Sunday, September 1, 2013


Directed by
Herbert L. Strock
Written by Tom Taggert (screenplay), Richard G. Taylor (additional dialog), and Ivan Tors (story)
Starring Richard Egan, Constance Dowling, Herbert Marshall, John Wengraf, William Schallert
IMDB Entry

Let’s face it:  modern science fiction films are stupid.  I don’t mean that they’re bad, or even poorly written, but there’s no attempt to portray intelligent scientists at work; it’s usually just action and monsters, devolving into alien invasion films that just are an excuse to spread alien and human blood all over the screen.* But in the 50s, even monster movies were given at least some scientific rationale behind matters.  Gog, while dumb in many ways, at least tries to avoid being stupid.

Producer Ivan Tors considered this part of his “Office of Scientific Investigation” trilogy, where the fictional agency looked into monsters and aliens threatening US security.  Tors went all out with this one, filming in color and in 3D.

Gog is set in a super-secret underground lab, where Dr. David Sheppard is summoned by director Dr. Van Ness (Herbert Marshall) in order to investigate some mysterious murders.  Sheppard is given a tour of the facility by his (top secret) girlfriend, Joanna Merritt (Constance Dowling) and begins to focus on the abrasive Dr. Zeitman, who is responsible for the facility’s computer, NOVAC, and who has developed two robots, Gog and Magog to perform work.

I wouldn’t say anything about the plot is a surprise, and much of it is silly,** but the movie is entertaining and there’s an attempt to show scientists at work and to make a scientific rationale for all that goes on.

The film was cheaply made despite the color and 3D, shot entirely in a studio and probably was successful due to its low budget. 

Tors moved from movie to TV, producing Science Fiction Theater, Sea Hunt, Ripcord, Flipper, and Daktari.

*Critic Darrel B. Schweitzer remarked after seeing 12 Monkeys that it would be the last bit of intelligent science fiction Hollywood would make. The prediction is depressingly close to be accurate.

** Gog and Magog may have been sinister in 1954, but the look goofy today.

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