The Power (1968)

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The Power (1968)

Post  BoG on Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:55 am



Ah, yes, The Power. What is...The POWER?
This is a strange one. I have the Laserdisc, a double-bill set with Atlantis,the Lost Continent. I bought it about 15 years ago. It was finally released as a print-on-Demand DVD last year. The intriguing concept involves a possible superhuman - a person born years ago who had genetically skipped numerous generations and is therefore a man of tomorrow living today, with vast powers of the mind.
I've always been struck by the innovative, off-the-wall approach by George Pal to this sci-fi thriller; what about that music and those weird zoom-ins & outs? the Power - THE POWER!
Recalling all the strange, off-kilter moments, I always want to go back and watch this after a couple of years go by in-between screenings. However, while watching, I start to wonder why I was so worked up about it. I'm not sure what the problem with this is - maybe George Hamilton's bland hero or the slow pace in parts. Or maybe I'm just unsatisfied with the limited amount of time or exposition given to the superhuman villain
Spoiler:
(Michael Rennie)


I'm not sure what to make of the threat posed by the supervillain's character in this film. On the one hand he seems to be the most dangerous man, er, superman on Earth. On the other, he doesn't seem to be doing anything with his superhuman abilities except stalking & killing a small group of scientists. He's been around for awhile - the actor is not a young man here - and whatever threat he poses, he'll probably pass away in a decade or so anyway. So the whole thing comes across like an interesting, experimental exercise in the power corrupts principle, yet not very substantial.
It's also rare in that science fiction films did not tackle this subject very much (see the Star Trek pilot episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" about a couple of years earlier and in the seventies Carrie / The Fury as the rare samples). Later, of course, we have been overwhelmed with the Marvel Comics super-hero movies of this past decade, so this film can be looked upon as a precursor to all those X-Men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four movies. Other prominent examples are the obvious Superman films.

This film does have a rather large cast of well-known character actors - Richard Carlson is best known for starring in a number of sci-fi films in the golden age (the fifties); Earl Holliman offers a quirky yet slightly disturbing supporting role here; Nehemiah Persoff and Arthur O'Connell are the elder scientists; Gary Merill is an investigating cop and watch for beefy Aldo Ray popping up as another menacing character. As to the female roles - Suzanne Pleshette as Hamilton's colleague/girlfriend is gorgeous & sultry, while older femmes Yvonne de Carlo, Barbara Nichols & Celia Lovsky are in smaller roles. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10

Powerful Trivia: rumored as one of Forrest J Ackerman's cameos in this one, as a hotel clerk, according to Wikipedia, but... no mustache.
Star Trek TOS actor alert: both Lovsky and Lawrence Montaigne appeared together in the episode Amok Time, as Vulcans.
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