Friday, February 10, 2017

The Madmen of Mandoras (1963)

Directed by: David Bradley
Run Time: 74 minutes

The Madmen of Mandoras promises intrigue, adventure, exotic locations, and a plot to destroy the world. Instead it delivers boredom, a meandering plot, and dollar store nazis.

The movie opens with a public service film about the dangers of G-gas and is being explained by Professor McGuffin to a dark room with people in military uniforms. G-gas is a chemical weapon that once released is lethal in every possible environment and in sealed buildings. Due the lethal nature of G-gas, every country on the planet is developing an antidote to this gas. In the US, Professor McGuffin is leading the efforts to create an antidote.

The protagonist of the film,  Jack Squarejaw, finally makes an appearance to help the plot stagger in the general direction of that way. Jack is Professor McGuffin's son in law and with the C.I.D. (I'm assuming Criminal Investigation Division of the US army, it's never explained and it's never mentioned again). He shows up to remind Professor McGuffin of his two daughters and that Jake is about to go home to have a mid afternoon martini with his wife.

Suddenly someone remembered that this is supposed to be a form of entertainment and stuff happens.  Professor McGuffin's youngest daughter, Suzzie McGuffin,  has been kidnapped by sinister men. When Professor McGuffin goes to investigate why his daughter has been kidnapped,  he in turn is kidnapped by yet more sinister men. Mr and Mrs Jack Squarejaw finished their mid afternoon martini and are about to go out for the evening when they are kidnapped by Juan Exposition. However, the sinister men show up and kill Juan before fulfill his family tradition of explaining the plot.  Also the sinister men have a union and they really hate scabs.

Jack Squarejaw leaps into action and searches Juan's body for any clues that will help advance the plot. Discovering that Juan is from the cough cough American country of Mandoras. So Jack leaves Juan's body for anyone to find and Jack and the wife fly off to Mandoras. In Mandoras, Jack and his wife meet the rather odd chief of police of Mandoras. Apparently Mandoras is a city state in cough cough America. The couple meet the Carlos Exposition after he breaks into their hotel room and he goes about discharging his family's sacred duty of explaining important plot points.

Juan had been a lab tech for Hitler's inner circle and assisted in removing removing Hitler's head from his body and keeping it alive. Also, Carlos warns the couple that Mandoras is crawling with unsavory types that will have next to nothing to do with the plot. Not heading Carlos' warning, the couple go to the only bar in Mandoras and meet up with Suzzie McGuffin. While hitting on Jack, Suzzie explains that the sinister men let have free reign of Mandoras as long as she didn't leave. This leads to a belly dancing slash shoot out were Suzzie and Mrs. Squarejaw are kidnapped. The chief of police cleans up after the sinister men and takes Jack Squarejaw to the next scene.

Everyone gets taken to the governor's mansion and find that Professor McGuffin is being subjected to an annoying  art installation or torture in the basement. In the basement it is revealed that the bloody nazis are behind all of the sinister behavior and are going to use G-gas on Mandoras and this will allow them to rule the world some how. The Squarejaws, Suzzie, Professor McGuffin, Carlos, the chief of police, and the governor of Mandoras all escape the mansion and the nazis and Hitler's head follow them. Jack Squarejaw has had enough of these nazis and Hitler's head, so him and Carlos ambush the nazis and kill them all. The End.

Underneath the D grade sci-fi cheese there was a decent noir thriller that for whatever reason never made it on to the screen. The only evidence I have that this movie did not start out as a weird sci-fi movie is that in 1968 Crown International Pictures, the distributors of this movie, got some film students to shoot an additional twenty minutes of film so it be sold as a TV movie. Repackaged as They Saved Hitler's Brain, the tone of the new footage is much darker than The Madmen of Madoras and leads me to believe that the original premises was more inline with a noir nazi hunt in South America.

As for is this movie watchable, the answer is a sold not really. It's a mess of a film that I fell asleep through on the first two viewings and the third time I watch the whole thing discovered that I didn't really miss a lot it just poorly explained. There is very little one can do to make this movie more entertaining other than to use it to torture people who are easily offended. As of this review being published it is available for free on Youtube and there are two or three Mill Creek DVD collections that include this movie if you are really hellbent on seeing this thing.

MVT: The most valuable thing goes to the mixture of bourbon, lemonade, and iced tea. It saved what little sanity I have left and made the stupidity on screen just fly by.

Make or Break: This movie goes through the effort of presenting all kinds of threats and reasons to be invested in the well being of the protagonists. Then minutes later forgets about the threats and hopes that the cardboard cut outs they passed off as characters will be enough to keep you interested.

Score: 0.5 out of 10

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