengraf: Dr. Zeitman
Phillip Van Zandt: Dr. Pierre Elzevir
Valerie Vernon: Madame Elzevir
Steve Roberts: Major Howard
Byron Kane: Dr. Carter
David Alpert: Dr. Peter Burden
Michael Fox: Dr. Hubertus
William Schallert: Dr. Engle
Marian Richman: Helen
Who is causing the deaths of crucial personnel at the underground facility?
Where did such an advanced aircraft come from?
What nefarious purposes will NOVAC and the robots, Gog & Magog be put to?
To what end?
The answers to these questions will be revealed as you watch all agog at the events as they unfold in the classic sci-fi movie...
Points Of Interest
The 1950s had the coolest helicopters!
The double-edged sword nature of human technology is apparent when early in the film we see a helicopter cross the desert sky. On board is the pilot, Al and his passenger, Dr. David Sheppard. They are headed for the top secret underground facility. Suddenly the helicopter is buffeted by some force. The pilot explains that the "brain" has taken over the controls and will do the flying, thereby keeping the exact location of the facility secret. They are both being monitored by central control. Instead of being reassuring. it’s all a bit unnerving! NOVAC’s code transmitters will also be in control of the solar mirror which will provide the space station with all its power and its destructive potential as demonstrated by the Elzevirs’. NOVAC will be able to control the space station’s mirrors via code transmitters and as is noted by one of the characters in the film, “It would be a powerful weapon of war.”
The film, GOG employed an interesting choice of names for the two robots; “Gog” and “Magog.” Initially, this one word title, together with its appearance on the screen at the start, conjures up feelings of timeless and implacable power. The biblical reference to “Gog” and “Magog” (Rev.20:8) involves the names of two nations to be led by Satan in the final battle at Armageddon against the kingdom of God;
“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth - Gog and Magog - to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.”
And in Ezekiel 38;
“Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal.”
Perhaps for the purposes of film the “enemy,” the former Soviet Union, was being cast as Satan in the international battle between the forces of “good” and “evil” over the fate of the world.
Advanced weaponry and security devices: In the film during the segment featuring the electronically controlled sound detector with its tuning forks, we are introduced to the notion of sound waves whose “intensity can kill!" It has been demonstrated in recent times that sound waves of certain frequencies can have quite severe effects on human physiology. Proposals have been made to use sound waves as a form of crowd control during riots and demonstrations and even as a weapon of warfare.
©Chris Christopoulos 2013