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The Mole People (1954) - Blu-ray Review

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The Mole People (1954) - Blu-ray

First, there was It Came From Outer Space and then there was The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Both of those films – and the success they shared – led to Universal’s B-movie dominance in the 1950s and, no matter how minor of it a flick it was, we have a curio item like the daffy The Mole People as a result. 

Is it fun?  Yes!  Is it odd?  Certainly!  But is it a must-see?  Harmless and padded entertainment, if you ask me, but I guess I wouldn’t want to live in a world without The Mole People rooting around in it.

"director Virgil W. Vogel’s B-flick for Universal remains a slight classic of 1950’s science fiction schlock"


Now on blu-ray thanks to Shout! Factory, director Virgil W. Vogel’s B-flick for Universal remains a slight classic of 1950’s science fiction schlock.  Sure, it has more padding than a suit jacket in the 1980s, but the film – as one of the last gasps for popcorn munching air from Universal’s 20-odd run of schlocky science fiction flicks – remains a wacky wild and crazy adventure that makes Untamed Women look . . . all too domesticated for any downed bomber to take on.

And the film begins with a 4-minute prologue delivered by a real-life “expert” on earth’s inner core, one Dr. Frank Baxter, who tells us all about how the story central to The Mole People is entirely possible because, as we all know of and agree, the world is a big and strange place that is just full of boundless possibilities.  Already, I am eating this shit up.  Tell me more, Dr. Baxter!

The Mole People, eventually is about the tale of three archeologists – Dr. Bentley (John Agar), Professor Etienne Lafarge (Nestor Paiva), and Dr. Jud Bellamin (Hugh Beaumont) – who fall into a hole in Asia after the earth opens up to swallow them into a cavern.  It is not too long after their earthly internment in which they are all attacked by the clawed mole people, a group of underground slaves who forage the earth for food to bring the other race of men in the depths. 

Wait.  There are two underground races?!  Wicked!  Yes, there ARE two and the albinos in the depths – led by Alan Napier and Rodd Redwing – aren’t going to welcome these three strangers into their society anytime soon.   Too many changes; too many risks to their fragile society.  And so they are taken as prisoners to be sacrificed.  Thing is, these albinos are afraid of light and, as they seem to be bringers of Ishtar’s light, there is some pause in flat out killing them.The Mole People (1954) Blu-ray

Not enough of one, though.  It will take romance (thanks to the blonde brilliance of Cynthia Patrick as the most attractive mole I’ve ever seen), a mushroom poisoning, and the allegiance of the mole people to escape the grasp of these power-hungry albinos. 

Well-scripted (when there is a plot) and famous for renaming flashlights as “magical cylinders of fire”, The Mole People return to the surface of the Earth this week.  This time, though, on blu-ray!

4 beers

The Mole People (1954) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
77 mins
Director
: Virgil W. Vogel
Writer:
László Görög
Cast:
John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
HORROR LIKE NOTHING YOUR EYES HAVE SEEN BEFORE
Memorable Movie Quote: "Archaeologists are underpaid publicity agents for deceased royalty."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
December, 1956
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 26, 2019
Synopsis: John Agar (Attack Of The Puppet People), Hugh Beaumont (Leave It To Beaver) and Nestor Paiva (Creature From The Black Lagoon) star as three archaeologists who come upon an unusual race of albino beings who shun all forms of light and have mutant mole men as their slaves.

Because of their "magical cylinders of fire" (what we know as flashlights), these archaeologists are treated like gods – until they try to liberate the mole people. Can the archaeologists escape this hallowed mountain in Asia ... or will they be destroyed in a strange underground world?

The Mole People (1954) Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- February 26, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1; 2.00:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: 1.0 DTS-HD MA track.
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Presented in two aspect ratios (1.85:1 and 2.00:1), Shout! Factory presents The Mole People on blu-ray with fine results.  The black-and-white photography is ripe with details and depth, highlighting the underground scope of the production.  There are lots of sumptuous looks at the sea and the shore.  Interiors are solid, too, with lots of strong details.  The cast and their faces are perfectly captured by the black and white photography; lines and imperfections add great character to the story, too.  The sound is restored in a strong English 1.0 DTS-HD MA track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Film historians and authors Tom Weaver and David Schecter try to give some justification for the film.  It is an interesting listen, though.

Special Features:

Fans are in for a treat.  We get the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode that lampoons the movie, a still gallery, a lobby gallery, and a theatrical trailer.  Plus, we get the 14-minute look at the making of the movie by the commentators. 

  • Mushrooms and Madmen: The Making of The Mole People
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode
  • Still Gallery
  • Lobby Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Mole People (1954) - Blu-ray

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