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.
As part of MGM's Limited Edition Collection, "The Magnetic Monster" and "Gog" have been released on DVD as part of their made-on-demand program.
"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 be very close to each other.
But as 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?
Part of the worry of viewers who had bad experiences with MOD DVD's are the printing quality. There are some who can't get them to play and are literally now just coasters.
With "Gog, its printed quite well with printing on top of the DVD, it's not a plain silver disc with letters. If you didn't know it was MOD, you would think it was an actual DVD release.
As for playability, I played it on my Blu-ray player and DVD player with no problems. I then played it on my Mac and PC, no problems whatsoever.
VIDEO AND AUDIO:
Although presented in 3-D and flat in theaters, "Gog" is presented on DVD via 1:33:1 full aspect ratio and in color. As far as picture quality goes, the film has been manufactured using the best source available. 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 DVD. There is a fine layer of grain, colors are good.
As for audio, "Gog" is presented in Dolby Digital and the dialogue is clear and detected no pops or hissing during my viewing of "Gog".
There are no special features in this release.
"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" on DVD.
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 out on DVD. And with the release of "Gog" and "The Magnetic Monster" (via MGM's Limited Edition Collection MOD program), sci-fans should be very happy.
Overall, 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.
I personally enjoyed the film but also admit that I felt it was 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?
So, considering the idea 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, I'm sure sci-fi fans found "Gog" to be an enjoyable sci-fi film and a movie worth owning on DVD.