Movie Diary 11/6/2018

unearthlystrangerUnearthly Stranger (John Krish, 1963). British sci-fi thriller, with a breathless opening seemingly inspired by Invasion of the Body Snatchers: a scientist (John Neville, Terry Gilliam’s Baron Munchausen) rushes across London to tell his story into a dictaphone, a warning to the rest of the world. He’s working on a project to astral-project human intelligence into different parts of the galaxy. The movie is remarkable for consistently choosing scenes and dialogue that feel exactly wrong for the storytelling; the script keeps flopping from one inert scene to the next. There are some effective touches: Neville noticing that his new bride (Gabriella Lucidi) never blinks, and his colleague (Kubrick regular Philip Stone, the immortal Delbert Grady from The Shining) spotting her picking up a red-hot casserole without bothering to slip on the oven mitts. From the screenwriter of The Brain that Wouldn’t Die. With Jean Smart and Patrick Newell (“Mother” from The Avengers). A maddening film, because the elements are there for a perfectly fine genre picture.

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