The Gamma People

The Gamma People is a 1956 British-American black-and-white science fiction film, produced by John Gossage, directed by John Gilling, that stars Paul Douglas, Eva Bartok, and Leslie Phillips.[2] The film was distributed by Columbia Pictures and evolved from a script treatment originally written in the early 1950s by Robert Aldrich.[3] The Gamma People was released theatrically in the U.S. as a double feature with the 1956 British science fiction film 1984[4].

The Gamma People
Directed byJohn Gilling
Produced byJohn Gossage
Screenplay byJohn Gilling
John Gossage
Story byRobert Aldrich
Louis Pollock
StarringPaul Douglas
Eva Bartok
Leslie Phillips
Walter Rilla
Martin Miller
Philip Leaver
Music byGeorge Melachrino
CinematographyTed Moore
Edited byJack Slade
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
30 January 1956 (United Kingdom: general release)[1]
  • December 1956 (1956-12) (United States)
Running time
76 or 78 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States


A train passenger car carrying a reporter and his photographer mysteriously breaks away from its locomotive, accidentally ending up on a remote sidetrack in Gudavia, an isolated Ruritanian-style, one-village Eastern Bloc dictatorship. The newsmen discover a mad scientist using gamma rays to turn the country's youth into either geniuses or subhumans, all at the bidding of an equally mad dictator.



In June 1951, Irving Allen announced he would make The Gamma People in Austria with Brian Donlevy and Virginia Grey. It was based on a screenplay by Oliver Crawford and a story by Louis Pollack. Allen said the script was about German scientific experiments during the war which caused cells to mutate. He said he had finance from the United States and Austria.[8] Allen did a location trip to Austria in July.[9]

In December 1951 Allen announced he had formed Warwick Productions with Albert Broccoli, but that he still intended to make The Gamma People with Robert Aldrich.[10] In August 1952 Allen announced that Aldrich would make his feature debut as director with The Gamma People, to be shot in Europe in the winter from Aldrich's own script.[11] Dick Powell was slated to star.[12]

The film would not be made until three more years. Paul Douglas was cast in the lead and Warwick wanted Trevor Howard to co-star.[13][14] Filming took place in Austria in July 1955. Patricia Medina was meant to co-star, but then was called in for another commitment, on a Sam Katzman film. Eva Bartok took her place.[15]

Writer Louis Pollack would be blacklisted for five years, having been confused for a clothier with the same name who refused to give testimony to the House of Un-American Activities Committee.[16]

See also


  1. F Maurice Speed, Film Review 1956-57, Macdonald & Co 1956
  2. The Gamma People at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. p.14 Aldrich, Robert with Arnold, Edwin T. & Miller, Eugene L. Robert Aldrich: InterviewsUniv. Press of Mississippi, 2004
  4. McGee, Mark Thomas; Robertson, R.J. (2013). "You Won't Believe Your Eyes". Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-273-2. Page 254
  5. "Pat Medina Set In 'The Gamma People'". The Hartford Courant. October 9, 1955. p. A9. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  6. "British woman, 36, claims she is Sinatra's daughter". Chicago Tribune. August 17, 1994. p. 2. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  7. "Rilla Joins 'Gamma People'". The Hartford Courant. September 11, 1955. p. D12. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  8. METRO ACQUIRES TWO NEW STORIES: 'Millionth Man' and 'General Came Home' Bought — Greer Garson in 'Burning Secret' To Produce "Gamma People" Of Local Origin. The New York Times 20 June 1951: 23.
  9. RANDOM OBSERVATIONS ON THE SCREEN SCENE: Mankiewicz Makes Movie in the Middle East — Of Helen Hokinson — Addenda. By A.H. Weiler. The New York Times 29 July 1951: 75.
  10. Drama: Night Club Sparklers Invade West; Dieterle Adds to London Trend Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 1 Dec 1951: A7.
  11. U.S. TAX HELD DOOM TO 6,000 THEATRES New York Times 15 Aug 1952: 11.
  12. Looking at Hollywood: Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer Will Co-star in Dore Schary Movie. Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 15 Aug 1952: a6.
  13. RITA HAYWORTH SUES FILM STUDIO: Actress Seeks Full Payment of Salary, Court Approval of End to Contract By Thomas M. Pryors, New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y., 09 Apr 1955: 8.
  14. 'Vanishing American' Will Star Scott Brady. Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune, 23 Apr 1955: 17.
  15. HERBERT SORRELL LOSES WAGE SUIT: Former Coast Labor Leader Key Figure in 1945 Studio Strike, Sought $20,270 The New York Times 23 July 1955: 10.
  16. BLACKLIST TRAPS A SCREEN WRITER: Louis Pollock Is 'Convicted' Without His Knowledge in Mistaken Identity Case. By MURRAY SCHUMACHSpecial to The New York Times..18 Dec 1959: 34.
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