Cast & Crew
Thomas B. Henry
After their monitoring equipment indicates abnormal radioactivity emanating from a mountain some distance from their laboratory, two nuclear scientists, Steve March and Dan Murphy, go to investigate. In searing heat, they reach the mountain and discover a recently created cave, blasted out of the rocky terrain. Inside the cave, their Geiger counter reads wildly off its scale and, suddenly, a giant, sinister, brain-like object floats toward them. Steve shoots at the brain, but it is impervious to his bullets and beams a light ray at both men. When they collapse, the brain passes into Steve's head. A week later, Steve returns alone to the laboratory and explains to his fiancée, Sally Fallon, and her father John that he and Dan had found nothing unusual and that Dan has gone on a trip to Las Vegas. Although Steve appears normal, his behavior toward Sally is much more sexually aggressive than before, and because he is also experiencing blinding pain, Sally realizes that something is wrong. In his laboratory, the brain leaves Steve's body and, suspended in air, talks to him, revealing that its name is Gor and that he is an alien from the planet Arous. Gor also states that he needs to inhabit Steve's body temporarily, as Steve is in a position to provide him access to certain top secret locations, and that he can instantly modify Steve's behavioral impulses. Sally persuades her father to accompany her to the mountain as she feels it holds the key to Steve's erratic behavior. Inside the cave, after Sally and John discover Dan's burned corpse, they are approached by another brain, which tells them its name is Vol and that it has been sent from Arous to capture Gor, an escaped criminal now manipulating Steve's mind. Vol arranges to come to Sally's house the following evening to plan a strategy to rescue Steve. Meanwhile Steve, totally in Gor's control, phones Col. Frogley at Atomic Energy HQ and tells him that he wants to attend atomic tests later in the week. When Vol meets with Sally and John, he informs them that Gor intends to rule the earth and that they must try to destroy Gor during the period, once every twenty-four hours, that he must leave Steve's body to replenish his oxygen. Sally agrees to help and allows Vol, also in need of a terrestrial host, to enter the body of her dog, George. Later, Gor emits a death ray through Steve's eyes and disintegrates an aircraft in flight, killing all thirty-eight people on board. Sally becomes more alarmed when Steve tells her that he has a discovery to unveil at the bomb test and that he will soon have infinite power. The local sheriff visits Steve and tells him that Dan's body has been found and has identical signs of incineration to those of the plane passengers. As Steve has lied about Dan's whereabouts, the sheriff attempts to arrest him, but Steve kills him. At the atomic test site, Steve asks to address the scientists and informs them of his power. When some of the scientists express skepticism, Steve provides a demonstration by detonating an atomic explosion with his death ray vision and tells the group that he can destroy any city or country. After one of the military officials shoots at him, Steve vaporizes the man and states that he wants to meet with representatives of all the major world powers that evening. At the meeting, Steve demands that the nations turn over their uranium and atomic resources, as well as industrial facilities, to him so that he can enslave the earth. Within two days, Steve intends to preside over another meeting at the United Nations building where he expects the world members to comply with his demands. Meanwhile, Vol has helped Sally to find a diagram indicating Gor's most vulnerable area and she leaves the drawing in Steve's laboratory. When he returns, Gor leaves Steve's body to replenish his oxygen and Steve, on seeing the diagram, attacks Gor with an axe, destroying the alien. His mission accomplished, Vol silently departs. Steve quickly reverts to his old self and, when Sally tells him about Vol and tries to persuade George to talk to her, he accuses her of imagining Vol, then embraces her.
Thomas B. Henry
E. Leslie Thomas
J. L. Cassingham
Joy N. Houck
Richard M. Rubin
J. Francis White
TCM Remembers - John Agar
Popular b-movie actor John Agar died April 7th at the age of 81. Agar is probably best known as the actor that married Shirley Temple in 1945 but he also appeared alongside John Wayne in several films. Agar soon became a fixture in such films as Tarantula (1955) and The Mole People (1956) and was a cult favorite ever since, something he took in good spirits and seemed to enjoy. In 1972, for instance, the fan magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland mistakenly ran his obituary, a piece that Agar would later happily autograph.
Agar was born January 31, 1921 in Chicago. He had been a sergeant in the Army Air Corps working as a physical trainer when he was hired in 1945 to escort 16-year-old Shirley Temple to a Hollywood party. Agar apparently knew Temple earlier since his sister was a classmate of Temple's. Despite the objections of Temple's mother the two became a couple and were married shortly after. Temple's producer David Selznick asked Agar if he wanted to act but he reportedly replied that one actor in the family was enough. Nevertheless, Selznick paid for acting lessons and signed Agar to a contract.
Agar's first film was the John Ford-directed Fort Apache (1948) also starring Temple. Agar and Temple also both appeared in Adventure in Baltimore (1949) and had a daughter in 1948 but were divorced the following year. Agar married again in 1951 which lasted until his wife's death in 2000. Agar worked in a string of Westerns and war films such as Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Breakthrough (1950) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Later when pressed for money he began making the films that would establish his reputation beyond the gossip columns: Revenge of the Creature (1955), The Brain from Planet Arous (1957), Invisible Invaders (1959) and the mind-boggling Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966). The roles became progressively smaller so Agar sold insurance and real estate on the side. When he appeared in the 1988 film Miracle Mile his dialogue supposedly included obscenities which Agar had always refused to use. He showed the director a way to do the scene without that language and that's how it was filmed.
By Lang Thompson
DUDLEY MOORE, 1935-2002
Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Dudley Moore died on March 27th at the age of 66. Moore first gained notice in his native England for ground-breaking stage and TV comedy before later building a Hollywood career. Like many of his peers, he had an amiable, open appeal that was balanced against a sharply satiric edge. Moore could play the confused innocent as well as the crafty schemer and tended to command attention wherever he appeared. Among his four marriages were two actresses: Tuesday Weld and Suzy Kendall.
Moore was born April 19, 1935 in London. As a child, he had a club foot later corrected by years of surgery that often left him recuperating in the hospital alongside critically wounded soldiers. Moore attended Oxford where he earned a degree in musical composition and met future collaborators Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The four formed the landmark comedy ensemble Beyond the Fringe. Though often merely labelled as a precursor to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Beyond the Fringe was instrumental in the marriage of the piercing, highly educated sense of humor cultivated by Oxbridge graduates to the modern mass media. In this case it was the revue stage and television where Beyond the Fringe first assaulted the astonished minds of Britons. Moore supplied the music and such songs as "The Sadder and Wiser Beaver," "Man Bites God" and "One Leg Too Few." (You can pick up a CD set with much of the stage show. Unfortunately for future historians the BBC commonly erased tapes at this period - why? - so many of the TV episodes are apparently gone forever.)
Moore's first feature film was the 1966 farce The Wrong Box (a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation) but it was his collaboration with Peter Cook on Bedazzled (1967) that's endured. Unlike its tepid 2000 remake, the original Bedazzled is a wolverine-tough satire of mid-60s culture that hasn't aged a bit: viewers are still as likely to be appalled and entertained at the same time. Moore not only co-wrote the story with Cook but composed the score. Moore appeared in a few more films until starring in 10 (1979). Written and directed by Blake Edwards, this amiable comedy featured Moore (a last-minute replacement for George Segal) caught in a middle-aged crisis and proved popular with both audiences and critics. Moore's career took another turn when his role as a wealthy alcoholic who falls for the proverbial shop girl in Arthur (1981) snagged him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe win.
However Moore was never able to build on these successes. He starred in a passable remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1984), did another Blake Edwards romantic comedy of moderate interest called Micki + Maude (1984, also a Golden Globe winner for Moore), a misfired sequel to Arthur in 1988 and a few other little-seen films. The highlight of this period must certainly be the 1991 series Orchestra where Moore spars with the wonderfully crusty conductor Georg Solti and leads an orchestra of students in what's certainly some of the most delightful television ever made.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - John Agar
The special eye effects for Steve March were created by having John Agar wear special black contact lenses that were very thick. The extreme thickness of the contact lenses caused a painful ordeal for Agar.
A Hollywood Reporter production chart lists Nat Holt, Jr. as assistant director and Bert Chervin as production manager, although Chervin is listed as the assistant director in the onscreen credits. The cave exteriors were filmed in Bronson Canyon, Los Angeles. Although his appearance in the film has not been confirmed, a July 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item adds Gil Perkins to the cast.