The Humanoid (1979 Italy) a.k.a. L'umanoide

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The Humanoid (1979 Italy) a.k.a. L'umanoide

Post  BoG on Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:54 pm

This is one of Richard Kiel's follow-up roles just after he briefly became a big star in The Spy Who Loved Me (77); he plays some kind of alien in this one - though there are two versions - a Han Solo-type hero and his dummy duplicate. As stated everywhere else, this is probably the most blatant Italian copy of the megahit Star Wars. Also, for whatever reason, Kiel was paired with his co-star from the James Bond film, Barbara Bach, in a couple of later films, including this one.  Old-time character actor Arthur Kennedy also lends his talents to this, as an evil doctor.

You know by now, Dear Reader, that I never begrudge imitations, especially sexy science fiction imitations made in Italy. L'Umanoide comes to us from familiar names like Aldo Lado, Enzo Castellari , Antonio Margheriti, and Ennio Morricone. Morricone's electronic score is particularly compelling during the extended dreamy title sequence, setting up a wonderful mood for fans of 70s nostalgia. Inspired casting gives us Richard Kiel as the Viking-like space rogue who gets transformed into (of course) a grunting giant. Our heroine is played by Corinne Cléry who appeared alongside Kiel in Moonraker and who wears no underwear throughout The Humanoid. Our sycophantic evil scientist is played by Arthur Kennedy (The Antichrist), who steals most of his scenes. Finally, our evil warlord is played by Ivan Rassimov, though his mask obscures his perfect villain face.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 36869-36883). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.

You could play a drinking game where everybody drinks every time an obvious Star Wars moment pops up. Not only do the evil soldiers all wear Darth Vader helmets, but the evil empress (Barbara Bach from Island of the Fishmen) even has a Darth Vader hairstyle! The effects are inconsistent, and the climax is a rescue mission rather than an interstellar battle, but the picture generally achieves its attempt to feel epic and grand. You would think it had a huge budget. Pacing feels quicker than it really is because of the strong acting and the near-continuous array of striking (if unsubtle) outfits and uniforms. Some space battles could have been more intense, but the smaller-scale laser gun battles are exciting.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 36886-36896). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.

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