Gog (1954) – By Duane L. Martin

 

In a super secret underground research facility, two scientists are engaging in an experiment in which they flash freeze a monkey in a cold chamber, and then thaw it out and bring it back to life.  After the experiment succeeds, one of the scientists gets locked in the chamber by some mysterious force that’s controlling the door locks and the controls, and he’s frozen to death.  The lab assistant comes back into the lab looking for him, and after entering the chamber she’s locked in and frozen to death as well.

After the incident and the following discovery of some transceivers that are strategically placed around the base in different areas, a security agent named Dr. David Sheppard (Richard Egan) arrives at the base to launch an investigation.  While there, he discovers that they’re using a super computer named NOVAC to run just about everything, including two multi-function robots that are linked to it named GOG and MAGOG.  There’s also a strange ship of some sort that keeps buzzing over the base at super high altitudes, often when something nefarious is happening.  Is there a connection, and who planted all the transceivers?  You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

So…this movie was restored in HD and presented in both 2D and 3D by Kino Lorber.  The 3D is NOT the red/blue kind, so to view it you’ll have to have a 3D capable blu-ray player and television.  Fortunately I do, so I got to see it in all of its 3D glory.

Before I get to the 3D part of the review, let’s talk about the story, or lack thereof.  Now by that I don’t mean there wasn’t really a story.  There was plenty of story, and much of it was focused on showing various parts of the research facility and what they were doing there rather than focusing on the main point of the story, which was that mysterious things were happening and people were being killed.  That’s not to say they didn’t focus on that, because they did, but there was a whole lot of the other stuff as well, which amounted to little more than filler.  Each of those sections could have been explained in a much shorter period of time than what they spent on them in the movie, but I guess the main part of the story just wasn’t going to take up an excessive amount of time, so they had to get some filler in there somewhere.  Was it bad?  No, not at all.  Was it boring?  Nope, it wasn’t that either, but it did feel like filler, as I said.

As for the main part of the story, there was a big mystery as to who was planting these transceivers all around the base in the different sections, and someone killed a girl who was examining some strange dust that Dr. Sheppard had found in one of them.  Why is that important?  Because at the end of the movie, they never did seem to discover who did it.  I guess we can assume it was either GOG or MAGOG being controlled by the super computer, which itself was being controlled by an external element, but I find it hard to believe that robots that size could wander around an underground base, commit a murder, ransack a lab and then return to their original position without anyone noticing.  That would imply that there was a spy or something on the base, but at the end of the movie, even though they solved the mystery of what happened, they never mentioned anything about finding a spy on the base.  It’s almost like they forgot to wrap up that part of the story.  That’s assuming though that we don’t believe that the robots did it, which I personally don’t due to the reasons I already stated.

Now…that aside, this was actually a pretty cool movie.  The robots were fun and kind of cheesy, the acting was above average, they spent a lot of time on all the tech stuff in the various parts of the base in order to create the appropriate settings, and there’s even a part where Dr. Sheppard keeps his pimp hand strong by slapping a hysterical woman who freaked out when she saw someone that had just been killed.

The robots in particular were really spiffy.  They had what looked like a big, erect penis on the front that actually turned out to be a flame thrower, and numerous arms that woudl bounce around as it moved from place to place.  For locomotion, it traveled around on a pair of tracks, so it was steered by someone either inside the machine or on the outside with a remote control much like one would steer a tank.  Whoever was steering it actually did a really good job, because either way would have been quite difficult.

Now we get to the 3D, which looked absolutely awesome…for the most part.  There was a lot of depth of field and the effect was beautiful.  Some of it was quite realistic.  Now I say “for the most part” because while the 3D really did look pretty awesome in this film, there are bits where certain parts, like things near the camera or whatever can look blurry.  This only happened in a few parts and wasn’t a major issue at all.  Most likely it was things that perhaps were out of focus in the original film due to the fact that they existed outside of the focal area of the camera, but that’s only speculation on my part.  In any case, like I said…the 3D looks awesome and you should definitely see this film in 3D if you can, but there are those few little spots that you’ll notice if you do.

For special features, this new release from Kino Lorber includes audio commentary by film historians Tom Weaver, Bob Furmanek and David Schecter, a restoration demo, a 2003 interview with director Herbert L. Strock, and a trailer gallery.

With a good story backed up by even better acting, robots, secret projects, sabotage, super computers and more, they really packed a lot of fun and entertainment into this film.  See it in 3D to get the full experience, but even in 2D it’s totally worth your time to check it out.  The restoration looks amazing, and this is definitely one you’re going to want to add to your collection.

If you’d like to find out more about this release, you can check out its page on the Kino Lorber website here: http://www.kinolorber.com/video.php?id=2249