Tuesday, March 31, 2020

never ending story.

In order to break the monotony of the Coronavirus lockdown the Twin Things decided to  rewatch the frankly fantastic George Pal version of War of The Worlds* t'other day which they swiftly followed up with another viewing of the great mans take on The Time Machine which inadvertently re-awakened Twin 2's Rod Taylor crush.

"And this is all you could get from the shops?"

Hence we spent last night watching this.

World Without End (1956).
Dir: Edward Bernds.
Cast: Nelson Leigh, Christopher Dark, Rod Taylor, Hugh Marlowe, Everett Glass, Shirley Patterson, Lisa Montell, William Vedder, Nancy Gates, Booth Colman and Mickey Simpson.

Our women seem to have lagged behind in their evolution into reasonable creatures. They actually admire these reckless and brutal men.

It's March 1957 (probably a Tuesday) and top space science types Dr. Eldon Galbraithe (The Adventures of Sir Galahad star Leigh), bequiffed navigator Henry Jaffe (Dark who was once in The Time Tunnel), radio operator and all round sexyman Herbert Ellis (Taylor, our reason for watching) alongside team leader and professional action hero John Borden (The Day The Earth Stood Still and Earth Vs The Flying Saucers star Marlowe) are returning to Earth after a successful reconnaissance trip to Mars.

Bloody hell you couldn't move for spaceships parked around the red planet in the 50s could you?

What appears to be a routine flight full of fun and banter turns scary when the rocket suddenly accelerates to an incredible speed, rendering the crew unconscious and sending their ship hurtling - well wobbling - thru' space before crashing on a snow-covered mountain.

Coming to and deciding to make the best of the situation the gang go for a walk down the mountain and soon coming across some ancient gravestones leaving Galbraithe to surmise that the rocket was subjected to a wee bit of 'time dilation' (isn't that the way?) and that they're now stranded on a future Earth, the heightened radiation that the ship has registered outside being from a devastating atomic war that occurred at some point in the past.

Which seems legit.

This news is taken particularly hard by Jaffe tho', as he soon realizes that his wife and children must be dead.

Well either dead or they moved to Birmingham.

"Does my skin look buttery?"

Deciding that Jaffe needs something to take his mind of his families demise the rest of the team send him off to explore a nearby cave, hinting that it may be full of Leprechaun treasure and with that he merrily jogs along to take a look, unfortunately it's not full of treasure but is, in fact, chock full of giant rubber spiders intent on scoffing poor Jaffe.

Well I say chock full but I mean there are two of them.

Or maybe just one and it's edited to look like two.

Either way it looks utter shite, meaning there's more chance of Jaffe dying of embarrassment than getting bit.

Anyway before it can get too exciting Ellis fires his load(ed gun) into the beasts eyes and the group run away only to be almost immediately attacked by one eyed, furry nappy wearing mutant survivors of the war - or 'Mutates' as they call them.

It never rains.

"Hello we're from Cradley Heath!"

Seeking shelter in another (less cobwebby) cave our hunky bunch are surprised (there's a fair bit of that in this movie) when a gleaming, totally not incongruous, metal door slides open revealing the entrance to an underground city populated by the - non mutated - descendants of those who survived the atomic war.

Descendants who are now spending their days clad in shower caps, ballet tights and massive gold chains in an attempt to look all clever and utopian.

In charge of this motley crew is the thin legged Bob Timmek (Invasion Of The Body Snatcher's Glass who spends the whole movie looking fairly embarrassed at the tightness of his - well - tights as they not only reveal what side he dresses to but also what he had for lunch, poor sod), who is aided and abetted by the oh-so slightly fey James (Pearl Jam's Vedder - thankfully uncredited) and the harsh faced Tober Mories (father of Doctor Who stars Olivia and  Jenna as well as TV Planet of The Apes monkey, Coleman) who, feeling threatened by the sheer amount of manliness on show decides to plot against our time-traveling team.

Well that and the fact that his betrothed, Timmek's daughter, the mini-skirted minx Garnet (cheeky chinned TV stalwart Gates) has the hots for Borden.

John that is not Stan.

Oh hang on that's Boardman isn't it?


Beware this room is not full of candy.


You see, it seems that life underground has caused the men to become less virile and manly whilst in contrast, the women have all de-evolved to look like 50s starlets complete with incredibly pointed bras and tiny shiny skirts and they appear to be constantly gagging for it with a couple of them - the council estate Rita Hayworth Elain (Patterson) and serving girl Deena (Montell, be still my beating heart), both fighting for the attentions of Ellis who at this point is topless for some reason.

Anyway, our heroes decide that the only way humanity will survive (apart from them having sex with all the ladies which may be a wee bit tiring - especially for Galbraithe) is if everyone heads to the surface, kills the 'mutates' and soak up some vitamin C so to this end they attempt to persuade the underground community to arm themselves and help them to reclaim the surface.

But alas they can't be arsed.

Tunnel or funnel?

From that point in the film descends into chatsville - via discussion town - intercut with scenes of Garnet gazing lustfully at Borden whilst begging him to make love to her in the rugged style of the men in her old romance novels.

Which is nice.

"Hey honey....you fancy a wee bit o' mooth shite-in?"

Tired of all this testosterone fueled tomfoolery, Mories hatches a plan to discredit the time travelers by stealing their weapons from James' bedroom and planting them in their quarters.

How fiendish.

Unfortunately as he's grabbing the guns James appears from the bathroom and has no sooner pulled up his tights as Mories beats him to death.


He then sneaks into our heroes room and hides the guns in Borden's sock drawer.

Framing the foursome for the foul murder of poor James, Timmek has no choice but to have them expelled but luckily - for them - Deena was in their room having a wee fiddle whilst sniffing Ellis' underwear and swa the whole thing.

Much shoving and pushing ensues as Mories flees to the surface only to be bummed to death by mutants.


With Mories out of the picture, Timmek decides to throw away his pacifist ideals and help our heroes manufacture a bazooka with which to kill the mutates but Deena - having been rescued from the outside as a child - informs everyone that the mutates are actually quite small in number and that they used (non-mutated) slaves to do all the heavy work for them.

With this knowledge Borden offers to fight their chief, the hairy back and arsed Naga (yellow skinned cartoon star Simpson) in single combat for leadership of the group and the lives of the slaves.

Obviously they blow some shit up first just to show they mean business.

Will Borden beat Naga or will evil triumph over good old fashioned American strength?

Will our heroes return to the past or choose to build a new world surrounded by dozens of adoring ladies?

Go on, guess.

Lisa Montell: Foil wrapped for freshness.

With a plot so good it was later ripped off for The Mole People (which like this owes a huge debt to The Time Machine), World Without End was originally envisaged as a cheap way to make some extra cash for filmmakers Allied Artists by reusing footage, sets and costumes from their earlier movie Flight to Mars and because of this World Without End balances uncomfortably 'tween being a silver age SciFi classic and cheap seat-filler - for every highbrow question on humanities quest for survival and pacifism vs aggression there's a rubber arachnid or boss-eyed beast in a furry nappy waiting around the corner.

Luckily it's saved from obscurity - and dragged from the gutter by not only its fantastic cast - especially Hugh Marlowe, Lisa Montell and Rod Taylor - but also by the frankly bizarre mix of folk who worked behind the scenes, including the legendary Sam Peckinpah (who worked as its dialgoue director) and strangest of all, probably the worlds most famous/greatest pin-up artist Alberto Vargas as concept/costume artist.

Which explains a lot if I'm honest.

Especially that tingly feeling I got whenever any of the space ladies turn up onscreen.

Vargas: Sauce pot.

And let's not forget director Edward Bernds who, although not the greatest director who ever lived makes sure the film is never dull - which frankly is a godsend after watching some of it's contemporaries.

Yes I'm looking at you The Mole People.


With a career that spans everything from directing The Three Stooges to writing the Elvis movie masterpiece Tickle Me via The Queen of Outer Space and nearly (accidentally) winning an Oscar Bernds makes sure that the film never gets too talky and throws enough action, sexy ladies and silly hats at the screen to make it an enjoyable if fairly forgettable filmic experience.

Go on, you know you want to.

If only for Lisa Montel's midriff. 

*Much as they love it they've both pointed out how far fetched the idea of a technically advance civilization being brought down by a virus is.....it's just silly.

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