Engineer Garin’s Hyperboloid (1965)

aka Giperboloid inzhenera Garina, The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin

Article 3568 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-29-2011
Posting Date: 5-22-2011
Directed by Aleksandr Gintsburg
Featuring Evgeni Evstigneev, Vsevolod Safonov, Mikhaie Astangov
Country: Soviet Union
What it is: Science fiction thriller

An engineer has developed a ray that can penetrate the earth’s crust and find an unlimited source of gold… and can also be used to destroy his enemies.

You know, there’s nothing quite as disappointing as going into a movie with a word like “hyperboloid” in the title in the hope that the word will describe some clever new science fiction concept, and then to discover it stands for a concept as trite and overused as a death ray. In fact, for part of its running time, it looked like the death ray was going to be just another in a long line of Gizmo Maguffins, in which the whole plot revolves around people getting their hands on it rather than its actual use. To its credit, the movie actually does more with the concept than that; and it’s a lot of fun when the death ray is actually put to use. The movie is light on propaganda, has some nice stylistic touches, and sets its actions in the twenties, when the death ray concept was much more prevalent. On the down side, the movie is more than a little confusing; I was a good ways in before I could sort out the characters, and it may take an additional viewing to sort out the whole plot. Still, this was one movie that I liked better as it went along.


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