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 Post subject: THE MONITORS
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:23 pm 
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"WE ARE HERE TO SERVICE...." So says The Monitors, a group of alien invaders, in a dynamic theme song as this unusual invasion film opens. The Monitors, already victorious over the entire world, use cameras everywhere, and a large army of stoic men in black ankle-length coats and derby hats armed with areosol "sleep gas" to keep rigid ORDER absolutely EVERYWHERE on Earth.... There is no free thought, no violence, no wars, no poverty, and no sugar, no candy, no alcohol, etc.

Directed rather crudely by Jack Shea in 1969, the screenplay is by major SF writer Keith Laumer (based loosely on his novel) with Myron J. Gold.

The Monitors supress most human activity, beginning with war and crime, and going down to the level of trash collection, as we learn from various "Man in the Street" TV interviews dropped randomly into the film. Many of these interviews are obviously coerced and all begin with the phrase, "I like the Monitors...." such as:

A garbage man, now unemployed, says, in broken English, while reading from a 3 x 5 card, he "likes" The Monitors because, "....They make the cleaner and better garbage no more." A school child "likes" them because there is no more candy to "rot my teeth." When Xavier Cougat holds two poodles and says, "I like The Monitors...." it would make Darth Vader smile.

And so on. The Monitors have no political savy. They are sincere, but clods when it comes to Human Nature. The world is at peace, at last, everyone is fed, but many people are going antsy.

Real life Senator Evert Dirksen however, loves The Monitors, quoting bible passages to the camera more than once with an incoherent rant about how good they are.

Guy Stockwell plays Harry, a pilot, whose brother Max (Avery Schreiber) tries to resist the invaders. They get involved with Col. Stutz from "S.C.R.A.G" (Larry Storch) who is in the real Resistance, commanded by The General (Keenan Wynn) whose politics are to the Right of The John Birch Society. Ed Begley is the powerless President of the USA, wishing his teletype machines would bring in news of global wars and deaths like "the good old days."

Susan Oliver takes the breath away in her role of Barbara, one of the humans who work with The Monitors' leader Tersh Jeterax (Shepperd Studwick in his finest role).

Sherry Jackson plays Mona, "a mixed up kid" who gets involved with Harry, until he falls for Barbara.

The plot is too involved to get into here, except to say it was the height of the Vietman Era. Jeterax tries sincerely to save Humans from themselves and has a dramatic confrontation with Harry in Monitor HQ. We want our would back, to make our own mistakes, Harry tells the Monitor Chief. "Your world?" Jeterax mocks. "Your sick, diseased, warlike world..." all this while videos of utter poverty, urban unrest, Vietman and WW II footage and assasinations plays on background screens--evidence of what Earth was like before The Monitors.

This is a satire, and an interesting one. Many of the sight gags don't work, but the theme (and other) music written for the film makes up for that to a large degree. There are startling and well-directed sequences, including a hot sex scene between Susan Oliver and Guy Stockwell, that makes one wish the overall direction was less uneven. All in all, more than worth seeing.

"THE MONITORS ARE HERE/OH BOY/THE MONITORS ARE HERE/OH JOY/GOD...BLESS... EACH...ONE...OF...THEM/...THE MONITORS!"


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 Post subject: Re: THE MONITORS
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:53 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: THE MONITORS
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:14 am 
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I added it to Netflix queue. Thanks DrM!

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 Post subject: Re: THE MONITORS
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:03 pm 
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I've always been crazy about it, off-moments and all. Since it was one of those unsuccessful films that go from the theatres to late-night TV in almost no time, I came to know it very early.


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 Post subject: Re: THE MONITORS
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:22 pm 
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I'm going to buy this on DVD.


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 Post subject: Re: THE MONITORS
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:31 pm 
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I first saw it on KCOP when "Moona Lisa," the gal from the moon in a skimpy coustume laying on a big floating pillow, was the hostess for their late night horror/sf broadcasts. There's a clip of her on YouTube, alas, all too short!


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 Post subject: Re: THE MONITORS
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:16 pm 
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Supposedly, the irony is that things are nicer and more peaceful when The Monitors take over and it's more kind of anarchy when they're defeated. I like the idea of that, the beings taking over that aren't necessarily the villains.


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