THE LUCIFER COMPLEX (1978)
Article 5015 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Kenneth Hartford and David L. Hewitt
Featuring Robert Vaughn, Merrie Lynn Ross, Keenan Wynn
What it is: What happens when you don’t quite have enough footage for a full feature and someone comes along and fixes it
A guy in a cave watches footage of a spy uncovering a Nazi plot in 1986.
I’ve been unable to get any other confirmation of this, but the John Stanley guide says it looks like an unsold TV pilot was padded to feature length and then sold directly to television. Two thirds of the movie is dedicated to a story about a spy played by Robert Vaughn uncovering a plot by Nazis to start a Fourth Reich through the use of cloning. All the big names in the cast are in this section, and I believe this part was the pilot. The other third has a guy wandering around an island and then sitting at a computer in a cave watching this movie along with lots of stock footage. The two-thirds of the movie with Vaughn is pretty bad; it’s cheap, unconvincing, silly, and it’s easy to see why it wouldn’t have sold if it was a pilot. But at least it works up a modicum of energy, which is more than the island/computer footage manages to do; this latter footage is almost totally worthless. Worse still, it’s that footage that kicks off the movie; the first 25 minutes of the movie is one of the driest, most interminable stretches of cinematic wasteland that you are likely to encounter, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many people watching this movie gave up after a few minutes. The movie apparently garnered some criticism for the Nazi/clones plot due to its similarity to THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL, and though it’s tempting to point out that since this movie had actually been made two years earlier in 1976, it actually predated the other movie, but that would be overlooking the fact that it still fails to predate the Ira Levin book on which the latter movie was based. At any rate, this movie is a waste of time, and I have to say that despite the fact that I’m a fan of Keenan Wynn, he has a seriously embarrassing role in this one.