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Film & TV

This section is reserved for everything shown in TV that has a connection to Star Trek no matter how small. That includes movies, documentations, cameos etc, so productions with the one or the other Star Trek actor are also addressed here. Of course I don't claim to be complete - it is my intention to look beyond the own nose.

From time to time I will add new productions. The official Star Trek movies, starting with "The Motion Picture" have their own area!

Special thanks to Madlyn Cardwell for proof-reading. She is not native to English either but an English teacher and much more proficient than I. The texts already checked by her are marked as MC approved. The other mistakes are all mine. :-)



Movies / Cameos

Movies feat. William Shatner

Incubus

(Esperanto with English or French subtitles) english french


Horror, USA 1965, s/w, Director: Leslie Stevens, Script: Leslie Stevens, Producer: Anthony M. Taylor.

Featuring William Shatner, Allyson Ames, Eloise Hardt, Robert Fortier, Ann Atmar, Milos Milos


Long before Mel Gibson had the idea of making a bible movie in Aramaic with Incubus a movie was produced using a language equally widespread: Esperanto. The Latin based and artificially created language was invented in 1887 and contains additional traces of multiple (European) cultures. It was meant as a world language but was never able to fulfil that purpose. Today there are estimated only about three million people worldwide mastering that language. There is only one movie that ever uses Esperanto exclusively: Incubus.*) For Star Trek fans Incubus is interesting since William Shatner can be seen in the leading role. For a long time the black/white horror pre-Star Trek-movie of 1965 has had the reputation of being "cursed". Shortly after finishing the shooting the original film-material disappeared and therefore the movie was lost for decades. Then plenty of the involved suffered form severe strokes (suicide, murder, kidnapping etc.). However, William Shatner seemed comparatively unharmed considering his later Star Trek career :-)

Incubus DVD Cover

Incubus was retrieved some years ago by chance when a copy appeared in France. The French version, that means a movie containing French subtitles, was restored then and is now available on DVD and video tape with subtitles in English and French since May 2001 .

Subject of the movie is the everlasting battle between good and evil. Succubus Kia (a female demon played by Allyson Ames) spends her time luring weak-minded and corrupt people into perdition. However, she sees no satisfaction in condemning the already cursed and tries to tempt a hero of pure heart and soul, war veteran Marc (played by William Shatner). Kia ignores all warnings of an older Succubus but has to realize that she herself gets entrapped in a net of feelings. So she summoned Incubus for help…

What appears like a cheap trash movie at first site is really a very ambitious one that resists every attempt to put it into a category. Not only because of the use of Esperanto which "disturbs" surprisingly little and which fits very well to the sinister beings Incubus has a surreal timeless atmosphere. The movie has an emphasis on pictures so that the plot is understandable also for the ones not willing or able to deal with Esperanto or with English (resp. French) subtitles.

As a horror movie the special effects can't meet the standards of today but the movie never tries to reach its effect by show and action. Therefore it is an outstanding member of its kind. The atmosphere is created by music, pictures and surreal language elements alone.

Shatner looks almost the same as Star Trek fans know him of the original series but nevertheless his role is no poor "Captain Kirk" copy. Indeed it is one of his best acting achievements and also the other actors, although none of them gained worldwide fame, are convincing.

The DVD features several extras besides the subtitle options English and French, e.g. a spoken comment by William Shatner, which can be heard simultaneously to watching the movie and an interview of three assistants who worked behind the scenes.
MC approved

All in all everybody must judge by himself/herself whether to buy the movie or not (especially in Germany where it is hard to get) but it is an unusual production. For sure it will not be liked by everyone but it is hereby recommended for fans of the extravagant and of for, of course, for Shatner fans.

See also: http://www.incubusthefilm.com

*) Susan Müller informed me that there are two further movies using Esperanto: "Angoroj" (1964) and "La Eta Knabino" (1997) - Thanks for the correction!


White Comanche

Western, Spain/USA 1968, Director: Gilbert L. Kay Producer: Sam White.

Featuring William Shatner, Joseph Cotten, Rosanna Yanni, Perla Cristal, Vidal Molina

* * 1/2*


Story:

Notah and Johnny Moon (Shatner in a double role) are unlike twins. While Johnny regards himself as "white" and personifies the good Notah spreads terror as "White Comanche". So often Johnny is held responsible for Notah's actions but then he is able to convince the sheriff of Rio Hondo (J. Cotton) of his innocence. However, only one of the brothers can survive, so a showdown is unavoidable …

Opinion:

When looking at William Shatner you won't consider him to be an Indian. This movie doesn't change that, his appearance as Notah Moon is quite ridiculous. Kirk being Kirok in the Star Trek episode "The Paradise Syndrome" was much better. Here, they gave Shatner a headband and made him get rid of his shirt (whereby he is the only "Indian" with a bare chest - something which must have been rubbed off of Star Trek :-) ). Especially embarrassing are the "war screams".

Fortunately the cowboy brother is much better; here Shatner is the perfect choice.

The story of the movie is quite obvious; everything is divided in good and evil. Even the names are chosen that way: one has an Indian name, the other an American. It would have been more interesting if the Indian had the good character but here the classical western scheme is drawn. The sheriff is the only interesting aspect of that movie. Apart from that the story goes by without highlights until the unavoidable showdown is reached.

The film was shot in 1968 within three month in Spain while Star Trek TOS was still being produced. Shatner's marriage with Gloria Rand, being already strained at that time, doesn't react too well on his absence within the production time.

In all "White Comanche" is nice but no "must watch"; there is not enough meaning and the Indians are not authentic.
MC approved

Movies feat. Leonard Nimoy

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Horror/Thriller, USA 1978, Director: Philip Kaufman, Script: W. D. Richter, Camera: Michael Chapman Music: Denny Zeitlin, Prodcer: Robert H. Solo.

Featuring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, Art Hindle, Veronica Cartwright, Lelia Goldoni, Kevin McCarthy, Don Siegel, Tom Luddy, Tom Dahlgren, Robert Duvall.

* * * * *

Story:

San Francisco: Alien plants, appearing harmless, land on Earth. At the same time people start to act strangely. Only bit by bit it becomes clear that the plants are the origin: sleeping persons are copied and then replaced by their clones. Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland), official of the health authorities, and his colleague Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) are one of the last to resist the silent takeover…

Opinion:

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is based on an equally named novel and had already been adapted for cinema in 1956. I've never read the book nor have I seen another movie. That's why this evaluation is based on the movie of 1978 only. The 1978 version contains some hints to the movie of 1956, though.

Most horror movies works with cheap tricks (blood, masks, music and so on) to cause the desired effect -here that is completely different. The horror evolves out of the isolation of the main characters Bennell and Driscoll who are losing more and more ground and become chased at last. Donald Sutherland (father of Kiefer Sutherland) as well as Brooke Adams are very convincing in their roles. Often the zeitgeist of the 70th is being quoted in connection with "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", the feeling of being alone and not able to trust anyone. For me this aspect is timeless and till the end the hope remains that Bennell would succeed to take a turn for the better.

Interesting for Star Trek fans is, of course, the appearance of Leonard Nimoy as Dr. Davin Kibner, a book-writing psychologist. As much as Donald Sutherland has impressed me as much Leonard Nimoy stood behind my expectations. His role is only of minor importance for the plot, he seems cold and at no time he has the same screen presence he had when playing Spock.

Finally that didn't do any harm to the movie although also the very young Jeff Goldblum can't convince as well and the alien plants look by today standards rather cheap than threatening. However, the movie causes its effect by its atmosphere, which is very dense and consuming. The end holds a very good effect and it becomes clear that real horror has nothing to do with special effects.

Conclusion: Seldom I saw a movie that made me look over my shoulder after days. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is - despite the silly title - no light meal and highly recommended.
MC approved