Escapement (film)

Escapement (a.k.a. The Electronic Monster in the U.S.) is a 1958 black and white British science fiction film.[1] It was based on the sci-fi novel Escapement by Charles Eric Maine (London, 1956).[2] Original working titles included Zex, the Electronic Fiend.

Escapement (a.k.a. The Electronic Monster)
U.S. lobby card
Directed byMontgomery Tully
David Paltenghi (dream sequences)
Produced byAlec C. Snowden
Jim O'Connolly
Richard Gordon
Written byCharles Eric Maine
J. MacLaren-Ross
Based onnovel Escapement by Charles Eric Maine
StarringRod Cameron
Mary Murphy
Meredith Edwards
Music byJohn Simmons (electronic music consultant)
Richard Taylor (musical director)
CinematographyBert Mason
Teddy Catford (dream sequences)
Edited byGeoffrey Muller
Production
company
Distributed byAnglo-Amalgamated (UK)
Columbia Pictures (US)
Release date
1958
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

The film was released in England (as Escapement) in 1958, but was only shown in the US in 1960 on a double feature with either 13 Ghosts or the Japanese sci-fi classic Battle in Outer Space.

Plot

Inquiring into the mysterious death of a Hollywood star, insurance investigator Jeff Keenan uncovers an exclusive psychiatric clinic on the French Riviera. Here, patients who want to escape the stresses of life are hypnotized, then laid out in morgue-like drawers and left to dream for several weeks. It turns out that Dr. Zakon, the clinic's ex-Nazi owner, is using a "dream machine" to alter the sleepers' dreams, and to impose his will on theirs.

Cast

  • Jeff Keenan - Rod Cameron
  • Ruth Vance - Mary Murphy
  • Doctor Maxwell - Meredith Edwards
  • Paul Zakon - Peter Illing
  • Doctor Hoff - Carl Jaffe
  • Laura Maxwell - Kay Callard
  • Blore - Carl Duering
  • Verna Berteaux - Roberta Huby
  • Commissaire - Felix Felton
  • Brad Somers - Larry Cross
  • Signore Kallini - Carlo Borelli
  • Claude Denver - John McCarthy
  • French Doctor - Jacques Cey
  • French Farmer - Armande Guinle
  • Receptionist (clinic) - Malou Pantera
  • Receptionist (studios) - Pat Clavin
  • Wayne - Alan Gifford

Production

Producer Richard Gordon later said there were major problems with the film's special effects. He also said that he had a dispute with Anglo-Amalgamated, who did not want the movie to get an X certificate in England, whereas Gordon wanted more horror for the US.[3]

Critical reception

Leonard Maltin called it a "blah sci-fi programmer" ;[4] while TV Guide noted, "an intriguing feature in that it was among the first to examine the possibilities of psychological manipulation and brainwashing." [5]

References

  1. "The-Electronic-Monster - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes - NYTimes.com". nytimes.com.
  2. "The Electronic Monster (1960) - Screenplay Info - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  3. Tom Weaver, The Horror Hits of Richard Gordon, Bear Manor Media 2011 p 19
  4. "The Electronic Monster (1960) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  5. "The Electronic Monster". TVGuide.com.


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