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February 23, 2016



Herbert L. Strock - 1954
KL Studio Classics BD Region A

Restored after a little more than fifty years to its original 3D glory, it turns out that the only way you can see Gog in 3D is with a 3D blu-ray player. Even though I didn't get the opportunity to have get virtually poke by a hypodermic needle, or have Richard Egan aim a flame thrower at my face, the "flat" version of Gog is still worth checking out for the use of color. The color scheme is made up of solid primary colors, noticeable with brown jumpsuit worn by Richard Egan, and the green jumpsuit for Constance Dowling, with the scientists in white lab coats. The red lights in the hallways of the underground laboratory, where most of the film takes place, also add to the visual qualities that may have taken their queues from comic books. While I wish I could see Gog in 3D, I don't feel like I'm missing a lot in the flat version.

Richard Egan comes to the secret, underground laboratory in New Mexico, to investigate mysterious deaths that have taken place, possibly due to mechanical failure, but seemingly caused by sabotage. Egan is from the OSI, Office of Scientific Investigation. The lab functions with a computer called N.O.V.A.C., Nuclear Operative Variable Automatic Computer. In the lab are two robots, Gog and Magog. And here is where I wish the commentary track, mostly by Tom Weaver, had been more insightful. We have a computer, with a name that is Eastern European, and two killer robots with biblical names. The cold war aspects to Gog aren't mentioned in the commentary track. Maybe William Ahearn will revisit this film in its new blu-ray glory. Not that any person or country is named here, but I'm certain that audiences of the time got the hint that Gog was about a little more than robots running amuck.

I'm not sure how much of the audience then cared about whether anything discussed was, or would be, scientifically feasible. Back during the time of production, computers were huge room sized machines, considered exotic, and operated by scientists. Where producer Ivan Tors, responsible for the original story, almost gets things right is with the gender parity, of featuring female scientists in the cast. Almost, because of a scene where a woman freaks out from the onslaught of ear piercing sounds, and Egan slaps her, immediately causing her to regain composure. Where Gog holds up best is during scenes of mayhem, when nothing can stop the various gizmos from getting out of control.

The two supplements are valuable. One discusses the restoration of Gog, which involved finding the "left-eye" version of the film in order to recreate the 3D version. There is also a video interview with Herbert Strock, shot in 2003, two years before his death. Strock, who had monoscopic vision, gives ample credit to cinematographer Lothrop Worth, and his use of the camera system used to make a 3D movie.

gog poster.jpg

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at February 23, 2016 02:40 PM