The Mole People (1956)

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The Mole People (1956)

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:23 pm

This one is on the slow side; it begins with a 4-minute explanation from some university professor, touching on various theories dating back 200 years about the interior of the Earth which have since proved to be outlandish. We then switch (after the credits) to Asia, where an archaeological expedition gets a hold of some rare artifacts following an earthquake. The guy calling the shots (John Agar) determines that they must research higher up. Then there's an avalanche, more artifacts and finally one of the archaeologists falls to his death through a hole.

The others follow and find  the prototypical lost city, populated by Sumerian albinos (no sunlight). The Mole People of the title are a slave race used by the inhabitants; there are numerous scenes of whipping taking place. The Mole creatures tend to come up from beneath the soft portions of the Earth, at times dragging someone underneath. I bet Stan Lee was influenced by all this when he wrote the story for the first issue of The Fantastic Four in 1961, which featured the Mole Man villain. Agar's archaeologist gets the bright idea to use his flashlight as a means of intimidation (it's too bright for the underground dwellers) and the two surviving explorers are regarded as messengers from the goddess Ishtar.
This all recalls some of the more memorable pulp sci-fi adventures, those about finding lost civilizations. There always seems to be a troublesome high priest character in these stories; in this case, it's Elinor (Alan Napier, later to play Alfred on the Batman TV show). He's on to the mortality of the 2 visitors and makes plans against them. There are also similarities to some of the serials of this and earlier times. This has a surprising and somewhat baffling last minute ending involving the female lead (Cynthia Patrick). BoG's Score: 6 out of 10

Mole Trivia: the other surviving archaeologist is played by Hugh Beaumont, who would start playing Beaver's dad in a year on Leave it to Beaver.
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