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Thursday, February 18, 2016


I watched GOG, the creaky Ivan Tors sci-fi flick. GREAT popcorn movie, which has
really neat and comically menacing robots, "Gog" and "Magog".

One of them.

Tors made talky sci-fi movies and TV series, though English was not his native language. His mildly celebrated OSI trilogy of films (1953's The Magnetic Monster, 1954's Riders to the Stars, and GOG, also from '54) follow agents of the Office of Scientific Investigation as they confront various science-induced dangers to The Free World. GOG is the final film of the series, and the most involved.

Hear what Wikipedia saith:
Unaccountable, deadly malfunctions begin occurring at a top-secret government facility under the New Mexico desert where a space station is being constructed. Agents from the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) in Washington, D.C. are called in to investigate.
Laboratory supervisor Dr. Van Ness calls in Dr. David Sheppard, an OSI security agent, to find the cause of the mysterious deaths. Working with Joanna Merritt, another OSI agent already at the facility, Sheppard determines that the deaths among the laboratory's 150 top scientists are due to deliberate sabotage of NOVAC (Nuclear Operative Variable Automatic Computer), a central computer that controls all equipment in the underground facility.
However, it is harder to determine how the sabotage is being done. The unseen enemy strikes again and again, snuffing out the lives of five scientists and two human test subjects in quick succession, as well as Major Howard, the complex's Chief of Security. In addition, both Madame Elzevir (solar engineering scientist) and Dr. Peter Burden (chief atomic engineer) are attacked, but manage to survive, although they are both injured.
Eventually, Sheppard determines that a powerful radio transmitter and receiver were secretly built into NOVAC during its construction. An enemy robot plane, whose fiberglass body does not register on radar, has been flying overhead, beaming precisely focused, ultra-high frequency radio signals, thereby controlling NOVAC's every function. The computer, in turn, controls Gog and Magog, two mobile robots with multiple arms, powerful gripping tools, and other implements.
Magog is finally directed to go to the complex's nuclear reactor room and pull the safety rod out of the atomic pile, starting a chain reaction that will soon build to a nuclear explosion, which will destroy the entire facility. Sheppard arrives in time to push the safety rod back into the pile, stopping the chain reaction. He then attacks the robot with a flame thrower and disables it, but Gog soon follows its twin to the reactor room to finish the job. Sheppard's flame thrower runs out of fuel as the robot advances on him. Dr. Van Ness arrives with another flame thrower, but the control valve sticks, and Gog now turns on him. Sheppard desperately begins using the nozzle of his flame thrower as a bludgeon, trying to smash the robot's electronic tubes. The now-crippled robot begins spinning back and forth, its arms thrashing about wildly. At that point, Gog suddenly comes to a halt, its metal arms falling limply to its sides. American F-86 and F-94 jet fighters have found and destroyed the enemy plane, ending NOVAC's reign of destruction. Van Ness then realizes that Sheppard and Merritt have been exposed to an overdose of radiation from the reactor, and Sheppard takes Merritt into his arms and they head for the complex hospital, where it is determined that their exposure, while causing their film badges to turn red, is not serious, and that they will soon recover.
F-86 Sabre Jet
A few days later, Dr. Van Ness explains the situation to the Secretary of Defense, and informs him that a working model of the space station is about to be launched into orbit. The new station will be equipped with telescopes and television cameras that will spot any further attempts to sabotage the complex in this fashion. The Secretary observes with satisfaction, "Nothing will take us by surprise again!" The film concludes with the successful launch of the rocket containing the working model from the complex.


Wiki kindly glosses over the major visual gaffe of the piece: Sabre jets scramble to intercept the hostile intruder, yet F-94C Starfires do the Deed.

F-94C Starfire

William Schallert dies unpleasantly.

Michael Fox (no relation) dies horribly by remote control at the beginning of the film. To hammer home the point that the bad guys are really bad, his lovely assistant finds him in the low-temperature chamber used for suspended animation experiments, and is then killed in the same grisly manner. Their flash-frozen bodies are later found shattered, according to a conversation...no people shards are seen. The horror remains nonetheless.

Pub-D-Hub has the film, and it is also available on YouTube

Enjoy! Don't forget the Jiffy-pop!

Wiki kindly glosses over the major visual gaffe of the piece: Sabre jets scramble to intercept the hostile intruder, yet F-94C Starfires do the Deed.

During the Air Force jet scramble, the aircraft shown are F-86 Sabre Jets, while most of the airborne shots are of rocket equipped Lockheed F-94C Starfires.

1 comment:

Michael W said...

Of the "OSI Trilogy" films I tend to prefer "The Magnetic Monster" (cue footage taken from the 1934 German film "Gold"). Also prefer the nice daytime soap opera style piano music which ends the film.

(Also wish Tors had stayed with the "A-Men Production" he used for "Magnetic Monster". He could've started an entirely new studio: "The A-Men Corner".)

"Wiki kindly glosses over the major visual gaffe of the piece: Sabre jets scramble to intercept the hostile intruder, yet F-94C Starfires do the Deed."

Oh Lord, I just love 50s SF films. Some gaffes like this I can give a pass. Others (such as the major theft of footage from "Village of the Damned" to pad out "The Earth Dies Screaming") can make me frown.

(And yes, Cheap Producers, I can recognize the blowing up of the L.A. City Hall from "The War of the Worlds" when it's sneaked into other films. Guess what! A lot of other SF fans can recognize it too.)

What I absolutely cannot pass is such gaffes in later big-budget productions. Examples include "You Only Live Twice" (American Gemini astronauts heading into orbit atop an Atlas-Agena, whereas Russian cosmonauts blast off atop a Gemini-Titan), and "Ice Station Zebra" (excellent model work of MiG-21s suddenly being replaced with footage of F-4 Phantom II's).