03/06/2013

Reptilicus (1961)

Film: Reptilicus
Release: 1961, theatrical
Starring: Carl Ottesen, Dirch Passer, Bent Mejding
Directed by: Sidney W. Pink
Alternate versions: Danish cut/American cut
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: After a strange find during an underground drilling, a monster is revived and goes on a rampage through Northwestern Europe, finally attacking Copenhagen - the capitol of Denmark.


Hans' thoughts:

This movie is, quite literally, a freak of nature. Throughout my life, I have come to know my homecountry's cinematic history as one filled with comedies and dramas. Some better than others. Sure, there has been the single supernatural movie here and there but nothing too mindgoggling. Denmark is known for making movies like Festen and Anti-Christ. Imagine my surprise when I then found this gem among the 60's movies. Reptilicus is a monster-movie. Not a very well-done one, but never the less a monster-movie. It was most likely done to live up to the giant monster competition from bigger movie countries like America and Japan who at that time had turned out such classics as the Godzilla franchise and the King Kong movies. The version I'm reviewing is the Danish version. First off because I don't think I would be able to track down the American cut if I wanted to and second off because I'm a native Dane. So why wouldn't I watch the Danish cut? The Danish cut of this movie is not taken quite as serious as I imagine the American version is. In the Danish version, the creators of he movie has decided to cater a lot to the Danish audience with the great comedian Dirch Passer. He's given a lot more comedic scenes in this one, and he's even been given a whole song "'Tilicus" which is apparently cut from the American version - I can see why. The song slows down the movie exponentially, is sung to a group of kids and was probably put in to make the movie more family friendly. At the time, no Danish movie creator really dared making a movie without at least attempting to get Dirch Passer to appear in the movie. This resulted in a slew of comedic movies in that era where some of them were probably intended to be serious originally. The Danish movie also has a beach scene which shows quite a bit of skin, I've heard American critics call it soft core pornography - it isn't. The movie in and of itself is a nice experiment. It's nice to see Danish filmmakers taking a chance to do something OTHER than farmhouse dramas or military comedies which were a common sight in this era. Unfortunately, it is also easy to see why something this ambitious has not been tried since, the low budget of the movie (the monster itself is a rubber marionette) really serves to pull down the experience. However, if you can look past the budget, and engage in the universe this movie presents there are good times to be had. Call it a challenge in suspension of disbelief.
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