Director: Eugĕne Louriĕ
Script: Thelma Schnee
Cast: John Baragrey, Mala Powers, Otto Kruger, Robert Hutton, Ross Martin, Charles Herbert
Running time: 70 minutes
Dr Jeremy Spensser (Ross Martin), a brilliant young scientist who’s just nabbed a Nobel Peace Prize, is accidentally killed when he’s knocked down by a truck while trying to retrieve his son’s model plane that has blown away. His equally brilliant father, Dr William Spensser (Otto Kruger), can’t accept that his youngest son is dead and immediately takes the body away and extracts the brain from it in his handy basement laboratory. He persuades his other, less favoured son, Henry (John Baragrey), to help him to build some kind of body to house the genius brain in.
William feels that his son’s brilliant mind needs to live on in order for it to continue to help mankind so he transfers it to the 7-foot tall robot that he and Henry have knocked up in their lab; as you do! Unfortunately, Jeremy, on waking inside the robot, isn’t too pleased and initially only agrees to continue his important work as his dad lies to him and tells him that his wife and child are dead so there’s nothing else really for him to do. For a while the three of them continue their important work, but Jeremy soon manages to leave the lab and sees that both his wife and son are very much alive and well; with his wife seemingly getting on a little too well with his older brother. He snaps and uses all his powers (laser beam eyes, mind control and general ability to smash up things really well) to start wreaking havoc as he sets off to the United Nations to… well that would be telling!
The Colossus of New York is a daft Fifties sci-fi film that owes more than a passing nod to the likes of Donovan’s Brain, The Golem and Frankenstein. Based on a story by Willis Goldbeck and directed by Eugĕne Louriĕ (The Beast from 20,000 fathoms, Gorgo), Colossus is cheap and cheerful, and is mostly rather laughable, but in an enjoyable sort of way.
I quite like watching films made during the 50s and 60s since the cars and fashions are always more interesting to look at than today’s, and it’s good fun picking up on how much things have changed. For example, in this film airport security is a doddle to get through and our hero’s favourite drink is a Martini with two olives and an onion!
The actual ‘colossus’ (played by 7 foot tall Ed Wolff) is also good fun, and looks impressive, in a DIY cheesy kind of way. It can even move around underwater – seemingly without getting wet!
Sadly, the film is a bit too ‘talky’ and not much happens, but it does have its cool moments, especially when the robot goes on its final rampage; although how it’s finally stopped in its tracks is somewhat anti-climactic. Despite the film’s short running time some scenes still manage to outstay their welcome, and the music score is a strange one, more reminiscent of a silent movie score than that of a more modern one.
However, 101 Films have done a good job in bringing this film back into the limelight, although I did notice some print damage near the would-be reel changes, but I guess that’s to be expected in a film of this age.
101 Films is distributing The Colossus of New York on Blu-ray. The only extra on the disc is a brand new commentary with film historians/ writers Allan Bryce and Richard Hollis who do a good job of putting the film into context in an engaging and light-hearted manner.