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Movie Scientist Blogathon: Day 3 Recap – The Lonely

A fantastic third day!

Silver Screenings

Today’s Movie Scientist posts look at the lonely, often isolated nature of scientific work. The movies below examine movie scientists who work alone, or as part of a small, secluded team.

Thanks to all of you for your research, observations and hard work over these past three days. We were so impressed by your selection of films and what you wrote about them.

Also, a special thank you to Christina Wehner for being a wonderful co-host.

Christina Wehner: Gojira (1954)

Cinematic Scribblings: Letter Never Sent (1959)

Critica Retrô: Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Blogferatu: The Invisible Man (1933)

The Midnite Drive-In: Forbidden Planet (1956)

Love Letters to Old Hollywood: Roxanne (1987)

Diary of a Movie Maniac: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

Taking Up Room: The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Silver Screenings:Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon(1942)

…And More Mad Scientists from Day 2

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Posted by on September 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Lonely Scientist as Hero – Dr. Serizawa in Gojira (1954)

Dr. Daisuke Serizawa is my lonely scientist of choice, from the original film Gojira. What attracted me to the character was how differently he is portrayed, for a lonely scientist, that is. Most lonely scientists inadvertently cause destruction…or at least their own downfall. But in Gojira, Serizawa’s loneliness is actually a sign of his heroism and humanitarian integrity, rather than instability or pride.

The original Japanese film was released in 1954 and launched one of the most famous – perhaps the most famous – movie monsters in history. His only competition is King Kong. What makes the original Japanese film so good, however, is not the special effects or even the monster, but what the monster evokes. It is a beautiful evocation of the trauma of war, evacuation and dislocation, and nuclear warfare.

The monster, Godzilla (or Gojira) actually looks rather unimpressive today. Whenever he rises from the sea, he sways woozily, like he’s had too much to drink the night before. He’s also a bit pudgy and ponderous. It does lend him an aura of unstoppability, though. Slow-moving, but invincible and inevitable.

But when he rises from Tokyo Bay and begins to lay waste to Tokyo, the burned out city he leaves in his wake is a painfully accurate image of how many cities in Japan (and around the world) did look after bombing. While the monster is stalking through Tokyo, a woman hugs her three children tightly and tells them that they are going to see their father soon, who no doubt died during the previous war.

The film surprisingly does not flinch from showing what must have been nightmare memories for many people. Children crying in hospitals, cities on fire, military machines ineffectually firing as the monster keeps coming. The monster represents not just the war, but also nuclear warfare. In the film, he  is a prehistoric dinosaur released by the testing of atomic weapons.

The only one who can save Japan is the lonely hero of the film: Dr. Serizawa. Serizawa himself is a living reminder of the war, having lost an eye while fighting during WWII. He is engaged to the daughter of a colleague, zoologist Dr. Yamane (Takashi Shimura). The daughter, however, is in love with a ship’s captain

But Serizawa spends all his time in the lab and everyone wonders what he’s working on. The only person he shows is his fiance, Emiko (Momoko Kochi). Oddly enough, I think that was his way of telling her that he loved her. He’s a more reserved man, but after her shows her what he’s experimenting on – which horrifies her – he tells her that she is the only person he would show that to.

What he’s working on, however, turns out to be an inadvertent weapon of mass destruction. It’s an Oxygen Destroyer, which he discovered accidentally and deprives all living things in an area of water of its oxygen. He’s afraid of sharing it with the world for fear it would only add to the already lengthy lists of ways people can kill each other. Hence his isolation and refusal to see others.

The dilemma for Serizawa is to decide whether or not to use it to destroy Godzilla. If he uses it, then the world will know and he fears will want him to create a weapon for them. If he doesn’t use it, then Godzilla will go on destroying cities.

(Spoilers) His solution is to destroy his research, use his Oxygen Destroyer to kill Godzilla, and end his life in the process so that not even the knowledge in his mind can be used for ill. This only works because his research is entirely in his control, because he works alone. The lonely, principled hero standing up for right.

I can’t help but think, however, that once it is even known that such a thing as an Oxygen Destroyer exists, then it will be invented again by somebody. No one ever really does have a monopoly on scientific knowledge and scientists never can ultimately be alone – it’s there for everyone to find. As was pointed out to me recently, the knowledge is out there on how to create a nuclear bomb; the hard (and expensive) part is actually building one.

This is my contribution to The Movie Scientist Blogathon, hosted by Ruth of Silverscreenings, and myself. Be sure to check out all the other posts, which can be found here for Days 1, 2, and 3.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2017 in Movies

 

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Movie Scientist Blogathon: Day 2 Recap – The Mad!

Another wonderful day of science! A good day to be mad. There are even some bonus good scientist!

 

Movies Silently explores the awesomely titled The Inventor Crazybrains and His Wonderful Airship

I Found It at the Movies highlights the mad Professor Foot who’s after the Beatles in Help!

Taking Up Room gives us monsters galore to accompany the mad scientist in House of Dracula

Boris Karloff is mad – in more ways than one – in The Man They Could not Hang, reviewed by Peyton’s Classics 

Reelweegiemidget Reviews writes about Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, who is good, mad, and lonely.

Ray Milland is The Man With X-Ray Eyes, reviewed by The Midnite Drive-In

John V’s Eclectic Avenue writes that Lugosi is good, but Karloff is mad in The Invisible Ray

Voyages Extraordinaires looks at one of the last films by Georges Melies, A la Conquête du Pôle (Conquest of the Poles)

Old Hollywood Films gives us the Biography of a Movie Monster: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Diary of a Movie Maniac discusses a “horror cooked rare” in Murders in the Rue Morgue

Noirish describes the sci-fi/horror/noir Indestructible Man

And an extra Good Scientist!Sat In Your Lap looks at the screwball comedy with a scientist in What’s Up Doc? 

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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