Friday, October 05, 2012


American reporter Paul Douglas and his British photographer pal Leslie Phillips are on a train heading for Salzburg so they can cover a music festival (insert your own SOUND OF MUSIC joke/pun/reference here) when their car becomes uncoupled and winds up the small country of Gudavia, which Douglas can't find on any map. The place doesn't get many visitors, so the townspeople are a little wary—at first, Douglas and Phillips are assumed to be spies—but also excited that the hotel finally has guests. After some suspicious events, the two discover that the land is ruled with an iron hand from a castle by mad scientist Walter Rilla who has been experimenting with exposing the country's children to gamma ray radiation (some of the subjects are pictured at right). Some become geniuses; some become dull-eyed zombie-types who are recruited to become Rilla's thugs. Douglas and Phillips, with some help from scientist Eva Bartok, rile the people up and a Frankenstein-like ending is in store for Rilla. This is a very strange genre mix; a sci-fi VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED plot with a light, at times comic, LADY VANISHES atmosphere. The burly Douglas doesn't seem a good fit for leading action man, but the rest of the cast is fine. It's worth seeing just because it’s so one-of-a-kind, but approach with low expectations.  [TCM]

No comments: