Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Gamma People (1956)

Starring Paul Douglas, Eva Bartok, Leslie Phillips, Walter Rilla, Philip Leaver
Directed by John Gilling
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

While traveling in Europe, a newspaper reporter and his cameraman become stranded in a socialist country where they find a notorious scientist is engaged in sinister experiments.

This British import is a very unusual picture, with a wonderful surprise in the casting of the craggy middle-aged Douglas as the reporter instead of a young handsome lead.  While Douglas was an American star of some renown, from movies like Angels In The Outfield and Clash By Night, he would have hardly been the first choice for a film of the type and is a refreshing fit in the part, and although he doesn't get the beautiful Bartok, he carries the film most capably.  Director John Gilling, who's probably better known for Hammer film productions like The Reptile and The Mummy's Shroud, has a brisk entertaining thriller to his credit here, which he also co-wrote.  It's not a deep or penetrating expose of socialism, but it is very enjoyable, aided by an energetic musical score and Phillips' fine support as the photographer who seems to be always on the run.

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