Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Cyclops - A Fun Flick, Uncut - Bert I. Gordon

(I watched this movie tonight and then posted this review on Amazon, and figured I might as well share it here, too.)

This is a fun film from early in Bert I. Gordon's career.  In it, you can see many of the elements that would later become B.I.G trademarks: giant people and animals, seat-of-the-pants special effects, and deadpan sincerity.  If you like cheesy monster movies from the 50s, this flick is a good bet.  The actors are attractive and competent, and it's fun to watch Lon Chaney, Jr. chew the scenery -- though it's actually the titular character who does the most scenery chewing.

The Cyclops, by the way, looks like a dry-run for the later Amazing Colossal Man/Beast make-up.  Half his face is melted and the other half distorted, with a huge eye.  It's a creepy if crude make-up.  There's a lot of pretty dodgy matte work here -- Bert got better at that as he went -- and I'm surprised that he didn't do much of it with forced perspective instead.  Still, for all its flaws, this film is a must have for collectors of B.I.G's work or 50s monster movie buffs.

In other reviews, there has been some controversy over whether the "pull the stick out of the eye" scene has been censored from this release.  Well, I just got my copy of the disc direct from Warner Archives today -- 4/7/2011 -- and I can say that I _saw_ that scene in this DVD.  So, unless there's more to the supposedly missing scene than the cyclops pulling out the stick and weeping for a moment, I'd say the current edition is intact/uncensored, folks.

Make sure you get this release and not previous ones.  The DVD quality is good -- a nice widescreen (anamorphic?) transfer -- and it played fine on my old Toshiba player (not a player/recorder).  I would have given it another star, but the SFX are pretty crude -- clearly from early in B.I.G.'s career.  What it lacks in polish, though, it makes up for in imagination and sincerity.


No comments: