The Elevator (1974)

Genre: Made-for-TV Disaster Movie

After watching made-for-TV disaster movies in the late 70’s/early 80’s, such as Hanging by a Thread (1979), I was more or less put off by them. Hanging By a Thread and a few others I saw followed the same premise of a group of people stuck in a situation where there was no escape. In Hanging By a Thread, the unlucky people were trapped in a cable car, dangling high above the ground. If my memory serves me correctly, I think there was also one where a similar group of people were also trapped in a cave. I maybe wrong.

Anyway, I would settle down in front of the TV for what I was expecting to be some great cliff-hanger viewing on a par with the The Towering Inferno (1974) or The Poseidon Adventure (1972), but my young hopes were soon dashed. The characters in the plot would all be connected to each other in some way and in the middle of all the suspense, one of the characters would start thinking about an event which happened in their past and how they have the connection to one of the others trapped. It would be something like a secret love affair or being two-timed by their partner. These little melodramatic vignettes would take place for each character through the entire film's running time and any action was only secondary. Once these irritating characters were rescued they would have come to terms successfully with their past. This was smultsy insipid TV at it’s worst and would only have appealed to the bored Thursday afternoon housewife who’d just had her prescription renewed for valium, had finished her housework, and wanted a rest from reading her Mills & Boon.
 There was a short satire of one of these scenes during the comedy disaster movie Airplane! (1980). For me, being so badly cheated out of some great disaster movie entertainment caused me to stay clear of any 1970’s made-for-TV disaster movies from then on… That is, until now.

The Elevator is different. It’s actually worth watching - and it’s good!

Made with a cast of old movie stars and good character actors, The Eevator begins with a security guard entering a tower block carrying a brief case containing cash. A very dignified elederly lady, Amanda Kenyon (Myrna Loy), also enters the tower block. They both climb in side the elevator.
 Mrs Kenyon arrives at the office of Marvin Ellis (Roddy McDowall), whose job it is is to find new residents for the newly completed, or should I say still in the stages of completion, tower block.

Mrs Kenyon has come to look at a penthouse suite for her son, so Marvin takes her up to the top floor in the elevator. Meanwhile, the security guard delivers the briefcase of cash to a wealthy business executive who is also on one of the top floors.
 Marvin wants to show Mrs Kenyon an already completed fully-furbished apartment, so he takes her to see one which is owned Dr. Stuart Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds uses his as his psychiatric consulting room. While his wife is in the other room, Dr Reynolds kisses his nurse/receptionist. He is obviously having a secret love affair. Meanwhile, out in the hallway a mother and her late teen’s son argue. The boy is spoilt brat.

In the basement arrives a car carrying Eddie Holcomb (James Farentino), his girlfriend Wendy (Arlene Golonka) and Pete Howarth (Don Stroud). They know about the arrival of money at the business exec’s office and are on their way to rob it.

Eddie and Pete enter the elevator and make their way to the top of the building. Eddie struggles with his claustrophobia.

On entering the office of the businessman, Pete shoots dead the exec and they both leave hurriedly with Eddie carrying the briefcase of money. Eddie enters the elevator with all the other characters and some workmen, except that is, Pete, who can’t get in and has to take the other elevator.

The elevator stops a few floors down and the workmen wheel out the heavy box they were carrying as the elevator shudders from the weight. Cut to the elevator pulley systems loosening themselves from the ceiling of the elevator shaft.

The elevator’s doors close and it begins its descent, when suddenly it grinds to a holt. There is concern amongst those inside and their calls for help go unanswered. This is mainly because the elevator hasn’t had the emergency phone fitted and also because the tower block is emptying for the exra-long holiday weekend. Only a few security guards will be left on patrol.

This all becomes too much for the claustrophobic Eddie, who begins to freak-out and lose control. Eddie ends up waving the briefcase around as Dr Reynolds tries to subdue him. It isn’t long before the briefcase opens and the contents falls out. Everyone realizes that Eddie has stolen it and to make matters worse the un-controllable Eddie gets his gun out.

Meanwhile in the basement Pete and Wendy realize something is wrong because Eddie hasn’t arrived, but they are told to leave by the security guard because the tower block is about to be closed-up.

Returning undercover that evening, the trigger-happy Pete realizes the elevator is jammed and goes up to rescue Eddie and the money. Without hesitation he kills a security guard, but not before the security guard has notified the police of the murder of the business man.

Now it’s a race for time for Pete to rescue Eddie, who is becoming more and more unstable in the elevator. Also every minute or sudden movement of the elevator brings the elevator closer to hurtling down the elevator shaft.

At only 65 minutes running time, this movie is short and sweet. It builds nicely from the beginning as we are introduced to each character and the scenes inside the trapped elevator are tense with the claustrophobic Eddie lashing out in the confined space at those around him. Things get worse when he pulls out his gun and starts making demands. This is all performed well by James Farentino.

Don Stroud is good as his psychopathic character shoots his victims without remorse. Is he interested in helping his friend Eddie or does he just want the money at any cost? One cost being that there is an elevator full of witnesses to the stolen money and they can’t be allowed to live.

Roddy McDowall is great as always. In the beginning he’s the typical salesman, but once trapped in the elevator and facing certain death he confesses that the tower block has been built on the cheap and is riddled with problems.

This film is a real time-piece from the 1970’s, with it fashions and attitudes, but nevertheless it is an entertaining way to spend 65 minutes.

Hercules against the Moon Men (1964)

Genre: Italian Peplum / Sword and Sandal

A meteor crashes into a mountain in ancient Greece and from that moment on selected towns-folk are taken to the mountain, now aptly named the Mountain of Death, to be sacrificed to the creatures who now inhabit it.

A wise advisor goes to the young Queen Samara (Jany Clair) and tells her he has called for the help of a man who will be able to save them and he is on his way – this man is Hercules!

That night the Queen is visited by an apparition of an ancient alien (something which would please the “father of the ancient astronaut theory” Erich Von Daniken) and commands her to kill Hercules. Following his command, the Queen dispatches her soldiers to intercept Hercules and to kill him.
An ancient astronaut
 Hercules (Sergio Ciani as Alan Steel) is making his way through the countryside when he is suddenly attacked. He is able to beat-up the small army single-handedly and arrives in the town and informs the Queen’s advisor of the incident. The Queen’s advisor realizes it was the Queen’s soldiers who had attacked Hercules.
A beast in the catacombs

Hercules meets the adviser’s beautiful daughter Agar (Anna Maria Polani) before the advisor takes him into the Mountain of Death to attempt to save the town. Walking through the mountain’s narrow catacombs, the advisor is killed by some spikes which shoot out from the wall, and Hercules falls into a pit which soon starts to fill with water.
The Queen and her sister

Hercules is able to free himself just in the nick-of-time and then beats-up a hairy beast. Suddenly Agar arrives and she offers to lead Hercules to where the alien creatures are, but Hercules’ plans are thwarted and he returns to the town.

Romance soon begins to blossom between Hercules and Agar, but it isn’t long before Hercules is captured by the Queen. In the Queen’s bed chamber she believes Hercules to be under her spell and tries to seduce him, but they are interrupted when the Queen’s guards bring Agar and the Queen’s sister’s boyfriend to her. The Queen asks Hercules what they should do with the two prisoners, so Hercules, still pretending to be under the Queen’s powers, suggests they lock them up and let them starve to death.
Hercules on the giant spiked rack.
 When the Queen tells Hercules the secret of the mountain and the whereabouts of the aliens Hercules tells her he is going there to save the town. Quickly the Queen vanashies through a secret door in the wall.

Hercules enters the mountain again and soon discovers Agar and the sister’s boyfriend, but not before Hercules is captured and put on a giant spiked rack. In the meantime, the Queen takes her beautiful large chested sister into the mountain and has her held captive by the aliens. The aliens slowly drip her blood onto the corpse of an ancient witch who they are attempting to revive.
The Queen seduces Hercules

Hercules is able to smash his way out of the spiked rack and makes his way back to the town and calls on the town’s people to help him destroy the aliens. They make their way to the Mountain of Death and once inside Hercules battles some giant rock men. In the meantime, Agar is rolling around lost in an inhospitable terrain.
Hercules throws a rock man

Will Hercules defeat the evil Queen and the aliens? Will he rescue the beautiful Queen’s sister before she is drained of blood? And will he find Agar?

This is real kids Saturday matinee B-movie entertainment. As Italian peplums go, this isn’t too bad, although it does slow down a bit in parts. There are some nice touches such as statues which work as audio bugging devices so the Queen can listen in on conversations around her palace, and some of the monsters are pretty good.

Sergio Ciani (Alan Steel) who plays Hercules spends his whole time oiled-up and flexing his muscles. He was one of the few Italians to play these beef-cake parts during the 1950’s and 60’s with most being predominantly British or American.

For me, it’s the actresses who really carry this movie, with each one - the Queen, Agar, and the Queen’s sister - all being great eye-candy.

Like many of these peplum movies, it can be a bit talky in parts, and I would have liked to have seen more of the aliens because this was a good concept of mixing peplum and science fiction.

This was the last film directed by Giacomo Gentilomo because afterwards he left the business and devoted his time to painting.

The photography, I’m guessing, is probably quite good in parts – I’m saying “I’m guessing” because the copy I watched was a pan and scan version taken from a really tatty 16mm print. This movie is part of the Warriors 50 Movie Pack Collection which compiles 50 Italian peplum movies. The quality of many of these is similar to this one, but at $26.99, it’s a bargain.

Winter of the Witch (1969)

Nicky and his mother's new house
Genre: Children's Entertainment with a Hint of Psychedelia

Taken from a children’s book by Harry Devlin and Wende Devlin called Old Black Witch, this 24 minute film adaptation produced by Parents Magazine Film Inc. and narrated by Burgess Meredith is a treat to watch.

Young Nicky (Roger Morgan) and his mother (Anna Strasberg) sell there apartment in the city and go to the countryside. There they visit estate agent who suggests a large house for them to buy. They agree to buy it and head off to see their new home.
The old witch
 Once Nicky and his mother have gone, the estate agent goes to the back of the office and tells his brother that they have finally sold the haunted house.

Nicky and his mother arrive at their new home and enter to find it’s in need of a good clean. They both get to work when they are interrupted by an elderly witch. The witch tells them that they can not stay there because it is her home and she’s been living there for two hundred years. Nicky’s mum refuses to go, so the witch agrees to live in the attic.

The witch spends her days and nights sitting in the attic reading the newspaper, but sadly becomes more and more depressed as she reads about the terrible things happening in the world.

One day Nicky goes up to visit her and she explains how she is old and is gradually losing her power and will eventually just fade away. She tells Nicky of the old days when the house was full of witches and she would cook magic food for them.
Nicky invites the Witch to come and cook for him and his mother

Nicky suggests that she should come down and cook some magic food for him and his mother, and they would in return make the witch feel welcome. The witch agrees and goes down to the kitchen where she cooks her magic blueberry pancakes.

Nicky’s mother tries a magic pancake which causes the picture to freeze and some strange psychedelic dots to dance around in front of her face. After she’s eaten it, Nicky’s mum feels very happy and so Nicky tries one with the same results. It should be noted that after eating the pancakes and feeling very happy, the characters are each left holding a flower (very flower power).
Nicky trips-out after eating a magic pancake
 It isn’t long before there is a knock at the door and the two local busy-bodies from the local Women's Guild arrive. They soon start putting down Nicky’s mother and so she invites them to sit in the living room and to eat some magic pancakes. This they do, which results in more psychedelic patterns and they, too, leave the house happily carrying a flower each.

Nicky and his mother decide to have a magic pancake party for everyone in the area, which is a huge success with everyone feeling very happy.
Everyone ends up holding a flower
 This was directed by Gerald Herman who has had a 40-year career in theatre, film and television in U.S.A., Europe, Australia and Asia. Since 1990, Herman has been based in Singapore and Vietnam.


Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966)

Genre: Science Fiction B-Movie

This movie is a turkey, but not as bad as could be expected.

A spaceship, The Commos 3, is traveling through space. On board are a mixture of humans and Centaurians. The Centaurians have the look of Asians, hence are made up of  by an Asian cast. All is well, when suddenly some Centaurians rebel and take the crew hostage and demand to be taken to another planet. In the ensuing commotion, the spaceship collides with a planet and crashes onto its surface.
Meanwhile, another spaceship, Comsmos 1, picks up the distress signal and makes its way to the planet to rescue them. Admiral King (Wendell Corey) is on board and they, too, also have some Centaurians as passengers, notably the pretty Linda (Irene Tsu).

They land on the surface of the planet and realize their journey, although relatively quick, had been the equivalent to eighteen years on the planet’s surface. They soon realize that the crew from the missing spaceship’s chances of survival is pretty low.
An inebriated Wendell Corey
Regardless of this, a search party is sent out to look for any signs of them. They are headed by Commander Scott (Keith Larsen), with Dr. Farrell (John Agar), a really annoying Lt. Bradley (Paul Gilbert), who is the comic relief character, the chief (Stuart Margolin) and the expendable unknown actor. The group have to do battle with a superimposed giant lizard, which is replaced by a rubber one when it is killed; a real snake which fills the search party with terror. I’m sure in the script it probably asked for a giant snake, but when it came to filming, a real-life boa was used which doesn’t look terrifying at all, and a large hopping giant fake spider, which causes its unlucky victim to die of fright (not laughter).
Linda (Irene Tsu)
There is one ridiculous scene where the search party have to cross a pool of boiling oil. They decide the only way across is balancing along a wooden pole while holding onto some vine. You've guessed it, this is where the expendable unknown actor dies. All the time while watching this scene, the viewer will be asking themselves why the search party didn’t walk around the pool as there is clearly a way.

After finding the destroyed Cosmos 3, the search party concludes that all its crew are dead, so they return back to their ship.
Linda with Tang in his cave
Meanwhile, back on the spaceship, Linda, defies the Admiral’s orders and goes outside for a walk (!). It’s not long before Linda has found a beautiful pool of water and is swimming naked (nothing shown) in the pool while humming a merry tune. What is it about women in these films? As soon as they see a nice pool of water, they defy all logic that they could be on an un-hospitable planet and decide to remove their clothing and go bathing.  Well, you’ve guessed it again: she is captured by a native man who takes her unconscious back to his cave.
The search party
Back on the spaceship, they soon realize that Linda has gone outside and is now missing, so Admiral King sends out the returning search party to search for her.

Back in the native’s cave, Linda awakens and soon falls in love with the native Tang (Robert Ito). She soon finds out that Tang is in fact also a Centaurian, and is the sole survivor of the Cosmos 3.

This relationship between Linda and Tang becomes similar to Tarzan and Jane as they fall deeply in love. Tang even has a pet chimp. The trouble is, their new idyllic existence suddenly comes to an end when they are attacked by some mutant cavemen. In the ensuing commotion, the search party also discovers Linda and rescues her, but not before shooting Tang.

Linda is brought back to the spaceship just as a volcano erupts, spewing stock footage of molten lava. The Cosmos 1 then prepares to blast-off when the love-sick Linda escapes to look for Tang.

Will she find her lover? Is he dead or alive? Will they be engulfed in molten lava?

This film was based on a script called Prehistoric Planet, but producer Jack Broder decided to change it to “Women of…” because he thought it would be better for marketing. To justify his decision he filmed three native girls frolicking in the pond and waterfall, but these scenes never made it into the final cut of the movie, though they do appear in the movies’ trailer. What we are left with is a film with no women of the prehistoric planet, except, that is, if you count Linda.
Wendell Corey attempts to act sober
On the subject of Linda, she is so cute! Played by Chinese born actress, Irene Tsu, who was once a winner in the San Francisco "Miss Chinatown" beauty pageant in 1961, her career spanned TV and film. She appeared in many episodes of cult TV shows and also appeared along side Elvis Presley in Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966).

Wendell Corey, who plays Admiral David King, sounds drunk throughout the film - his voice noticeably slurring while he and the other male crew members wear very un-fetching tight white outfits that really show off there pot-bellies and middle aged-spread.
The special effects in this film are horrendous and are more in line with the Flash Gordon serials from the late 1930’s, with similar shaped rockets hanging on pieces of string and flown over very noticeable model planet terrain. Even the volcano in the background has smoke rising from it done in such away that it was probably a lit cigarette butt which had been stuck in side and the smoke allowed to drift out.

Saying all of that, there are a couple of quite interesting and intelligent ideas in this film, notably a statement on race issues.

All in all, this film makes for an interesting curiosity.

Teenage Twins (1976)

Genre: 70's Porn

During the Golden Age of Porn in the 1970’s a few films really pushed the mark with what is taboo, notably Water Power (1977), which was based on the true crime story of the Enema Bandit, and Long Jeanne Silver (1977) featuring Long Jeanne Silver, who was a famous amputee who could use the stump of her leg to give pleasure to other women. Another film which broke the taboos was Teenage Twins, and as the title suggests, starred two female twins.
Mum and her two twin daughters
Both these girls look quite straight and conservative, and could easily be imagined running a bring-and-buy stall at a local church fete, but don’t be deceived because these girls know no bounds when it comes to sex - especially when it’s full-blown lesbianism between the two of them.

Prudence (Taylor Young) and Hope (Brooke Young) are connected by a mysterious link. This is the mysterious link that real-life twins are supposed to have and even when far apart they can sense what is happening to the other. With this being a porno, they experience each other's desires and pleasures.
Professor Robert Petrie discusses the Necromonicon with mum.

The film opens with the stuck-up Prudence having breakfast with her mum (Claire Wakefield) and stepfather Gerald (Leo Lovemore). Gerald tells everyone at the table that he has to go away for a couple of days to Boston because a very rare book on black magic called the Necromonicon has just been discovered, but before he leaves the uptight Prudence has an argument with him and storms off to her bedroom.

In her room, she can sense that her twin sister is making love and so masturbates herself by rubbing the spine of a Bible up and down against her bare crotch. It’s not long before her sister Hope returns home and climbs naked into the double bed they both share together. Cue some pump and grind lesbianism. One thing I can say is these two girls aren’t shy.
Hope is about to get it on with her stepfather

Next we see the mother with a male friend in the living room. He is Professor Robert Petrie (Eric Edwards) and this scene is so ridiculous. I laughed as I imagined how the director must have told the actors what to do:

“Now, Claire, I would like you to sit on the sofa semi-naked and Eric, I want you to stand next to her facing the camera and tell her how the Necromonicon is one of the greatest books on black magic ever written, and say how the Necromicon isn’t about magic - it is magic. Can you say that every single first-hand report on that book indicates that the spells it teaches really work. Then, Claire, honey, I want you to get out Eric’s dick and give him a blowjob.”

Suddenly Hope walks in and catches the two in action. She demands that Professor Petrie must make love to her while her mother watches. With a demand like that from a daughter, you would think Professor Petrie and the mother would be rather concerned… not likely! Professor Petrie is out of his clothes quicker than a blink of an eye and is having sex with the naked Hope who rests her head upon her mother’s lap while her mother seems to enjoy caressing her.
After a threesome they discuss black magic

Most of the remaining time in this 67 minute movie is taken up with various sexual situations including the twins pretending to be each other with Prudence pretending to be Hope and being given some cunninglingus by Hope’s boyfriend, and Hope pretending to be Prudence as she seduces her stepfather – demanding at one point to not be fucked in the cunt, but in her arse.

Later, the stepfather and Professor Petrie have a quick threesome with Prudence. When they've finished, the stepfather, with the book now in his possession, tells Professor Petrie that he has no problem with him having an affair with his wife and blames it on the hidden powers of the Necromonican. He also blames the threesome they’ve just had on the book, too.

Next he suggests they do a black magic ritual so as to break the link between the two sisters. The other two agree, but first they must find another three people to take part because the ritual can only be performed with six people. That’s no problem because they ask for help from the mother, Hope and her boyfriend.
The final scene

The final scene involves five of them naked, sitting around a black magic pentacle on the living room floor while Prudence lies in the middle. Then each of the men takes it in turn to have sex with her. I love 70’s porn with black magic rituals! I’m not going to say much more about this final scene except that the very end is a real corker and had me laughing.

This film is a hoot and the dialog rates about 9 out of 10 on the ‘stupidity scale’ and it is delivered with such deadpan seriousness between all the scenes of wanton sex.

All the sex scenes are accompanied by some great funky disco music, which is really catchy and begins as soon as the actors finish discussing black magic and begin getting into the hot stuff. Amazingly, a soundtrack album has since been released.

Directed by Carter Stevens, who churned out these movies as well as performing in others throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. One question that’s left begging to be answered, whatever happened to Brooke and Taylor Young?

Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

Genre: Japanese Monster Movie

During the height of World War II, inside Nazi Germany some German troops burst into the laboratory of a mad scientist and remove a box to the scientist's frustration.

The box is taken by submarine and handed over to the Japanese, where it makes its way to Japan and the laboratory of some more scientists. Inside the box is the Frankenstein monster’s heart. It just happens that this Japanese laboratory is in Hiroshima and we all no what happens next.
Fifteen years later in Hiroshima, Dr. James Bowen (Nick Adams), the beautiful Dr. Sueko Togami (Kumi Mizuno), and Dr. Yuzo Kawaji (Tadao Takashima) are busy working in a hospital.
On her way home, Dr. Sueko Togami sees a strange figure cross her path. It turns out that the strange character has been terrorizing the local neighborhood by killing the pets. The authorities believe it is a homeless teenage boy.
One evening while Sueko is entertaining Dr Bowen at her apartment, they hear a commotion outside and looking from the window they see the homeless mutant boy lying in the road after being hit by car. Luckily he is not injured, so Sueko throws him some food from her window.
Sometime later, while Sueko and Dr Bowen are walking along the beach, there is another commotion as some children spot the homeless boy in the nearby cliffs. The police, with Sueko and Dr Bowen, go to investigate and find the boy living in a cave. The boy is afraid and aggressive, but when Sueko approaches he isn’t so, and he is taken back to the hospital for care.
The three doctors try to discover who the boy's parents are, but are unsuccessful, although in their research they find that the boy is immune to radiation and that there might be some connection between him and the atomic bomb. The boy continues to show aggression, but Sueko continues to have a calming affect over him.
Next the doctors discover that the boy is continually growing and eventually he becomes the height of “four men” and has to be kept in a large cage.
The doctors are able to track down one of the original Japanese scientists from the World War II laboratory and he explains that there could be a connection between the boy and the heart of the monster that they had received from Germany.
The doctors then fly to Germany where they are able to meet the mad scientist. The scientist explains that there is away to find out if the boy derived from the monster’s heart, and that is to cut off one of his limbs. Afterwards, another limb will grow in its place, and the severed limb would continue to stay alive.
On returning to Japan, the doctors discover that the giant boy has escaped and in the commotion had severed a hand. The hand has been discovered crawling around an the floor.
Furankenshutain, as the boy is called, makes his way to an area of Japan where there are mountains and a cool climate and finds a home in a giant cave. The doctors reason that he has gone their because he was originally from a cool part of Europe, so he feels more comfortable in the climate of this area.
At the same time as Furankenshutain is hiding in this area, a strange prehistoric dinosaur called Baragon, which has bizarre looking rabbit ears and a glowing horn, begins terrorizing the area. The authorities don't realize there is a dinosaur on the loose and believe it is Furankenshutain and so plan to kill him.
Meanwhile, the doctors reluctantly except that Furankenshutain has to be killed, and Dr. Togami draws up a plan to attack Furankenshutain’s eye’s and by killing him this way, they can sever some of his organs and store them for research, knowing that the organs will never die. Dr. Togami sets off to complete this task and because this is a Japanese monster movie, we know there will be a penultimate battle between Furankenshutain and Baragon. Who will be the victor and will Dr. Togami succeed?

This Toho Studios Japanese monster movie is good fun, and completely far-fetched. It wouldn’t be of surprise to know that this was directed by the prolific Ishirô Honda, who was responsible for many of these Toho monster movies.

American actor, Nick Adams, who plays Dr. James Bowen appears in this film with his voiced dubbed into Japanese. On a side note, Adams was a good friend of James Dean and played many “troubled teenager” roles in the 1950’s. Sadly, he died in 1968 from an accidental overdose of drugs he was taking for a nervous disorder.

Dr. Yuzo Kawaji is not your usual white coated doctor and has a fairly sinister streak, first with wanting to sever one of Furankenshutain’s limbs, followed by wanting to attack his eyes.

One part of the film's plot which seemed to be developing, but suddenly disappeared, was when we were first introduced to the three doctors who are treating terminally ill girl. She gives Dr. Bowen a cushion she has made, knowing that she hasn't got long left to live. I was expecting there to be some type of follow up, but she later disappears from the story.

All in all, this is a fun movie with some silly logic and will easily keep you amused for 90 minutes. There was a follow up to this film called The War of the Gargantuas (1966).

You can read a review of Shirô Honda’s flying submarine / lost civilization movie, Atragon here.

Frankenstein Conquers the World can be found on DVD here

Forces Occultes (Occult Forces) (1943)

Genre: Nazi Wartime Propaganda / Anti-Fremasonary

This is an interesting 50 minute piece of Nazi propaganda from the Vichy era in occupied France during World War II and portrays a paranoid conspiracy concerning Freemasonry.

Pierre Avenel (Maurice Rémy) gives a passionate and rousing speech in the French parliament on how the poor and bourgeoisie are destroying the country. Two listeners discuss how Avenel should be invited to join their Masonic Lodge because he would be of benefit to it. Avenel is approached with the idea and he accepts, believing that it would benefit his political career.
Meanwhile his wife speaks to her friend about her concerns for Avenel and how Freemasons are “mediocre social climbers.”
We are then taken through the many rituals and customs which are performed by the new initiative as he becomes a Freemason. Avenel is warned by the Grand Master of the lodge that he must support his Freemason brothers no matter what, and is told:

“If you betray your oath, you will not escape the vengeance of the brothers spread out across the world and who have sworn to punish perjury”.
In next to no time the lodge members are bombarding Avenel with requests for privileges and help including helping them to escape their charges for petty crime. It’s not surprising that seeing this is Nazi propaganda that the first member to ask for help just happens to be Jewish. Following him is a mixture of shady characters and second-rate businessmen
Avenel starts to become uncomfortable about what he’s let himself into and soon realizes the power of the Freemason goes right to the top of government. The Freemasons are unconcerned for the welfare of France and their only concern is to better themselves.
Things come to a head when at a meeting the Freemasons suggest that France should attack Germany because:

“It will be easy to fight National Socialism whose ceaseless demands are becoming intolerable… and liberate our brother’s reduced to slavery.”
This is all too much for Avenel and he stands up and interrupts the speaker, telling the shocked lodge that what they are being told is untrue. Because of this outburst, plans are made to discredit Avenel, first by physically attacking him one night on his way home and then telling the newspapers of sexual misconduct and drug abuse resulting in him being labeled a psychopath.
While Avenel recovers in his hospital bed, he is told that France has attacked Germany with the help of a Jewish influence.
This film was commissioned in 1942 by the Propaganda Abteilung which was part of the German propaganda ministry in occupied France. When France was finally liberated, the film's writer Jean Marquès-Rivière, its producer Robert Muzard and its director Jean Mamy were purged for collaboration with the enemy. On 25 November 1945, Muzard was condemned to 3 years in prison and Robert Muzard, who had fled, was condemned to death in his absence. Mamy was also condemned to death and executed at the fortress of Montrouge on 29 March 1949.

Maurice Rémy, who played Pierre Avenel ended up settling in Argentina in 1949. I wonder if he had any new German neighbors while he was there.
This film is worth watching for those interested in Nazi wartime propaganda as well as those with an interest in the rituals and inner workings of the Freemasons. My guess is that the rituals and initiation ceremony are probably fairly accurate, giving the viewer the chance to see something which otherwise only takes place behind closed doors.
This film is worth checking out as a fascinating oddity, a piece of odious wartime propaganda and an insider’s look at Freemasonry. I’ll have to try and remember that Freemason’s handshake next time I meet someone important.

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