The Gamma People (1958)

the gamma people 1958

The movie can’t make up its mind what it wants to be. It looks like a horror movie that morphed into a comedy. American actor Paul Douglas may have been working off a contract to star in this British movie that’s not horrific or very funny. Maybe a few rewrites would have straightened it out….at least a little bit. The soundtrack is by George Melachrino who is best known by easy listening fans for his Melachrino Strings albums.

American reporter Mike Wilson and British photographer Howard  Meade (Leslie Phillips) are taking a train to Salzburg, Austria to cover a music festival Their train car becomes unhooked because….it just does. Two young boys in uniform switch the tracks and the car ends up in the village of Gudavia.

Waiting outside is a group of soldiers led by a comic opera character named Colonel Koerner. He’s all bluster and takes them into town and right to jail. He reports to Dr.Boronski who tells him he’s an idiot and to let them out and treat them royally. Now he can go back to his experiments that can turn children into geniuses or imbeciles.

At the local hotel run by Mr.Lochner, Mike and Howard are given the bridal suite. Howard kinda digs hotel maid Anna (Jocelyn Lane). The guys hear and then see Lochner’s young daughter Hedda playing piano like a pro. She’s being watched by a little creep named Hugo. She starts to improvise and he gets mad and makes her stop.

In the lobby lab assistant Bikstein passes a note to Anna to give to Mike and Howard.  The note asks them to save the children. Later that night Bikstein is murdered. Mike and Howard walk through the deserted village. Howard goes on ahead and gets surrounded by zombie like men who all look alike. Boronski blows on a whistle and they leave him alone. Howard didn’t see him.

The next day Mike recognizes Boronski as a missing biologist named Macklin. He says he was tired of old people wanting him to use gamma rays to stop the aging process. He gives them a tour of the “school” and they meet Paula. There’s bratty Hugo. He’s making a horrific looking mask for the town’s pagan festival. Howard takes a picture. When they leave Boronski orders Hugo to get the picture back.

Mike and Howard are flagged down by Bikstein’s widow. She takes them to her place and gives them her husband’s diary about the experiments shooting gamma rays into the children. Lochner tells Hedda they’re leaving that night. (He looks old enough to be her great grandfathe).

Mike runs into Paula while she’s on horseback. He questions her but she rides off. She goes by a stream and hears Hugo telling Boronski about Lochner’s plans. That night Lochner is leading Hedda out of town when the goon squad attacks and throws him over a cliff. Mike must have insomnia because he wanders around and runs into Paula who tells him what happened. He goes to the cliff and runs into Boronski. Looking over the cliff the body is gone.

Boronski decides to cancel the festival. Mike stirs up the townspeople and gives Koerner hell in front of them and they decide to hold the festival anyway. The widow Bikstein grabs Mike and Paula and takes them to her place and informs them about Hedda being held at the castle.

While running from the cops Howard comes by in a car he got earlier from Koerner. Before they get to the castle they get a flat. Good thing because when they’re starting to walk to the castle the car blows up. Paula and Mike go to the castle and rescue Hedda. On the way out Hugo spots them. Paula reminds him that she’s his sister and that Boronski killed their father. Hugo could care less and sounds the alarm.

The three are taken into the lab. Boronski is going to bombard them with gamma rays. Howard is outside with the villagers doing battle with Boronski’s goon squad. It all comes to a slam bang finish.

Overall the movie is a waste of time. The mix of comedy and so-called horror doesn’t work.

Comic actor Leslie Phillips appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows. He was the voice of The Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter movies.




About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
This entry was posted in British Movies, Comedy, Horror, vintage movies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Gamma People (1958)

  1. Joseph Nebus says:

    It does seem like blending humor and an alien-invasion story ought to work. But I think it’d have to be done very well lest it flop altogether.

  2. vintage45 says:

    Many have tried, many have failed. It usually ends up in disasters like “Teenagers From Outer Space.”

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