The best scientific minds in the country are working in a secret underground laboratory in New Mexico preparing to launch an outer-space station. The work is important and the fears of possible total annihilation of mankind all too real. BUT… (Cue music) someone or something is sabotaging the experiments and killing off the scientists one by one. Could the answer be found in the mechanical brain that controls the entire facility? And if so how many more will die before the threat materializes? Well, you won’t have to wait much longer to get the answers to those and other questions that arise in Herbert L. Strock‘s Gog (1954) because a brand-new 3-D restoration of the science fiction classic, which was adapted for the screen by Tom Taggart based on a story by writer/producer, Ivan Tors will be released on blu-ray from Kino Lorber on March 1, 2016.
This past weekend colleagues Annmarie Gatti of Classic Movie Hub, filmmaker Rob Medaska and I were treated to a private screening of the newly restored Gog at the home of Bob Furmanek, founder, director and CEO of The 3-D Film Archive. Mr. Furmanek and his partner, Greg Kintz restored the film previously thought lost after finding a print of the 35mm left side material in the late 1990s. Among other features, the blu-ray release includes a segment wherein Bob and Greg explain the labor-intensive process of restoring the movie to its Eastman color 3-D glory (watch a comparison demo here). And glorious it is. The colors are vivid and crisp and all three dimensions are a treat with that third ‘D’ a reminder of 3-D the way it should be – central to the fun, not an aside as seems to be the practice today.
With its cold-war concerns permeating the underground facility, Gog is sure to appeal to fans of all ages who have a special affection for science fiction from that era. The first two-thirds of the movie is replete with scientific terms and theories as solemn scientists explain things like centrifugal anesthesia, body freezing, solar radiation and supersonic sound. The action picks up as the main players close in on what’s been causing havoc in scenes that would have surely entertained many a drive-in attendee back in the day. That is if Gog been given proper attention, which would have ensured its place among other B-grade gems we all love to revisit. It’s thanks to the efforts of Bob Fermanek and Greg Kintz and Kino-Lorber, of course, who entrusted them with this project that we have this movie to enjoy at all. But this isn’t merely a survival story, though there is that. This is an adventure brought back to be lived again – in 3 dimensions – as if it were 1954.
The memorable cast of Gog includes Richard Egan, Constance Dowling (who later married Ivan Tors) and seasoned veterans like Herbert Marshall (can you believe it?), John Wengraf and a young William Schallert who’s probably best known for playing Martin Lane, the dad on “The Patty Duke Show.”
The 3-D Film Archive had previously restored Julian Roffman’s The Mask (1961) and Arch Oboler’s The Bubble (1966) also with Kino Lorber Studio Classics plus a collection of 22 3-D Rarities from Flicker Alley and Lesley Selander’s Dragonfly Squadron (1954) from Olive Films. All of those have been restored to a quality beyond anyone’s expectations, but as Bob explained to us before the screening Gog has had a particularly arduous journey to this point making the end result that much sweeter.
Stay tuned to The 3-D Film Archive for news on future restorations and releases and to Once Upon a Screen for news of our upcoming YouTube series, Classic Movies and More, which will feature – among other things – a terrific interview with Bob Furmanek.