GAMMA PEOPLE, THE (director/writer: John Gilling; screenwriter: John Gossage/from the story by Louis Pollock; cinematographer: Ted Moore; editor: Jack Slade; music: George Melachrino; cast: Paul Douglas (Mike Wilson), Eva Bartok (Paula Wendt), Leslie Phillips (Howard Meade), Walter Rilla (Boronski), Philip Leaver (Koerner), Martin Miller (Lochner), Michael Caridia (Hugo Wendt), Pauline Drewett (Hedda Lochner), Jackie Lane (Anna), Olaf Pooley (Bikstein); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: John Gossage; Columbia; 1956-UK)
“A strange but uneven Ruritanian comedy sci-fi tale.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A strange but uneven Ruritanian comedy sci-fi tale directed by Brit filmmaker John Gilling (“The Man Inside”/”The Plague of the Zombies”/”The Reptile”), who cowrites it with producerJohn Gossage and bases it on the story by Louis Pollock.
American newspaper reporterMike Wilson (Paul Douglas) and British photographer Howard Meade (Leslie Phillips) play chess on a train while traveling across an unidentified Eastern bloc country, heading to cover a musical festival in Salzburg, and find their railroad car mysteriously gets unhooked from the train. They embark in an oppressive country they never heard of called Gudavia. After jailed for being spies by a bumbling colonel (Philip Leaver), they’re released the next day with apologies and while staying in a luxury hotel they find it odd there’s no way to telephone or telegraph the outside world. There’s also no transportation out of town. Finally they discover there’s a mad scientist, Dr. Boronski (Walter Rilla), who for the last five years has been the country’s dictator and is secretly experimenting with children and subjecting them to gamma rays. Some turn out geniuses without emotions while most others turn out to be imbecile goons, who do Boronski’s dirty work to control the population. With the help of Paula (Eva Bartok), a scientist forced to work for Boronski after he murdered her father, they burn down the crackpot’s lab and bring about his demise. The unlikely heroes save the country from a madman, and leave the country by car with Paula and two genius children (Pauline Drewett & Michael Caridia) they rescue after the pianist girl’s father was killed by Boronski’s goons.
The messy undeveloped film about mind control never comes together to make sense or was it properly executed, as it remains intriguing only for all the peculiar ideas it raises.
REVIEWED ON 10/27/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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