Newest Reviews
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Art of Self-Defense, The
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
  Monitors, The We'll Take More Care Of YouBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Jack Shea
Stars: Guy Stockwell, Susan Oliver, Larry Storch, Avery Schreiber, Sherry Jackson, Shepherd Strudwick, Keenan Wynn, Ed Begley, J.J. Barry, Martin Harvey Friedberg, Sid Grossfeld, Burt Heyman, Helen Malone, Mike Nussbaum, Murphy Dunne, Peter Boyle, Alan Arkin
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, Weirdo
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Monitors have taken over, they are here to help, there is nothing to fear from them. Look at all the celebrity endorsements they have earned, all those people of note cannot be wrong, can they? But the Monitors, an alien race who arrived on Earth to make it a safer, more peaceful planet, are not as universally popular as may be initially supposed, as while they preach a message of benevolence, they are not above using force to get what they want and preserve that serenity they promote. When television actor and erstwhile pilot Harry Jordan (Guy Stockwell) becomes involved with a cell trying to gain their freedom from these mild invaders, he doesn't know what to think...

The Monitors was based on a science fiction novel by forgotten specialist in the genre Keith Laumer, and in turn the film was more or less forgotten as well. The tone was satirical, though its aim was off as while it seemed to be taking a potshot at totalitarian societies, it could just as well have been a send-up of the contemporary political situation in the United States of America, but its details were so vague or broad that it never committed itself to convincing us it was clear in its own mind what it was trying to do. Apart from one thing, which was to make the audience laugh, and while it was assuredly wacky and ker-ay-zee, one thing it was not was particularly side-splittlingly hilarious.

It was a project from Chicago's famed Second City comedy troupe, or at least used many of their alumni in its creative elements, but you had to say they did better work elsewhere. Yet while it failed as far as humour was concerned, where weirdness was concerned you were onto a winner, resembling what might have happened had an American watched the whole of the Patrick McGoohan cult classic television series The Prisoner and thought, "Call that an ending? I could rustle up something better than that!" With the results less Number 6 trying to escape The Village and more Maxwell Smart from sitcom Get Smart wrestling with living under a dictatorship.

Not that Stockwell was goofy, exactly, not as goofy as Don Adams anyway, but he did grow increasingly discombobulated as the plot progressed, if indeed you could describe this plot as progressing in any capacity. In that way he was perhaps more like a genuinely terrific movie that hit all the targets The Monitors missed, The President's Analyst, which managed to be just as weird as this while satisfying in a manner the confusion here moved against. But the cast was something to marvel at, if nothing else, as Jordan is stuck between two women played by Susan Oliver (best known from the Star Trek pilot) and former child star trying grown-up roles Sherry Jackson, a pair of attractive sixties actresses who appeared to be cast to make most of the men in the audience envious of Stockwell's good fortune.

But otherwise, you had stalwarts like Ed Begley and Keenan Wynn showing up in positions of Monitor-given power, comedy regulars like Avery Schreiber and Larry Storch as part of the right-wing insurgents, but bungling their would-be revolution, and brief bits for folks like Alan Arkin (and his young son, Adam Arkin) for sketchlike addresses to the camera about how great the rulers were. There did appear to be some money spent on this - they could afford a helicopter and control room set, at any rate - but the script was a morass of barbs and would-be knowing takes on the world of 1969, some of which was undeniably well-produced, the radio jingles we hear sounding like the real thing. The bad guys themselves all sported black overcoats and bowler hats, not needing any makeup too look otherworldly, but the message was obscure: do we accept peace at any cost to our liberty, or is that actually not much of a problem when you get down to it? You would not find an answer here, cutesy happy ending and all. Music by Fred Kaz.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 198 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: