Sunday, August 26, 2018

Worst Movie Ever Made? You decide! THE STORY OF MANKIND (1957)

Hoo boy! Here's a movie that has everything, with the sum totalling far less than its parts. It's both tedious and fascinating at the same time, and - as a bonus - loaded with commercials that pop in right in the middle of scenes. (Actually, the commercials are kind of a relief. The film is somehow more palatable when broken into bits.)

Here's the idea: When a couple of angels notice that the "Super H Bomb" has been developed years before it was supposed to, the High Tribunal of Outer Space is convened to decide whether to stop it or allow it to be used, thereby destroying Mankind. (Really. I'm not making this up.)

Vincent Price, as Mr. Scratch (the Devil), and Ronald Coleman, as The Spirit of Man, present the opposing cases (whether Mankind is ultimately Good or Evil) to the court, giving director Irwin Allen and Warner Brothers a chance to use footage from dozens of older films, and insert new performances by a huge grab bag of stars and wannabe stars. Trivia wizards like Cap'n Bob will grok on identifying all the famililar faces and guessing which movies provided the old footage.

Vincent Price is predictably good as the Devil, Peter Lorre is amazingly execrable as Nero, and most other performances are on the south side of inbetween. The only real attempt at comedy is Groucho Marks buying Manhattan from the Indians, and while it's far short of a typical Groucho performance, it's the best bit of the film. 

Start watching it if you dare. If you can stop, you're a better man than I. 


Art Scott said...

This was on Turner years ago - no commercials - and I bailed after about 20 minutes. Unimaginably awful. But these things usually are;,though Mark Evanier loves it, and some other people apparently, I think It's a Mad Mad etc World is also godawful. One more thing, as Ray Torrence (who you may remember from Lancecon) would point out, wagging his finger (he has a major collection of memorabilia of this star), there is no "e" in Ronald Colman.

Cap'n Bob said...

I saw it long ago, too long ago to remember if I bailed or not before it ended. I'm not likely to watch again.