Gog (1954)

gog (1)

Richard Egan is a civilian scientist and security expert called in to investigate queer goings on at a military experimental station in the desert. The CO of the station is Herbert Marshall. The requisite scientific assistant is Constance Dowling.

It’s all very confusing at first. Two scientists freeze and unfreeze a monkey then are themselves frozen by a mysterious force that locks them in the chamber and manipulates the controls. The monkey had been already removed, so not to worry. He’s okay.

The first thing that comes to mind while watching this inexpensive SF flick, aside from “What the hell is going on?”, is that the design of the station is very precisely laid out for us, so much so that it makes us wonder if Michael Crighton might have ripped it off for “The Andromeda Strain.” There are two multi-armed robots (pronounced “ROW-butts”) that grind around the room and do dated tricks like twisting knobs while the observers stand around and gawk at them. Their names are Gog and Magog, nebulous figures from the Old Testament. Each is more animated than one or two of the supporting cast.

About half the movie is exposition that isn’t blended too well into the narrative. “This is the monitoring chamber, where the molecules are broken down. Over here, for instance, isotopes.” I suppose with all the borrowed electronic junk around — the clicks, beeps, and blinking lights — it might as well be shown on screen, though it may have nothing to do with the story.

Man, do things go wrong. One device after another goes berserk. Death follows death. And long past the point at which the whole establishment should have been shut down and fumigated, Herbert Marshall is saying things like, “We’d better tighten security,” and, “We’ll work in pairs from now on.” The villains of the piece are Gog and Magog, who are being ordered to do naughty things by a rocket ship overhead.

I’ve always found Richard Egan to be a likable actor but not a magnetic one. Herbert Marshall does well enough by the role of leader, especially considering the booze he was pounding at the time. And nobody could deny that Constance Dowling is attractive in an idiosyncratic way and that, in her tight jump suit, she cuts a splendid figure for a scientist.