Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thin Air (1969, Great Britain)

(Spoiler alert—as if you should care.) A celluloid sleeping pill. Thin Airoriginally titled Invasion of the Body Stealers, perhaps in the hope of being mistaken for the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)is terrible beyond description. Poor George Sanders. Although the headlining star, he is more of a secondary figure, and it hurts to see him walk through crap like this…. makes it almost hard to believe that it took another five years and six much better but still mostly crappy films before he killed himself. (In Barcelona, leaving a note that said: "Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.") He must have realized the lack of quality in this piece of shit, for he doesn't even bother delivering a job half as good as he did two years earlier in the Sonny & Cher fiasco Good Times (1967).
Thin Air is talk, talk, talk, talk and absolutely no action, with a budget so low that the bones show worse than on an Ethiopian. Not surprising that the director never directed another film—in truth, one is hard pressed to say that he directed this one. The film is much too bad to even laugh at, but does almost become perversely entertaining due to the overall ineptitude of the production. It's the type of film where day-for-night shots look like day-for-day and a terrible event such as a death of a character is shown by a screaming close-up and a cut to falling binoculars, followed later by a scene of people sitting and saying "So-and-so is dead." Well, shiver me to the bones! Unbelievably enough, the script and story is actually credited to three people, but the film is so flat that it seems all three wrote dialogue and nobody remembered to add a plot.
Military parachutists are disappearing mid-jump, and after some dozen men disappear Bob (Patrick Allen) and Jim (Neil Connery) are called in by the military to investigate. Bob really has a way with the girls, despite being in his late 40s (if not older), ugly, out of shape and as charming as your local pervert. But then, the girls in this film, be they doctors, aliens or secretaries are all nothing more than willing boy toys, happy to screw any "real" man that happens to ask them to bend over. Bob talks and Jim talks and Dr. Julie (Hilary Dwyar) talks and every other minor character that pops up talks and then eventually Jim gets killed and Bob survives a sky dive and people figure out that there are aliens up there and even more people talk as all sorts of neon clues are overlooked while Bob runs after some ugly women named Lorna (Lorna Wilde) he screws each night on the beach. And Bob must be a good screw, for Lorna, who—Surprise!—turns out to be an alien, has discovered love and compassion from him, and, in the cellar to which all this non-action finally leads to, helps him destroy Dr. Mathews (Maurice Evans), the evil alien. She even returns the various men they had kidnapped to take home to help their dying planet survive. Huh?
Okay, Thin Air does occasionally feature some badly groovy music during the credits or whenever there is a short and unexciting chase scene, but that is about the only good thing it has going for it. And, though Lorna is one ugly cow—that and the fact that she so obviously lacks any talent might explain why she never had career—at least 'the sexy but intelligent' Dr. Julie doesn't look to bad. (Still, unlike in her role as Sarah in Witchfinder General (1968), Hilary Dwyar displays no noticeably acting talent either this time around.) The only other good thing to be said about Thin Air is that, well, it is less painful than constipation.

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