Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


V (1983 four hour two-part mini-series). Written and directed by Kenneth Johnson.

Those who enjoy the new weekly V series may be interested in looking back at the original mini-series which aired nearly thirty years ago. My advice is not to bother, as the new TV show is much, much better, and the original V is nowhere near as good as the earlier sci fi alien invasion show The Invaders. Supposedly friendly aliens land on Earth in huge spaceships asking for our help and offering their knowledge in exchange. They are actually reptiles in human guise and eat mice, rats -- and people. They conspire against earth's scientists by fabricating a supposed plot by these scientists to conspire against them. In what seems like short order the aliens create an atmosphere of fear and paranoia, basically a police state, and have pretty much taken over, while some humans become quislings and collaborators. The analogy to Nazi Germany is cemented in a memorable scene in which a Jewish man explains to his son why he has to hide a scientist neighbor and her family. Marc Singer is a photojournalist who is pursued by the aliens even as he tries to expose them, and Jane Badler is Diana, a sadistic member of the invading force. The score sounds like an inept, pallid imitation of Herrmann's music for North by Northwest. Myron Healey, Andrew Prine, Robert Englund and William Russ are also in the cast.

Verdict: Somewhat entertaining but minor-league. **1/2.

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