Wednesday, November 30, 2011
B.I.G. movie lines!!
Who doesn't love classic movie dialogue? Of course, I'm not talking about lines like "You played it for her, you can play it for me", or "The, uh, stuff dreams are made of". I'm thinking of those great, creative and often bewildering lines of dialogue found in those amazing 50's drive-in classics!
If you're looking to mine excellent dialogue, you should start by watching the movies of film-maker extraodonaire, Bert I. Gordon. Dubbed "Mr. B.I.G" by Famous Monsters editor Forry Ackerman, Bert filmed some of the most entertaining low-budget movies of the 50's and 60's. These movies entranced us monster kids growing up and, while some of their technical achievements may seem a bit "low tech" by today's standards (common exclamations include "hey! they're just grashoppers climbing on a post-card!",and "hey! I can see right through that rocket ship!"), their entertainment value is second to none! (Actually, some of the effects still stand up pretty well! It took me three viewings to realize the "puppet people" stored in jars in "Attack of the Puppet People" were just slightly curved photographs)
Due to the fantastical nature of his movies, it was probably inevitable that some lines ended up coming across as a little, oh, let's say weird. Here's a sampling of some of my faves from two of his movies:
King Dinosaur (1955) The crew of a space ship land on the planet "Nova", where they are imperiled by giant dinosaurs. Their only chance of escape is summed up by the ship's doctor when he exclaimed "I brought the atom bomb. I think this is a good time to use it!" Oh, when is it not a good time to break out the old atom bomb? They're as useful as WD-40! (also in this picture, we see the credit "featuring Little Joe-the honey bear". As far as I know, this was "Little Joe's" only movie credit before he changed his name, possibly to "Gentle Ben" or "Yogi Bear")
War of the Colossal Beast (1958) A sequel to "The Amazing Colossal Man" where an unfortunate air force colonel gets irradiated, only to grow into a surley giant wearing an "expandable sarong", for which the giant credits "army ingenuity" (hey, I'm impressed!! How many armies could whip us a giant expandable sarong??). In this sequel, the giant, Col. Glenn Manning, is found to be alive and stomping through Mexico. In tracking him down, a puruer exclaims "Giants can run fast, They have long legs". Perhaps Glenn has a shot at the Rockettes with them amazing gams of his. When the pursuers find giant footprints, they exclaim "What ever made these fotprints must be 60 feet tall.", to which Glenn's sister, Joyce, exclaims, "Glenn is 60 feet tall!". Could the two be related some how??????
Of course, Mr. B.I.G. didn't have a monopoly on great lines. In the excellent movie Kronos (1957) a giant cubist robot from "up there" is sent to Earth to drain all it's power and return it to it's owners, the Ray-O-Vac company. Brave scientists led by Dr. Leslie Gaskell (played by the breathless Jeff Morrow) search for a way to stop the robot at (at one point Gaskell laments that he's possibly "pulled the scientific boner of all time"). Not impressed by this feat, Kronos continues to piston across the countryside, until the good guys hit upon the idea of reversing his electrical change by dropping something like robot itch powder on him from a jet plane. On his approach towards the target, the pilot asks the control tower "Can you pinpoint the target for me?". Oh, I don't know..... could it possibly be that 200' tall alien robot???
As you can see...endless, timeless entertainment from Mr. Gordon and others of his vintage!! Thanks for the great times, Bert!!