Friday, September 16, 2011

Master of the World (1961)

Director: William Witney

Starring: Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, Henry Hull, Mary Webster, David Frankham, Ricahrd Harrison

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The fabulous adventures of the man who conquered the earth to save it!

Plot: The world in the late 19th century: A scientist and his team are held as "guests" of Robur on his airship, that he want to use to ensure peace on earth. Peace with all, even if he has to bombard military targets all over the world. Can he be stopped in time?

My rating: 3/10

Will I watch it again? NOOOOOO!

#32 on Project: Badass Charles Bronson

LEVEL OF BADASSICITY (10 being the highest): 7

I had no idea this flick was going to be so terrible, especially considering it was written by Richard Matheson (based on two novels by Jules Verne), has a score by Les Baxter and stars Vincent Price and Charles Bronson. It's essentially 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but in the air...and it's a stinker. I can forgive poor special effects but there's not a decent shot in the picture. Not only that, but the effects are pitiful and outdated even for 1961. The biggest problem is the budget and maybe William Witney, the director. He's done tons of stuff, movies I dig, but he's the man who runs the show; well, he and the producers. It's made by American International Pictures, not a company known for their well-produced films and lavish budgets. This is downright shameful.

The script is OK but it feels watered down which surprises me considering Matheson wrote it. The actors are over the top. Yeah, I know this is a cheesy adventure flick aimed at kids (and they're the only ones who would have eaten this up, myself included at that age, for a lack of cinema knowledge) but still. There's no excuse for this amount of talent to be wasted on such a poorly finished product.

I was surprised to see that Badass Charles Bronson survived to the end. And if you watch closely, it looks like he gets the girl who is engaged to the wus who walks away. That was the best part for me 'cause you know that's how it would go down in real life. Think about it. She's the only woman on this flying ship loaded with men and the manliest of all men, Charles Bronson. It's only natural. Had Charles Bronson been alive during the last half of the 19th century, Charles Darwin may have had to amend his theory of evolution to accommodate such a specimen. Anyway, Bronson does feel out of place. He does OK with what he's got but he just doesn't fit in somehow. Maybe it's the shirt.

Pop quiz. Does that shirt make Charles Bronson look gay? That is in fact a trick question as that would be impossible. Not even the United Nations of cocks stuffed in Bronson's mouth would make him look gay. He's loaded with so much machismo and testosterone that even that wouldn't cast any doubt.

Les Baxter wrote a very busy score and it's mixed way too loud against the dialogue, not to mention how many times it doesn't fit. There are moments of extensive dialogue and the music is all over the place - it's fast and loud. It left me scratching my head thinking it might not have been properly scored but the film makers just used some music he wrote and used it poorly.

To think that Bronson had just come off of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960) to do this piece of crap; it makes me sad. Oh, well, that's one more off of my list. Watch this only if you MUST see every Vincent Price or Charles Bronson flick...otherwise, avoid it. Poo.

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