Now With More Than 3600 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 3600 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


A Sci-Fi version of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST is such a nifty idea, it almost makes up for the dull, dull CinemaScope megging of Fred M. Wilcox, a specialist in kiddie weepies with Lassie or Margaret O’Brien. Still, many of the effects still look pretty cool: like animated electro-surge blasts and some stupendous matte paintings to suggest miles of underground laboratories. In this telling, Walter Pidgeon’s Dr. Morbius, who rules over his ultra-advanced planet with only a daughter & a dutiful robot, is more megalomaniac Captain Nemo than a proper Prospero, but the rest of the characters line up pretty accurately with the play: Anne Francis - Miranda; Leslie Nielsen - Ferdinand; Earl Holliman - Stefano and Trinculo; Robbie the Robot - Ariel. And, in the most intriguing rethink, the wild Caliban (who Shakespeare probably thought of as Native American after reports coming from Virginia) is a sort of ectoplasmatic charge of dynamic energy, subconsciously generated out of Pidgeon’s ‘id.’ Lively thinking, but too often buried under hideous set & color-design, flat dialogue with acting to match (though hubba-hubba for the young Anne Francis), and Wilcox’s edit-shy mid-range shooting style. (The soporific electronic score doesn’t help, either.) But lots of fun for ‘50s Sci-Fi fanciers in a rare big budget for the genre at the time; and useful as a sort of CliffsNotes for any Star Trek oriented Shakespearean.

ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: The script really misses a trick when Holliman sneaks off to collect a batch of illicit whiskey, courtesy of Robbie the Robot. In the original, Stefano & Trinculo get plastered with Caliban. Zounds!, what a challenge for this adaptation since the monster is pure thought & energy, without tangible mass. Literally unable to hold his liquor.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: TV versions of THE TEMPEST have played things ‘straight,’ but film adaptations can’t leave well enough alone. Gender reversals, modernizations, one-man recitations, played as a Western . . . the works. Or rather, everything but the work. Frustrating.

DOUBLE-BILL: Hardcore RtR fans can see Robbie go out of control in THE INVISIBLE BOY/’57; OR: In a Jose Ferrer episode of COLUMBO - ‘Mind Over Mayhem,’ where he’s programmed by a little boy genius boy cheekily named ‘Steve Spelberg.’

No comments: