COGS, SPOOLS & ½” TAPE #10

November 7, 2014 – 08:33 am

S.M. X-7 opens with a dry explanation from an authoritative scientific type: as America’s answer to the Soviet Sputnik, the “Space Master XM-712” (its full official title) was recently launched into orbit some 1000 miles above the Earth.

Stentorian-voiced trailer-narrating great Paul Frees (1920-1986) here gets a comparatively rare onscreen acting role as egghead Johns Hopkins biologist Dr. Charles T. Pommer, who hopes that the returning titular satellite may have collected some extraterrestrial microorganisms during its spaceflight, thus providing conclusive confirmation as to the existence of life in outer space (an obligatory throwaway comment is at one point inevitably made regarding “Little green men in flying saucers”). It soon develops that the Space Master has indeed brought back alien life-forms with it, but they are much smaller than even little green men: try tiny red microbes! Dubbed “Blood Rust”, a parasitic form of fungal plant life, this heretofore unknown organism rapidly reproduces itself via microscopic spores, proliferating exponentially in a brief span of time. Embroiled in a marital dispute that involves a custody battle, Frees’ character is a pompously arrogant authoritarian who thinks with his little head as much as his big one. While he is conducting his experiments with it, the Blood Rust gets out of control and proceeds to spread like wildfire, claiming the scientist’s life in the process. It’s a shame that Frees is killed-off in the first quarter, as – insufferable bastard though he is – his is the film’s most offbeat and interesting character; and it’s nice to see the face that goes with his distinctive speech pattern for a change. Once heard, his voice becomes easily recognizable thereafter, and there’s no mistaking it if you ever hear it again; indeed, he had such a distinctive one that other narrators of movie trailers sometimes tried their best to emulate his delivery, albeit usually only sounding like cheap imitations of the real deal.
Paul Frees as biologist Dr. Charles T. Pommer.

Source: unpoppedcinema.blogspot.com

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