Creation of the Humanoids

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Creation of the Humanoids

Post  BoG on Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:59 pm

75 m.
A DVD double feature was released a couple of years ago with this and War Between the Planets  (1965).
Don Doolittle * George Milan
with Dudley Manlove
directed by Wesley Barry

Now this is a strange little Sci-Fi film. I remember when I first saw it many years ago on TV.
Yeah, it came across as incredibly stagey, as if this really was a performance on stage recorded by a camera and someone said "hey, we may as well try releasing it." Most characters just stand in place, facing the camera, and speak in solemn, serious tones; sometimes they exit left. It comes off as pretentious and somewhat banal, especially the threats made by some of them. But even then, despite my youth, I noticed all these ideas straining to capture my attention. And isn't that what many say is the best kind of science fiction - the presentation of ideas, new and maybe radical?
This begins with the standard footage of atomic bombs going off - yep, there's been a nuclear war. But, right away, the film deviates a bit from what you'd expect. Sure, there were 92% casualties but this was long ago; humanity has survived and continued to exist in advanced cities, complete with complex bureaucracy such as 'The Order of Flesh and Blood' - this film's version of a far right conservative organization. The members of this group are concerned with the proliferation of androids in the society, especially when it comes to social deviations such as 'being in rapport' - the act of a human marrying an android. Good gravy! There's blatant commentary on prejudice here - a derogatory term for androids is 'Clickers.'
There's a lot of narration at the start of the film and further explanations by various characters, a style which probably doesn't sit well with many viewers. But, hey, there are a lot of historical facts to get through. We see the R1 robot at the beginning (many of you may recognize it - it's the suit used by the aliens in Earth vs. The Flying Saucers). The R2 looks even sillier. But once we get past R20, now the machines start to look like blue-skinned humans. An R80 is about as advanced a robot as is allowed at this point, especially since the robots, er, androids are about to outnumber the humans soon. But Capt. Cragis (tall Megowan) of The Order gets wind of an R96 possibly being created - just 4 steps below an R100, a human!  Say what?
Cragis (who likes to be called The Cragis for some reason) also finds out that his sister (McCann) is 'in rapport' with an android! The shame, the horror of it!  This is where some audience members may have been a bit creeped out by the concepts: the sister professes love for her android but, in the next sentence, mentions how she bought him. So, in this society, people are able to buy a machine and then marry it? That's a bit too weird even for me.
There's a lot of info to absorb during the course of this film and very little action; the plot is driven almost exclusively by the dialog. But that was OK by me. Again, it's like watching a stageplay, with minimalist sets, and that's fine. The acting is kind of stiff but then again, half the cast are androids and what do you expect? I thought Megowan was pretty good.
The main idea is the basic concept of a society eventually declining and being replaced - usually by a lower class, which may even be a slave class; this lower class rises up and forms the new society. This has happened throughout history - in 1917 Russia, for example. See also Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. We eventually find out the true motives of the leading androids - it's kind of related to Asimov's laws of robotics - and then there's a revelatory twist in the final minute which may cause you to chuckle. And yes, that is actor Manlove from Plan 9 From Outer Space fame somewhere here in a small role. I'm surprised that no cult appreciation exists for this film. BoG's Score: 7

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