Colossus of New York, The (1958)

“It would have been inhuman to deprive the world of his genius!”

Synopsis:
When his scientist-son (Ross Martin) is tragically killed, a surgeon (Otto Kruger) enlists the help of his other son (John Baragrey) in transplanting Martin’s brain into a robotic body so he can continue his research — but what will happen when Martin’s wife (Mala Powers) and son (Charles Herbert) learn he’s still “alive”?

Genres:

Review:
Director Eugene Lourie’s follow-up to The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953) was this disappointing Frankenstein-esque tale of a man (Kruger) determined to preserve his son’s (Martin’s) genius and altruism at all costs. Unfortunately, the film’s intriguing premise outweighs everything else about it — including the script (by parapsychologist Dr. Thelma [Schnee] Moss), the characterizations, the performances, and the costume design. We’re shown an impossibly brilliant, young, kind, altruistic family man killed JUST before receiving a Nobel Peace Prize (darn timing), while running pell-mell after his son’s paper airplane and not noticing a truck barreling down the road — at which point his father (Kruger, who apparently couldn’t NOT be typecast as a baddie) inexplicably finds a way to preserve his brain, and his bland brother (suffering from lifelong insecurity in his sibling’s shadow) just happens to know how to craft a clumsy robotic body that will house Martin’s brain and allow him to continue his invaluable work. However, the pesky reality of being disembodied from his former self and no longer able to live with his wife and son — and generally unable to control his own existence — shifts Martin’s entire mindset, making him dangerous rather than beneficial to society. I suppose the moral of the story is that you can’t expect a man to live by his brain alone, but there are far too many unanswered questions here to fully engage us in this premise — and the robot suit is just silly looking.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Some effective cinematography
  • Creative filming of the opening titles (reflected in water)

Must See?
No; skip this clunker.

Links:

One Response to “Colossus of New York, The (1958)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see, but those who enjoy (somewhat sub-standard) mad scientist flicks are likely to get a few kicks or giggles out of it.

    It’s interesting how – at one point – the ‘brain creature’ suddenly has the power to destroy people. (We’re left to think, “Oh – so now he can suddenly do…this? Umm…ok, I guess.”)

    What’s implied in the assessment is true: Once the premise was arrived at, there was only a halfhearted attempt at everything else (especially the dialogue, much of which is…bleh).

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.