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Monitors, The

Entry updated 2 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1969). Bell & Howell Productions/Commonwealth United/Second City. Directed by Jack Shea. Written by Myron J Gold, based on The Monitors (1966) by Keith Laumer. Cast includes Ed Begley (cameo), Sherry Jackson, Susan Oliver, Avery Schreiber, Guy Stockwell and Keenan Wynn (cameo). 92 minutes. Colour.

Filled with bizarre jokes and moments of stunning banality, this film – or string of revue sketches – made in Chicago by the Second City cabaret troupe, concerns an invasion of Earth by superior Aliens who enforce on the population a system of brotherly love and nonviolence. Dressed in black overcoats, black hats and dark glasses like the Men in Black who feature in the UFO mythos (see also Urban Legends), these "monitors" control people by spraying them with a pacifying gas; a resistance movement is formed and the aliens are overthrown. An oddity, which flopped badly, the film is a product of a time when the hippy "flower power" counterculture was attempting to usher in an era of peace and happiness, but followed close on the heels of police brutality against hippy protesters outside the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. [JB/PN]


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