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convincing characterization. Fawcett is able to convey the naiveté of her character (an inno- cent who has never been to Earth and embraces the isolation of her duties), but the CHARLIE’S AN- GELS star (at the tail end of a failed bid at a big screen career) is thoroughly unpersuasive as a scientist. The idea of an intelli- gent machine sexually obsessed with a human female was ex- plored more effectively in DE- MON SEED (1977) and neither is Adam and Alex’s May-Decem- ber romance believably devel- oped. In the asset column are some impressive futuristic sets (designed by a debuting Stuart Craig, who went on to design the

Harry Potter films) and the ro- bot (with its tiny head, metal

skeleton and extruding multi-col- ored veins) is an effectively men- acing creation. There is also a striking score by Elmer Bernstein, one of the few this gifted veteran ever did in the science fiction genre.

While the feature is a mixed bag at best, we have no com- plaints about Scream Factory’s 1080p 1.85:1 presentation, which boasts excellent detail and color, and the DTS-HD 5.1 & 2.0 Mas- ter Audio options are quite sat- isfying. SATURN 3 expert Greg Moss and writer Dave Bradley discuss the film’s troubled shoot on a commentary track. The project was conceived as the directorial debut of veteran pro- duction designer John Barry (not to be confused with the like- named composer) who was fired after two weeks due to conflicts with Douglas and falling behind schedule. (He then went to work on the effects team for THE EM- PIRE STRIKES BACK, only to die of meningitis soon afterward.) The project’s producer, celebrated di- rector Stanley Donen (SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS), took over

but ran into similar delays caused by the often malfunctioning Hec- tor prop. Other discussion touches upon such topics as the original choices for the leads (Sean Connery as Adam and Michael Caine as Benson, which certainly would have made been an odd reunion for the MAN WHO WOULD BE KING stars), some sequences that were shot but dropped from the theatrical re- lease, and how severe cost over- runs on the same company’s RAISE THE TITANIC (1980) im- pacted this picture’s special ef- fects budget. We also are told that the film’s screenwriter, novelist Martin Amis, later penned the highly-praised novel MONEY, which included a similarly dis- tressed movie production and an arrogant, unhelpful character clearly patterned after Douglas. The pair’s comments become somewhat sparser in the final third, but it is an informative and worthwhile supplement. Addi- tional extras include interviews with Dotrice (who completed the dubbing in a single morning and wonders why Keitel’s performance was erased, considering that Dou- glas and Fawcett also sounded American) and special effects su- pervisor Colin Chilvers, and there is an extended, but still incomplete version of the “Blue Dreamers” drug trip scene (which does in- clude the widely distributed shot of Fawcett in a black S&M outfit not otherwise seen). Those famil- iar with the longer US network TV version will be happy to know that those extra sequences are here as well, derived from an off-air VHS recording. The theatrical trailer and a pair of TV spots (also vin- tage recordings), a photo gallery, and English captions for the hear- ing impaired are also offered, but there is no sign of the screenwriter interview promised on the pack- aging. The DVD is encoded with the same content.


1944, Sony Choice, 61m 35s, $20,95, DVD-R1 By Michael Barrett

The benefit of having obscuri- ties like this Columbia B-film available on demand is that we no longer need depend on stan- dard judgments like the “Bomb” rating in Leonard Maltin’s guide. Cult actress Rose Hobart (LILIOM, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, THE MAD GHOUL) deserves to be as famous for this as anything else. A montage of heavy-handed exposition conveys that the city eagerly follows headlines about a saintly doctor, George Winson (a pre-GILDA George Macready), who lies dying at his home. His prospective widow Ann (Jeanne Bates) engages in the kind of bit- ter, blasphemous dialogue you wouldn’t hear in an A picture, an- nouncing that she’s turning her back on God and praying to the Devil. Staring into the licking flames of the fireplace, she begs any forces, “good or evil, man or devil,” to save her husband. On the instant, the impassive, beautiful Lilyan (Hobart) materi- alizes from the dark, oblivious to every threat of death. The cam- era tilts, the chiaroscuro is stark, and Hobart’s initial shot is in negative. She orders everyone out of the room and revives Winson by methods we can only imagine, but he’s now a literally cold bas- tard who leaves his wife for the new woman.

This is material from the dark- est hours of a nation at war, a plea for faith amid human and mechanical cruelty. Lilyan is a fierce creation. Her harsh, brittle, blunt, tyrannical demeanor em- bodies evil (or the triumph of heartless intellect) as well as any- one before or since; her “unfemi- nine” style feels unusual and frightening.


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