Jeremy Spensser, genius humanitarian, is killed in an accident just after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. His father William, a brilliant brain surgeon, works on the body in secret before burial; later revealing to his other son Henry that he has the brain on life support and hopes to encase it in a robot body! The resulting being is large, strong, and develops many strange powers. Initially it has Jeremy's gentle personality but this, too, begins to change, and a year later it decides to end its long seclusion... Unusual piano music score.
John Baragrey ... Dr. Henry Spensser
Mala Powers ... Anne Spensser
Otto Kruger ... Dr. William Spensser
Robert Hutton ... Dr. John Robert Carrington
Ross Martin ... Dr. Jeremy 'Jerry' Spensser
Charles Herbert ... Billy Spensser
Ed Wolff ... The Colossus
Paramount produced this fascinating, low-budget gem in 1958 and release it with a second feature which was tailor-made to go with it (see `The Space Children'). They played together at drive-in theaters nation wide, and thousand of kids like me watched them both in wide-eyed wonder.
Young viewers (15 to 25 years old) who watch either of these films today tend to totally miss the point. `The Colossus of New York' is an admirable and well-crafted exploration of concepts that were years ahead of their time: ideas like sensory deprivation, organ transplants, psychic powers, and others. This movie is NOT simply a Frankenstein rehash (as several misguided reviewers have claimed).
The story is about a noble, humanitarian genius whose brain is placed in an unfeeling robot body. The film invites the viewer to ponder what makes each of us the sensitive and compassionate person we are (or should be).
If `The Colossus of New York' seems hockey and corny to you, remember that it was designed for an audience -- and a culture -- that existed almost half a century ago. If you have the maturity and the intelligence to translate this message from a by-gone age, you'll benefit from your efforts.
This is one of the most under-rated, unappreciated sci-fi films of all time.
Any boob with a few million dollars and free access to CGI special effects can make a movie that will dazzle the great, unwashed public. If you doubt this statement, just take a peek at "Day After Tomorrow".
But it's not so easy to make an intelligent and thought-provoking film on a show-string budget in the by-gone year of 1958.
And yet, Eugene Lourie did exactly that. I feel sorry for the people who dismiss this fine little film just because it doesn't live up to standards which they could never have met if they'd been given the same challenge.
Folks, if you weren't a KID in the 1950s, you can't really be expected to understand why that unique decade produced sci-fi films that inspired America to go to the Moon.
In other words, the spaceships that went to the Moon in our MOVIES might have been dangling from strings, but they inspired us to get off our buns and make it happen in real life.
Sadly, the current generation seems content to sit with a Nintendo controller in their hands and blast video villains all day long.
The conventional wisdom is that this is a mediocre movie. Yet I find it strangely affecting. A man's brain is placed in a large robotic body, but it's not the usual mad scientist bit. The scientist is a desperate father and the brain belongs to his son (Ross Martin), killed(?) in an automobile accident.
Encased in his robotic body, the son longs to see his own son. These are mad scientists with family values!
The only music in the movie is provided by a lone piano. The motivation for this decision was probably more economical than artistic but Nathan Van Cleave's score echoes the fear and melancholy that permeates the film perfectly.
Not a great film, but one every sci-fi and horror movie fan should see.