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While the David Cronenberg remake with Jeff Goldblum is undoubtedly a classic all its own, the original with Vincent Price is a mesmerizing bit of horror that is great fun to watch, especially the closing moments. Filled with terrific special effects and a sharp story about a scientist who invents a machine that can transport matter but gets himself in trouble when he tries in himself with a fly in the chamber, this is a surprisingly effective thriller that still holds up today.
Price is utterly compelling but so too is Patricia Owens playing the wife of scientist André Delambre (David Hedison). While Cronenberg went for gore, the original, directed by Kurt Neumann was all about the scares and delivers some great cinematic moments. You’ll never look at a fly the same way again. It’s 93 minutes long and in color. “Help me!”
Any blockbuster special effects science fiction epic that begins with a love ballad by Frankie Avalon is well, honestly, a little strange. Imagine if The Dark Knight opened with a track by Justin Bieber. Hurts, don’t it? Yet’s that’s exactly what happens at the start of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and you’d be right in guessing it doesn’t exactly set the tone, but once you get past the lounge lizard vocals of the title track, thing pick up fast and the undersea adventure from blockbuster king Irwin Allen is a right fun flick with lots of cool adventures.
Using nuclear power to help the earth rather than ruin it, this clever little tale of a super sub manned by scientists to stop a worldwide catastrophe is great campy fun that gets better with each passing year. You may have seen reruns of the TV series but you really have to see the movie that kicked it off. It’s a blast. 105 minutes, in color and loaded with tons of great visual effects. Hold your breath.
Sure, maybe you saw the 2008 version with Keanu Reeves about an alien and his laser-eyed robot that comes to Earth with an ultimatum, and thought, “Hey, I’ve already seen this one.” Well, we’re really sorry to say, but, no. No you haven’t. The original 1951 is a far better film and you’re doing yourself (and cinema) a disservice if you don’t watch this now. That’s our ultimatum. And if we had a laser-eyed robot, we’d used it.
Shot in black and white, the movie is a sharp social commentary on the state of humanity at the dawn of the nuclear age and features a powerfully good performance from Michael Rennie as Klaatu, the alien, who learns much about the ‘savages’ living on this planet. A fantastic score by Bernard Herrmann and excellent direction from Robert Wise, this is more than just a sci-fi flick, it’s a timely message that still resonates today. 91 minutes of black and white bliss. “Klaatu barada nikto.”
Okay, let’s get serious now, people. This is the big one. One of the greatest films in the genre, or of any in fact, Fritz Lang‘s 1927 masterpiece Metropolis is streaming on Netflix right freaking now and the good news, it isn’t just any Metropolis but the original, completely restored from a print found in a museum in Argentina back in 2008. This is history you’re watching. Think of it.
It’s an astonishingly good looking print that painstakingly reveals the film as first released, complete with English translated intertitles and a lush score. It’s amazing. No kidding. This is one of those movies that is on a list of films you know you have to watch before it’s too late but you keep putting it off. Well, stop it. Put your phone down. Grab some snacks, and watch this movie. It’s a classic tale of love between two classes of people and is as timely now as ever. Do it. You won’t regret it. 148 minutes of jaw-dropping cinema that’s nearly 100 years old.