Science Friction (1959)

Article 5430 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-20-2017
Directed by Stan Vanderbeek
No cast as such
Country: USA
What it is: Experimental film

No plot.

We may be in the realm of experimental film again, but at least this one hones close enough to genre content that it’s of more interest than most of the others I’ve seen. That’s because science seems to be the central theme here. This film uses photographs, stills and images and animates them in much the same way Terry Gilliam would later do for “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”; in fact, there are times here where you might think you were watching Gilliam’s work, especially when a hammer runs around smashing any image it feels like smashing. We see images of Lon Chaney Jr. in MAN-MADE MONSTER as well as the Frankenstein monster, and there’s a sequence that looks like a parody of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There are also lots of rockets; in fact, there are lots of images of rocket-like buildings that become rockets during the course of this short, such as the Washington Monument and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. What does it all mean? I can’t say, but it was no doubt inspired by the space race, given the year it was made. I enjoyed this one.

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