The Gamma People (1956)

Article #910 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-11-2003
Posting Date: 2-8-2004
Directed by John Gilling
Featuring Paul Douglas, Eva Bartok, Leslie Phillips

Two reporters get stranded in a small European country that is under the yolk of a scientist performing experiments with human intelligence.

If this movie had been incompetently directed and acted, it would probably have a reputation as an amazingly bad movie; as it is, it is one of the strangest science fiction movies of the fifties and totally unlike anything else I’ve seen. The basic story is a straightforward mad scientist variation with horror overtones, but most of the movie seems to have been plotted, written and acted as if it is a mythical-kingdom high comedy; certainly, the staggering amount of coincidence in the plot (especially the circumstances by which the two reporters end up stranded in the country) certainly owes more to comedy than to science fiction or horror. Nevertheless, the SF/Horror aspects are played straight and seem to come from a totally different movie; in fact, the movie quite often jumps back and forth between the two approaches so abruptly that one is often at a loss to know to react to the proceedings. Nonetheless, many individual moments work very well indeed, in both the comedy and horror aspects, though there are times when it is painfully obvious that the dubbing for the outdoor scenes was handled indoors. Paul Douglas and Leslie Phillips are quite good in their respective roles. All in all, this is one of the most baffling oddities of fifties science fiction.

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