Fantastic Planets, Forbidden Zones, and Lost Continents: The 100 Greatest Science-Fiction Films
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Whether you judge by box office receipts, industry awards, or critical accolades, science fiction films are the most popular movies now being produced and distributed around the world. Nor is this phenomenon new. Sci-fi filmmakers and audiences have been exploring fantastic planets, forbidden zones, and lost continents ever since George Méliès’ 1902 film A Trip to the Moon. In this highly entertaining and knowledgeable book, film historian and pop culture expert Douglas Brode picks the one hundred greatest sci-fi films of all time.
Brode’s list ranges from today’s blockbusters to forgotten gems, with surprises for even the most informed fans and scholars. He presents the movies in chronological order, which effectively makes this book a concise history of the sci-fi film genre. A striking (and in many cases rare) photograph accompanies each entry, for which Brode provides a numerical rating, key credits and cast members, brief plot summary, background on the film’s creation, elements of the moviemaking process, analysis of the major theme(s), and trivia. He also includes fun outtakes, including his top ten lists of Fifties sci-fi movies, cult sci-fi, least necessary movie remakes, and “so bad they’re great” classics—as well as the ten worst sci-fi movies (“those highly ambitious films that promised much and delivered nil”). So climb aboard spaceship Brode and journey to strange new worlds from Metropolis (1927) to Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Murakami, 1980), a Roger Corman quickie, cast George Peppard, who appeared in a wide variety of film projects but today is perhaps best known for his roles in Westerns (How the West Was Won, 1962), as “Space Cowboy.” TRIVIA Though critics rightly praised Donald Sutherland’s performance as the womanizing member of the team, they noted that, as the Canadian-born actor was usually associated with less erotic, more cerebral roles, he appeared less typecast in his part than the other three stars. In
redesigned the narrative as a suspense story. The dual identity is immediately revealed to the viewer, though the other characters onstage do not suspect. THE PLOT Altruistic Dr. Henry Jekyll, hoping to transform himself from a decent person into a perfect one, concocts a potion that he believes will eliminate lust from his psyche. Instead, the process frees his dark side, which takes the form of Edward Hyde, a street thug, rapist, and eventual killer. As Hyde, the central character pursues a
the exotic Lota, whom he believes to be a native girl. Ultimately, Parker grasps that she’s a hybrid, half-human and half-panther. Concerned for his well-being, Ruth Thomas, his fiancée, searches the South Seas, finally arriving at Moreau’s island. She comes face to face with both the beast-woman, who wants Parker for her own, and the white-suited, whip-wielding, ever-sneering, diabolical Moreau. THE FILM Following the success of Frankenstein, every studio wanted to produce a similar film. At
precisely what then are the boundaries? And how are they configured in this volume? Perhaps no one has so succinctly captured the heart, soul, and mind of the sci-fi genre as author Gregg Rickman. In a phrase that, by the beauty of its sheer simplicity, makes perfect, fundamental sense, Rickman defined sci-fi as “fiction about science.” King Kong may well rate as the greatest romantic adventure-cum-monster movie ever made. But as there is no hint of scientific explanation as to how and why that
Hume Cronyn (Joe Finley); Brian Dennehy (Walter); Jack Gilford (Bernie Lefkowitz); Steve Guttenberg (Jack Bonner); Maureen Stapleton (Mary Luckett); Jessica Tandy (Alma Finley); Gwen Verdon (Bess McCarthy); Herta Ware (Rosie Lefkowitz); Tahnee Welch (Kitty); Barret Oliver (David). MOST MEMORABLE LINE Men should be explorers, no matter how old they are. ART SELWYN BACKGROUND Mild, sweet-spirited, and popular with audiences, Cocoon had in its time been considered a risky endeavor because of