Gog in 3-D (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 13, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Gog” is a classic 3-D sci-fi film that finally is released in 3-D as it was meant to be seen. Considering the early ideas of a space station (as the United States was still trying to find ways to get people up into space), spies controlling technology (with the Cold War, anything was possible) and cool technology at the time combined with scientific fact, it was interesting to see how this film would come to play, despite not having a huge budget but trying to make the film work. If you are a sci-fi fan and want to own one of the classic 3-D sci-fi films on Blu-ray, “Gog in 3-D” is recommended!
TITLE: Gog in 3-D
FILM RELEASE: 1954
DURATION: 85 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:66:1 Original Aspect Ratio, Color, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Mono)
COMPANY: Orion Pictures/Kino Lorber
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Directed by Herbert L. Strock
Screenplay by Tom Taggart
Story by Ivan Tors
Produced by Ivan Tors
Associate Producer: Maxwell Smith
Music by Harry Sukman
Cinematography by Lothrop B. Worth
Edited by Herbert L. Strock
Art Direction by William Ferrari
Set Decoration by Victor A. Gangelin
Costume Design by Valerie Vernon
Richard Egan as David Sheppard
Constance Dowling as Joanna Merritt
Herbert Marshall as Dr. Van Ness
John Wengraf as Dr. Zeitman
Philip Van Zandt as Dr. Pierre Elzevir
Valerie Vernon as Mme. Elzevir
Stephen Roberts as Maj. Howard
Byron Kane as Dr. Carter
David Alpert as Dr. PEter Burden
Michael Fox as Dr. Hubertus
William Schallert as Engle
Marian Richaman as Helen
Jean Dean as Marna Roberts
Newly restored in HD and 3-D! In a remote, underground research laboratory two scientists, engaged in space travel research, are frozen to death in a cold chamber when their instruments comes under the control of an unknown power. A security agent, Dr. David Sheppard (Richard Egan, The 300 Spartans) arrives at the secret space research base, home of two experimental robots to investigate the possible sabotage. Early in his investigation, Sheppard finds that the underground laboratory under the control of the Supercomputer NOVAC and experimental robots GOG and MAGOG. Herbert L. Strock (The Crawling Hand) directed this Sci-Fi/Horror classic with a stellar cast that includes Constance Dowling (Black Angel), Herbert Marshall (The Letter) and William Schallert (TV s The Patty Duke Show).
Ivan Tors, the Hungarian writer/filmmaker/producer will be known by his fans for his sci-fi and animal films. But most of all, using scientific fact rather than focus on scientific fantasy.
In the 1950’s, Tors created the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) trilogy featuring the films “The Magnetic Monster”, “Riders to the Stars” and “Gog”. The third film, “Gog” was popular among sci-fi fans because it was shot in 3-D (during a time when 3-D was the fad in cinema in 1953-1954) but also shown normally in theaters. The film was also well-received by sci-fans.
And while the 2D version of “Gog” was released via “Made on Demand”, many have wanted to see the original 3-D version that was released in theaters.
And now the 3-D (and 2D) version of “Gog” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber.
“Gog” is directed by Herbert L. Strock (“I Led 3 Lives”, “The Crawling Hand”) and a screenplay by Tom Taggart, the film would star Richard Egan (“Pollyana”, “The 300 Spartans”, “A Summer Place”) and Constance Dowling (“Black Angel”, “Up in Arms”). This film would also introduce the actress to Ivan Tors, which would lead to their marriage two years later.
“Gog” begins at a top-secret government facility under the New Mexico desert where a space station is being constructed. Scientist are currently working on a freezing project but something goes awry as the scientists are locked inside the freezing chamber as something mysterious has taken over the controls of NOVAC (Nuclear Operative Variable Automatic Computer), a central computer which controls all equipment in the facility. And eventually, two scientists are froze to death.
With 150 of the lab’s top scientist are killed, Laboratory supervisor Dr. Van Ness (played by Herbert Marshall) calls in OSI agent Richard Egan (played by David Sheppard) from Washinton, D.C. to investigate. Egan joins OSI agent Joanna Merritt (played by Constance Dowling) to investigate the laboratory. Both Egan and Merritt also happen to have a close relationship, once upon a time.
The two try to determine who is sabotaging the lab and killing the scientists, the mysterious enemy manages to kill six more scientists and Chief of Security, Major Howard.
Meanwhile, an enemy plane has been detected overhead but is not registering on radar. Could this mysterious plane be involved with what is happening inside the underground laboratory?
First, let’s discuss the 3-D version of the film. I have only watched the 2D version of “Gog”, so I was highly anticipating how this film would look via the Natural Vision 3D which people watched back in 1954.
And I will say that I was quite impressed. From the earlier moments of the film, the 3-D features really good use of depth. From the nurse, who is about to inject the monkey with a needle and her approaching the camera with the needle, to the observers behind the glass window and seeing very good separation.
While not all the film utilizes the 3-D with great efficacy (such as the outdoor scenes with aircraft where the 3-D is not as noticeable or the archived footage), the majority of the indoor scenes shows good depth but for a 3-D film that is over 50-years-old, I was pretty impressed.
Note: To view a Blu-ray in 3D, you must have the 3-D enabled hardware and 3-D glasses.
As for the 2D version, “Gog” is presented on Blu-ray via 1:66:1 full aspect ratio and in color. As far as picture quality goes, the film was restored by the 3-D film archive, so the quality of the film on Blu-ray is much better than the 2012 Orion/MGM/20th Century Fox M.O.D. (Made on Demand) DVD release.
The picture quality for “Gog” is actually very good. There are some white specs that do show up from time to time, I did notice a few frames that had some damage but considering the film’s age, “Gog” looks quite good on Blu-ray. There is a fine layer of grain, colors are good.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for audio, “Gog” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and the dialogue is clear and I detected no pops or hissing during my viewing of “Gog”.
“Gog 3-D” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by film historians Tom Weaver, Bob Furmanek and David Schecter.
- A Restoration Demo – (6:50) Featuring a restoration demo and how the film was restored by the 3-D Film Archive.
- Interview with director Herbert L. Strock (8:26) and Natural Vision Co-Creator Lathrop Worth (19:03)
- Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Gog”.
“Gog” is possibly among the better 1950’s sci-fi films especially one that tries interject actual science into its plot. Stories that Ivan Tors is known for.
And while sci-fi fans who appreciate older sci-films will be nostalgic with the release of “Gog” ala 3-D and 2D on Blu-ray.
One must remember that “Gog” was before “Star Trek”, before “2001: A Space Odyssey” and while sci-fi films have explored aliens landing on Earth, films didn’t really explore technology going awry. Sure, the film looks dated today but back then, I can only assume that the actual science and featuring robots, computers, the use of cryogenics, mirror reflections and high frequency sound used as weapons, may have been quite significant and also exciting to people back in the ’50s. And with the Cold War, the idea of an enemy plane spying on top-secret military facilities probably made this film seem all too real and may have freaked out a lot of people.
For so many decades, many fans of this sci-film have wanted to see Ivan Tors trilogy released on 3-D. While “Gog” was released in 2012 as “Made on Demand” DVD courtesy of Orion/MGM/20th Century Fox, it was only the 2D version. So, it’s great to finally watch the film in Nature Vision 3-D!
As for the film, while “Gog” may be nostalgic for many who grew up watching it, for some people, it may seem a bit too-dated or a rather a B sci-fi film. But in a way, it still has relevance in today’s world with international espionage and the hacking of technology.
I personally enjoyed the film but also admit that it is a bit dated and cheesy but as always, I try to put myself in the shoes of the viewer watching the film during that era. And with the mystery of who is killing all the scientists and who is controlling NOVAC and the robots, there is also an action element as well. So, I can see how some may have been entertained by “Gog”. Where else can you find a film that features a one-on-one fight between a human vs. a robot? How cool was that?
And to watch a sci-fi film in 3-D back in the day, that must have been awesome!
As for the Kino Lorber Blu-ray release, I love the fact that you get both 3-D and 2D version of the films. The restoration of Gog was done well, but one can’t expect anything too pristine (which would cost a lot of money to do), as white specks can still be seen.
Included is an in-depth audio commentary recorded in December 2015 by film historians Tom Weaver, Bob Furmanek and David Schecter. A restoration demo and a 2003 interview with director Herbert L. Stock and more.
Overall, “Gog” is a classic 3-D sci-fi film that finally is released in 3-D as it was meant to be seen. Considering the early ideas of a space station (as the United States was still trying to find ways to get people up into space), spies controlling technology (with the Cold War, anything was possible) and cool technology at the time combined with scientific fact, it was interesting to see how this film would come to play, despite not having a huge budget but trying to make the film work.
If you are a sci-fi fan and want to own one of the classic 3-D sci-fi films on Blu-ray, “Gog in 3-D” is recommended!
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