Daily Archives: September 1, 2019

The Mole People (1956)

*. Things begin with Dr. Frank C. Baxter telling us about “strange” historical theories about what’s inside the Earth. But Dr. Baxter is an English professor. What is he doing pontificating on such matters?
*. Actually, Dr. Baxter, who does have expressive hands, was his real name, and he really was an English professor. He went on to play Dr. Research on the Bell Systems Science Series: television specials that started in 1956 discussing various science topics. That said, I’m not sure what he was thinking in taking this particular project on.
*. I think The Mole People is remembered, if at all, more for its title and a few meme-like moments than anything else. Most of it plays out like one of the more forgettable episodes on the original Star Trek series, right down to the bad matte paintings and vapid slave girls in minidresses.
*. John Agar is Captain Kirk, leading an away team of archeologists into a subterranean world where Sumerian albinos rule over the titular mole people. Even the symbol of the Sumerians looks like a Star Fleet insignia turned on its side. There’s the usual social allegory, and the surface dwellers lucking out with a bit of useful tech in their flashlight with remarkably long-lasting batteries.
*. Isn’t it a bit odd that Adad dies at the end? She doesn’t burn to a crisp like the naked sacrfices, I guess because she’s all wrapped up, but then a pillar goes and falls on her. I thought poor Dr. Bentley was going to get something out of this expedition.
*. I’m not sure what the point was in losing Adad. In both the movie adaptations of The Time Machine (a novel that must have been in mind while making this movie) the Time Traveler stays with his Weena. I guess that couldn’t happen here.
*. Leonard Malton judged this “probably the worst of Universal-International’s ’50s sci-fi movies.” I don’t find much interesting about it, but it moves quickly and has its moments. The underground world has a kind of silly charm, what with those Whack-A-Mole pits the mole people pop in and out of and the mushroom-everything diet. Unfortunately the story is flimsy, the direction only rudimentary, and the characters props. Not that you should be expecting anything more.