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Colossus of New York, The

Entry updated 8 January 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1958). William Alland Productions/Paramount. Directed by Eugène Lourié. Written by Thelma Schnee, based on a story by Willis Goldbeck. Cast includes John Baragrey, Charles Herbert, Otto Kruger, Ross Martin, Mala Powers and Ed Wolff. 70 minutes. Black and white.

A curious little film about a man, Jeremy Spensser (Martin), who is killed in an accident and whose brain – briefly preserved as a Brain in a Box – is transferred by his Scientist father William Spensser (Kruger) into an eight-foot (2.4m) Robot body, the Colossus (Wolff). Without a human body and deprived for a year of any human contact, the mind of this Cyborg both loses all compassion and resents it in others; hence he decides to destroy good guys in a rampage at the United Nations building. As in Donovan's Brain (1953), the Colossus develops the Psi Power of mind control and can also (a presumable design decision by Spensser senior which is not explained) emit Death Rays from his eyes. But his lingering humanity asserts itself and he asks his young son Billy (Herbert) – who does not know who he is – to turn him off.

The Colossus of New York has been praised, in particular for its piano score by Van Cleave, but most see it as a routine potboiler. Shooting took eight days, and its director later claimed he could barely remember making it. There was a DVD release in 2012. [PN/DRL]


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