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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

Movie_title

Movie: An atomic scientist is invited to collaborate on a mysterious project that has interplanetary consequences.

First shown: 4/19/96
Intro: Dr. F. explains the premise
Opening: Mike’s begins his day, but what’s that rhythmic pounding?
Host segment 1: After the film breaks, Crow and Tom goad Mike into piloting the SOL–with disastrous results!
Host segment 2: Mike and Crow check out the interociter in Tom’s room, but the Metalunan they contact is no help
End: Dr. F. is sure Mike’s will has been broken, but on the SOL its party time — with a “THIS ISLAND EARTH” theme. Dr. F.’s attempt to poop the party backfires. Aaaahhhh!
Stinger: No stinger, but Mike, Crow and Tom return to riff their own credits!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (247 votes, average: 4.34 out of 5)

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• There is SO much to talk about when it comes to this all-too-brief attempt at mainstreaming an almost unmainstreamable product. I’ll try to hit as many of the high notes as possible.
• For a lot of background on the movie, read our FAQ (which needs a little updating, see below).
• There were a number of releases of the film, first on VHS, later on DVD, also on Laserdisk and Blu-ray. The DVD went out of print for a while (which was around the last time we updated the FAQ) and then came out in a bare-bones, movie-only edition. After that went out of print in 2013, Shout Factory finally got the rights and put together a features-laden DVD release, including the deleted scenes. And take note of the background music on the menu: it’s the almost-never-used Dave Alvin and the Blasters (actually on his Facebook page, he says it was he and a group called “The Guilty Men”) rendition of the theme song, which had been, in Alvin’s words, “in rights limbo” for more than a decade.
• In many ways, all their years of hard work were leading up to this and the movie is at the heart of so much that happened at (and to) Best Brains. One giant example: Joel has revealed that it was Jim’s insistence on directing this movie that was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” and led him to depart the series. How might the world, the show and Best Brains have been different if they never thought to try to make a movie? We’ll never know. The movie also caused them to put the regular series on the back burner, and that may have helped give Comedy Central the impression that BBI had no interest in continuing the show. I could probably come up with a dozen more examples, and who knows what sort of backstage stuff went on that we don’t know about?
• The movie proves one thing without a doubt: It IS possible to have closed captioning for MST3K. I forget now if the DVDs have captioning, but the VHS versions did — the dialog from the movie ran at the top of the screen and the riffs ran at the bottom. It worked reasonably well, and I really wish EVERY episode was closed captioned. I’m a bit of a militant on this issue, but I do think it can be done and I wish it would be done.
• I visited the set while they were filming (it was the day they shot Trace doing the opening bit) and everybody seemed pretty upbeat. Kevin was even speculating on the prospect of doing one of these a year for the foreseeable future (Joel told me something very similar more recently).
• Trace worked like a real trooper that day. They must have done 20 takes. Oh, and anybody who says making a movie is exciting has never actually been on the set when a movie was being made. It’s a little like a baseball game: lots of standing around and waiting, punctuated by a few seconds of excitement.
Take a look here if you want to read many of the reviews at the time, or at least excerpts.
• Many of the harshest reviews came from people who felt “This Island Earth” is “too good” to have been the subject of riffing. And as I read these reviews, I noticed something really strange: among the people who made this charge, the words “The Day the Earth Stood Still” were often part of the review. It really was a remarkable thing. “This Island Earth” is NOT “The Day the Earth Stood Still” but the mere PROXIMITY of “This Island Earth” to “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” in the minds of these critics, was enough to disqualify it for mockery.
• I told Kevin, during a break on the set, about the people who were saying TIE was “too good to riff.” His response was very simple: He threw his head back and laughed uproariously. Then he began to tick off the fundamental flaws in the movie. First of all, he said, Cal, our hero, goes on a mind-bending journey across the universe — and yet he returns utterly unchanged in any way. Secondly, Cal is supposed to be the hero, but his most heroic act is to yell, “Run, Ruth, run!” at one point. Third, it’s fairly clear that both Rex Reason and Jeff Morrow thought THEY were the hero of the movie, and that jumbles everything up. Fourth, the chemistry between Faith Domergue and Rex Reason was tepid at best, and on and on. He hadn’t even gotten to all the criticisms before he was called back to the set.
• On the other hand, it’s hard to fairly judge TIE based on the chopped-to-shreds version we get in MST3K:TM (as noted in the FAQ, the entire running time of MST3K:TM is less than the original running time of TIE). But I have seen the full thing (indeed I watched the full thing riffed by Mike, Kevin and Trace at the first convention in 1994) and I am here to tell you that it is NOT a good movie. Visually arresting, okay, I’ll grant you that. But a deeply flawed flick.
• In the opening, just watch the real estate Trace covers as he goes through his explanation of the premise. Now imagine doing that about 20 times under hot lights.
• After the little Dr. F intro, we go into an elaborate “2001” parody during the credits. If you’re watching it carefully, they give away the joke (i.e. that at first Mike looks as if he is jogging in a giant circular spaceship as in “2001,” but then we realize he is actually on a giant hamster wheel) pretty early, but I also suspect that a lot of casual viewers may well have been finding their seats etc., and might have only gotten the joke as the credits end.
• Note that a copy of the old Satellite News newsletter is the “wire service reports” Gypsy gives to Mike.
• Also during the early moments of this scene look past Servo and Mike to the wall behind them. The set is decorated with many pink flamingos. These were a gift from some fans (me among them) presented to the cast and crew at the end of the first convention.
• One of the things that the publicity people for the movie pushed was that we would get our first glimpse of other parts of the SOL. But, in the end, we didn’t really get to see anything very memorable. I suspect they were thinking about the scenes that were eventually cut.
• As we get ready for movie sign, they make explicit the threat Dr. F has always sort of implied in the past. He pulls a lever and apparently cuts the oxygen in the SOL. Mike, of course, has the most reason to cooperate, but Crow and Tom comply as well, not wanting to be the cause of Mike’s demise.
• Look for Frank on one of the doors during the door sequence.
• The movie contains many riffs that loyal fans have heard before, sometimes on several occasions. Among them: “It’s a long par five to the nation’s capital,” “Football practice!” “Put your shoes on, we’re at grandma’s,” “I have tubes in my ears!” “I kind of live out of my [insert vehicle type]” and [you] “wake and bake every day.”
• One of the problems I do have with the movie is that, early on, when they should be establishing a riffing rhythm, there is an upsettingly long stretch of no riffs. It happens during the scene in which Cal holds an impromptu press conference as he prepares to climb into his jet. A long painful minute goes by with only a few paltry riffs, and it’s really the wrong place for a dead zone.
• Then current riffs: “John Sununu goes for a haircut,” “Look out President Clinton!”, a reference to pilots drinking rum and cokes and “The Kingdome!”
• In the live riffing, the “secret eggo project” scene went on much longer and established the “Cal always breaks things” running gag. The shortened version doesn’t really establish it, with the result that when Servo says “Cal, I don’t think there’s anything left to break!” we really don’t understand what he’s talking about.
• Take note of a few familiar faces: The “sort this, deliver that” delivery man is none other than Coleman Francis!! And, later, the Metalunan pilot who punches up the “Normal View” is none other than Richard Deacon, Mel Cooley from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
• Another little in-joke for fans, you can hear a light musical riff on the “Manos” theme as Mike activates the manipulator arm, which is labeled “Manos.”
• It always cracks me up the way Crow nuzzles Mike while doing his George Takei impression.
• Servo mentions hamdingers under his breath as he looks for his interociter.
• One of the most surprising, and head-scratching moments of the movie came with the appearance of actor John Brady as a Metalunan taking a shower. Brady had never been involved with MST3K (in fact this was his first movie role) and many fans were baffled by the appearance of this complete stranger.
• Just a shout-out to Jef or whoever built that replica of the catalog in the movie. Looks perfect.
• The movie contains three “shits” in the dialog, expressly added so that would avoid the dreaded “G” rating. I’m sure this made sense at the time. but, in hindsight, doesn’t seem to have helped.
• Obscure riff (there were a few!): They enter a room on the ship that looks to have wooden tile floors. Crow, in his best Henry Fonda, says “Hey the floors look great!” Fonda was a longtime pitchman for GAF flooring.
• As they riff the closing credits, most of the names they pick out are folks who have been longtime BBI staffers.
• Cast and crew wrap-up: We’re going to do this one a little differently because basically the usual Universal crew worked on this thing, and many of them also worked, within a few years on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Leech Woman,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.”
Those also working on “Revenge of the Creature ” were producer William Alland, the director of the Metaluna scenes Jack Arnold, assistant director Fred Frank, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, costumers Jack Kevan, Millicent Patrick, Robert Beau Hickman, Chris Mueller and John Kraus, hairdresser Joan St. Oegger, art director Alexander Golitzen, set dressers Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey and score composers Herman Stein and Henry Mancini. In front of the camera: Robert B. Williams.
Those also working on “The Leech Woman” were special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, art director Alexander Golitzen set dressers Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson (who served as producer).
Those also working on “The Mole People” were producer William Alland, editor Virgil Vogel, special effects guy Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, hairdresser Joan St. Oegger, art director Alexander Golitzen, set dresser Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson, score composers Herman Stein, Hans Salter and Henry Mancini. In front of the camera: Mark Hamilton, Regis Parton and Ed Parker.
Those also working on “The Deadly Mantis” were producer William Alland, special effects guy Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, art director Alexander Golitzen, special effects guy Fred Knoth, set dresser Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson and score composer Henry Mancini.
Those also working on “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” were cinematographer Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, set dresser Russell A. Gausman and Julia Heron, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson and score composer Henry Mancini.
In addition, producer William Alland also worked on “The Space Children.” Special effects guy Clifford Stine also worked on “The Creeping Terror.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore also worked on “San Francisco International. Hairdresser Joan St. Oegger also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Art director Alexander Golitzen also worked on “Kitten With A Whip,” as did musical director Joseph Gershenson. Set dresser Russell A. Gausman also worked on “The Brute Man,” as did score composer Hans J. Salter.
In front of the camera: Lance Fuller also appeared in “The She Creature.” Coleman Francis, well, you know. Ed Parker was also in “Bride of the Monster” and “Undersea Kingdom.” Russell Johnson was also in “The Space Children.”
• CreditsWatch: Regular crew members who also worked on the movie were Jeff Stonehouse, Bradley J. Keely, Michael Kienitz, Andrea Jackson DuCane, Jef Maynard, Wendell Jon Andersson, Patrick Brantseg, Crist Ballas, Tim Johnson, Barb Tebben and Julie Walker.
• Fave riff: “Hey, keep it on the road! We’re in the tubes back here!” Honorable mention: “Recognize me now, Ruth?”

Next week, we’ll start season seven.

237 Replies to “Episode guide: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie”

  1. EricJ says:

    Lisa H.: I remember being actually mildly shocked to hear the word “s**t” come out of little Tommy’s mouth, since it contrasted so much with the show.

    Kevin is the only one who seems to be indulging their new cinematic “We have a PG-13 rating now!” for marketing purposes (like any comedy TV-show-to-movie must, in the sacred tradition of the Gong Show Movie), and well, he would. As long as Tom gets to sound ANGRY enough.

       1 likes

  2. majorjoe23:
    PS, I interviewed Kevin Murphy yesterday and as a follow-up to “How often do people say ‘You should riff _____’” I pitched a re-riff of This Island Earth, using the uncut version and upping the riff quotient.

    He seemed intrigued by the ideas, but said rights could be an issue.

    Why would rights be an issue? Is “This Island Earth”, unMSTed available on DVD? Can’t they just create a rifftrax file like they usually do?

       2 likes

  3. Johnny Drama says:

    @200:

    Thad: On-topic: So I take it that the 25th anniversary DVD is a better choice to buy than the Blu-Ray?

    Blu-Ray/DVD set from Shout! is really the only way to go at this point, it has a great transfer, and all the bonus features are on the dvd as well, for those that have no blu ray player.

    Hey, you’re pulling a fast one! 25th anniversary? The movie’s not even that old yet!

       1 likes

  4. Torgo"s Pizza-NJ says:

    I remember going to Lincoln Center in NYC (not the one in Newark) on the opening Saturday, and we were lucky to have gotten there early enough to get seats. The seats were packed tight to capacity, but everyone was just so joyful.. it was like Woodstock with palm pilots. Being there that night, we all probably assumed that the movie would be a big hit. In contrast, we went to see the movie again, in Red Bank, NJ many weeks later, and there were only three people in the audience; Sadly, Gramercy Pictures didn’t help by putting most of their ad money buys into the Pamela Anderson pic, “Barb Wire” (which also bombed). The only TV ads I saw for “MST3K, the Movie” were on Comedy Central During MST3K (?!). I enjoyed it and own the Blu Ray, but there is something morose about it..like a small town girl tarting up and trying to go Hollywood. IMHO

       1 likes

  5. Thad says:

    Johnny Drama:
    @200:

    Blu-Ray/DVD set from Shout! is really the only way to go at this point, it has a great transfer, and all the bonus features are on the dvd as well, for those that have no blu ray player.

    Hey, you’re pulling a fast one! 25th anniversary? The movie’s not even that old yet!

    Right you are. I did a search for mst3k the movie on Amazon and it pulled up the MST3K 25th Anniversary Set as one of the results.

    It’s not quite as bad as that time I did a search for component cables and they almost tricked me into buying a set of composite cables, but man, Amazon search results are terrible. Thanks for the heads-up! Blu-Ray set it is.

       1 likes

  6. Jason says:

    There is an entry in Clute and Nicholls’ The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction about This Island Earth. There’s one paragraph in the entry that sticks in my memory: “[This Island Earth] can hardly be called a good film, but it is an excellent bad film, a classic of SF cinema. Its most obvious subtext (what would it feel like to be the colonized rather than the colonizers?) seems to point toward isolationism as the best strategy for Earth, but the exoticism of the offworld sequences, and Exeter’s dying speech (‘our universe is vast, full of wonders…’) offer powerful propaganda for the contrary political position, the embrace of otherness.”

       2 likes

  7. trickymutha says:

    trickymutha:
    The movie is the gift that keeps on giving. We busted it out last Saturday night. It fits in great with any MST marathon- and, my goodness, my girlfriend loved seeing Tom Servo’s underwear collection.

    Nearly four years later- GF still loves seeing Tom Servo’s underwear collection. And now we are seeing it spectacular BLU-RAY- awesome.

       1 likes

  8. Majorjoe23 says:

    Brandon Pierce: Why would rights be an issue? Is “This Island Earth”, unMSTed available on DVD? Can’t they just create a rifftrax file like they usually do?

    We were talking about it in the context of a live show, so they would need the rights there. But MP3 releases are pretty rare at this point. A VOD would likely be more financially viable for them.

       0 likes

  9. JeremyR says:

    This Island Earth is really a dog of a film. It’s not even a good bad movies. It’s a bad, bad movie.

    And there is no real plot or suspense. It’s like a Disney ride. Guy gets on plane, flies to secret lab, runs away almost immediately, gets sucked up by a saucer, visits planet and immediately comes back. The protagonist does absolutely nothing in the whole movie except ride in stuff.

       6 likes

  10. trickymutha says:

    JeremyR:
    This Island Earth is really a dog of a film. It’s not even a good bad movies. It’s a bad, bad movie.

    And there is no real plot or suspense. It’s like a Disney ride. Guy gets on plane, flies to secret lab, runs away almost immediately, gets sucked up by a saucer, visits planet and immediately comes back.The protagonist does absolutely nothing in the whole movie except ride in stuff.

    ME: I hereby declare your review of TIE to be the finest ever. I nominate you, in spirit of MST levity, as the greatest reviewer since the snarky Merlin guy who could destroy cities with his reviews.

       4 likes

  11. JeremyR:
    This Island Earth is really a dog of a film. It’s not even a good bad movies. It’s a bad, bad movie.

    And there is no real plot or suspense. It’s like a Disney ride. Guy gets on plane, flies to secret lab, runs away almost immediately, gets sucked up by a saucer, visits planet and immediately comes back.The protagonist does absolutely nothing in the whole movie except ride in stuff.

    The biggest issue I’ve always had with TIE (and I think I’ve mentioned it here before), is Exeter’s entire plan to save his planet is COMPLETELY, and UTTERLY *POINTLESS*. The poor schmuck goes through all this trouble traveling to Earth to look for really intelligent scientists to help stop a war his planet is losing to. He manages to bring Cal and Ruth (admittedly not willingly at first). They arrive at Metaluna, place is crumbling apart, Exeter says “we’re gonna brainwash you” then a lame fight scene with an alien interrupts that, planet is about to go ka-blooey, Exeter helps Cal and Ruth escape, and he crashes his ship in the ocean. THE END.

    What the hell was all that! Exeter’s entire plan was absolutely worthless! I mean, yeah i get it, he’s desperate to save his people, but COME ON, he would have been better off just having him, Brack, and what ever other Metalunans were hanging around stay on Earth and just live the rest of their lives there.

       6 likes

  12. Mr. Krasker says:

    JeremyR:
    This Island Earth is really a dog of a film. It’s not even a good bad movies. It’s a bad, bad movie.

    And there is no real plot or suspense. It’s like a Disney ride. Guy gets on plane, flies to secret lab, runs away almost immediately, gets sucked up by a saucer, visits planet and immediately comes back.The protagonist does absolutely nothing in the whole movie except ride in stuff.

    I’m too lazy to go through all of the previous comments, so I’m not sure if anybody’s mentioned the book. The book is good. Cal doesn’t just build the Interociter like a Heathkit, he has to use some brain power to achieve it. And there’s a lot of interesting story line, character development, etc.

    The movie, though — Ugh. It’s beautiful, but the script is inexcusable. It’s well worth MST’s treatment of it.

       4 likes

  13. Ray Dunakin says:

    I was lucky enough to see this in the theater, and not just once but eleven times! This despite the fact it was in a stupid “art house” theater in an unpleasant part of town and with no matinees.

    Needless to say, I loved it. However, it has some obvious flaws. The worst were the direct result of studio interference: The short run time, the low riff-to-movie ratio, and the dumbing down of some of the riffs.

    The other big flaw is the pacing of the host segments. On the show the host segments usually proceed at a brisk pace, but on the movie some of the segments seem to be stretched out and the timing of the gags is off.

    Of course, the riffs of the movie are great. A few of my favorites:

    “Should we be seeing this??”

    “…then I’ll ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest. But I’m not an alien!”

    “A bunch of our ship fell off, and nobody likes me.”

    “I’ve lost my toupee and can’t leave my room.”

    “Hey, you can see the Cubs losing!” (I guess all those Cubs jokes they made over the years are now in the “then current” category.)

       5 likes

  14. littleaimishboy says:

    “Hey, you can see the Cubs losing!”(I guess all those Cubs jokes they made over the years are now in the “then current” category.)

    Don’t count on it.

       1 likes

  15. Johnny Drama says:

    Thad: Right you are.I did a search for mst3k the movie on Amazon and it pulled up the MST3K 25th Anniversary Set as one of the results.

    It’s not quite as bad as that time I did a search for component cables and they almost tricked me into buying a set of composite cables, but man, Amazon search results are terrible.Thanks for the heads-up!Blu-Ray set it is.

    The MST3K 25th Anniversary set is a fine set, and is the most diverse of all the sets. We get a season 1, a season 4, a season 5 Joel and a season 5 Mike, a season 8 and a season 9!

       1 likes

  16. Scott P says:

    “Keep it on the road we’re in the tubes back here” is the Fave Riff? These guys have to be trolling people at this point. You can’t continually choose the most banal, forgettable and yes unfunny lines of every episode and have people think it’s not intentional.

       1 likes

  17. Colossus Prime says:

    Can you believe this and Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy came out in the same year? For high school me, that was amazing. I still have the wall calendar I had from the time listing the opening days of each movie (also kept it because my friends and I delighted in writing jokes on each other’s calendars).

    I remember seeing both of them at the Northridge Mall Theater on the opening days right after school. Touch points of my life.

       2 likes

  18. Sitting Duck says:

    Scott P:
    “Keep it on the road we’re in the tubes back here” is the Fave Riff? These guys have to be trolling people at this point. You can’t continually choose the most banal, forgettable and yes unfunny lines of every episode and have people think it’s not intentional.

    In this particular case, I think it’s more how the line is delivered. As an example, consider this riff used in Revenge of the Creature when the cops are scouring the beaches. At one point, Crow says, “Look what we found. A sand dollar!” In and of itself, there nothing particularly humorous about it. Yet the way Crow says it always leaves me tittering like a Japanese schoolgirl.

       2 likes

  19. vijay says:

    I remember renting this at a local Blockbuster my mother took me to. Back then, I was in high school and just heard of the show from some classmates who loved it. Our cable company did not carry Comedy Central that time in 96-97 or so.

    I enjoyed it for what it was. I remember one riff distinctly after all these years. . . “Normal View. . .Normal View.. ..Normal View. . .. “

       1 likes

  20. Dihgdfj says:

    vijay:
    I enjoyed it for what it was. I remember one riff distinctly after all these years. . . “Normal View. . .Normal View.. ..Normal View. . .. ”

    I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the Normal View song in some other movies too.

       1 likes

  21. Majicou says:

    I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who, at the finale of the 2016 World Series, posted on social media “Hey, you CAN’T see the Cubs losing!”

       1 likes

  22. EricJ says:

    Sitting Duck: In this particular case, I think it’s more how the line is delivered. As an example, consider this riff used in Revenge of the Creature when the cops are scouring the beaches. At one point, Crow says, “Look what we found. A sand dollar!” In and of itself, there nothing particularly humorous about it. Yet the way Crow says it always leaves me tittering like a Japanese schoolgirl.

    I remember getting one newbie hooked on the show via the movie, and the one riff they kept repeating was “Guy doesn’t even have any kids, the poor dope…”
    It’s all subjective. It might not have the comic punch of “Joe, I’m in one of these boxes, FIND me!”, but everyone’s got their own trigger favorite.

       1 likes

  23. GornCaptain says:

    A pity all the cut scenes haven’t been restored and put back in. (Does the film for those still exist?) What we got on the Shout Blu Ray looks like it was transferred off a VHS dub. Better than nothing at all of course.

    A couple years ago, I had to get up early for an unpleasant and stressful medical procedure, and discovered the movie was playing on Cinemax. Had just enough time to watch most of it. Even though I’d seen it many times before, it cheered me up a heck of a lot that day.

    And because of Gramercy Picture’s confusing release strategy, (and deciding more people would want to see Pamela Anderson’s boobs) Rifftrax needs to riff Barbwire for revenge purposes. ;)

       4 likes

  24. EricJ says:

    GornCaptain:
    A pity all the cut scenes haven’t been restored and put back in. (Does the film for those still exist?)

    I’m going to guess “no”, at least at Universal’s end: When our area sci-fi festival (who prides themselves on having “invented” MSTie riffing twelve years before it existed) tried to invite M&tB several years ago for a screening of The Movie, the organizers found out that Universal had rid themselves of any last Gramercy prints and didn’t have any available to screen.
    Which probably explains why it took so long to bring the DVD back the second time.

    So, yeah, the “Uploaded from VHS” thing may be the same as why we only got that laserdisc-master version of the Star Wars UOT–It ain’t there no more. :(

       1 likes

  25. Majorjoe23 says:

    EricJ: I’m going to guess “no”, at least at Universal’s end:When our area sci-fi festival (who prides themselves on having “invented” MSTie riffing twelve years before it existed) tried to invite M&tB several years ago for a screening of The Movie, the organizers found out that Universal had rid themselves of any last Gramercy prints and didn’t have any available to screen.
    Which probably explains why it took so long to bring the DVD back the second time.

    So, yeah, the “Uploaded from VHS” thing may be the same as why we only got that laserdisc-master version of the Star Wars UOT–It ain’t there no more.

    That stinks on the prints. A local theater revives old movies regularly and I suggested they try to screen the movie in advance of the new season coming out. I got no response.

       0 likes

  26. Thad says:

    Because I believe in giving credit where it’s due: EricJ, I’d just like to say that I appreciate the thoughtful, knowledgeable, and insightful posts you’ve written on this page.

       2 likes

  27. EricJ says:

    Thad:
    Because I believe in giving credit where it’s due: EricJ, I’d just like to say that I appreciate the thoughtful, knowledgeable, and insightful posts you’ve written on this page.

    Hey, this is one of the “good” ones: Because Universal and the Brains were interested in getting a wider non-fan movie audience, they had to tone down the riffs to just silly movie-related ones (so new folks would get the joke), as Mean-Mike jokes would appeal more to the cult audience but drive away the new audiences. You can get some good riffs when you sit M&tB down and force them to actually WATCH the movie.
    (Although the “Amazing Rando” jokes in the end credits start to sink back into their more traditional style of “It’s so funny, let’s say it twelve times!”)

       0 likes

  28. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    JeremyR:
    This Island Earth is really a dog of a film. It’s not even a good bad movies. It’s a bad, bad movie.

    And there is no real plot or suspense. It’s like a Disney ride. Guy gets on plane, flies to secret lab, runs away almost immediately, gets sucked up by a saucer, visits planet and immediately comes back.The protagonist does absolutely nothing in the whole movie except ride in stuff.

    He basically has that in common with the protagonists of She-Creature and Devil Doll and probably others.

       1 likes

  29. Cornjob says:

    Cal did do one thing. After being abducted to Metaluna he punched out the only sympathetic and helpful individual on the entire planet. Exeter on the other hand betrayed his own people to follow his conscience at the cost of his own life. I think we know who the hero is here.

       3 likes

  30. Thad says:

    EricJ: Hey, this is one of the “good” ones:Because Universal and the Brains were interested in getting a wider non-fan movie audience, they had to tone down the riffs to just silly movie-related ones (so new folks would get the joke), as Mean-Mike jokes would appeal more to the cult audience but drive away the new audiences.You can get some good riffs when you sit M&tB down and force them to actually WATCH the movie.
    (Although the “Amazing Rando” jokes in the end credits start to sink back into their more traditional style of “It’s so funny, let’s say it twelve times!”)

    …so when somebody praises you for writing constructive and thoughtful posts, your takeaway is “Whoops, I forgot to be an obnoxious jerk for a minute there, I’d better do something about that”?

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  31. Ray Dunakin says:

    Oh, I almost forgot one of my favorite riffs from this movie:

    “May your forehead grow like the mighty oak!”

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  32. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    Mr. Krasker: I’m too lazy to go through all of the previous comments, so I’m not sure if anybody’s mentioned the book.The book is good.Cal doesn’t just build the Interociter like a Heathkit, he has to use some brain power to achieve it.And there’s a lot of interesting story line, character development, etc.

    The movie, though — Ugh.It’s beautiful, but the script is inexcusable.It’s well worth MST’s treatment of it.

    I have been privileged to have read the original story (In a collection called “Real to Reel”) and it was more about over trusting computers rather than manufacturing Uranium.

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  33. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    “This Island Earth” is nevertheless considered a “classic” science fiction film. Maybe the deleted scenes made the difference. Maybe some of its concepts (that of an alien race fleeing their dying planet to colonize if not necessarily conquer Earth, for instance) were relatively new to filmdom. Or maybe it’s just that it didn’t have a lot of competition in 1955. ;-)

    Then again, it’d be difficult to count all the many ways that filmmaking has changed over the years (just imagine if Michael Bay had made this movie; say whatever else you want about Roger Corman, William Castle, Ed Wood, and their contemporaries, they created, well, *memorable* films with VERY low budgets and got them in ON TIME, which is more than a lot of today’s directors could manage), so maybe it can be considered a classic of its TYPE.

    But I dunno.

    IMHO there were any number of demonstrably “worse” (and, more to the point, shorter, which would’ve eliminated the need to cut footage) SF films of the 1950s that the Brains could’ve used that might have sold the concept better. Oh well.

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  34. tinaw says:

    I don’t know if I posted on this thread previously (there are just too many posts to wade through), but I thought I’d add my $0.02.

    I’ve had about 3-4 copies of this movie: VHS, DVD and now the Blu-Ray. I also have a DVD of the original movie. Every time I watch the original, I find myself a little upset, seeing perfectly riffable scenes that were cut out of the MST version.

    I got to see the movie in the theater in NYC. I couldn’t tell you where, I just found out where it was playing and went. There was a HUGE crowd watching with me. At the time, I was a fan of the show, but I really didn’t get a lot of the in-jokes. I hadn’t seen “Manos”, and I wasn’t aware of the fan club. So when those jokes were made and the audience went hysterical, I was just puzzled. Now, of course, I get all the jokes. I think it’s pretty good, although I wish they’d been able to riff the entire movie, and in their normal high ratio of riffs.

    I’d love to see Rifftrax revisit this movie, along with Trace, Joel and Frank, and really give it the full riffing it deserves. I can dream, can’t I?

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  35. Jason says:

    It still burns my toast that those tyrants at Gramercy cut this thing down to 75 minutes, and for no real reason. It wasn’t until Shout! Factory’s release that I realized that significant cuts were made to the theater segments, not just the host segments. (In retrospect it seems obvious, given all those jarring silhouette cuts.)

    This movie has been indicted with butchering This Island Earth to shreds, but it’s clear that it was the result of studio meddling rather than an agenda the Brains were driving. After all, they riffed the whole movie live to great response, which was kind of why this project happened in the first place.

    If Gramercy had demanded no cuts at all, you’d still have a movie approximately 90 minutes long, so I hardly see how it was a length issue. Buncha feebs.

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  36. Jason says:

    Duplicate.

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  37. thequietman says:

    There, it’s finished! Whaddya think?

    Circumstances prevented me from watching my copy of the movie back in March, but it feels appropriate to get it in now, right on the cusp of entering the Sci-Fi era of the show. Let’s imagine I’ve found some out-of-the-way theater that is playing this one last time, as the final Comedy Central reruns are airing. What do I make of this seminal moment?

    Well, all I can say is, this movie is FUN! For all the turmoil behind the scenes, none of it turned up on the screen. I laughed a lot re-watching this, and I can only imagine the joy of seeing this in a theater with a crowd of fellow fans. Yes, it would have been wonderful to have Frank present, but Trace more than makes up for it in my eyes. I’ll even agree with some on here who admit to liking the theatrical ending better than the original one. Too bad there isn’t some way to mash up the ‘Mixer’ ending with Dr. F’s tempting of Servo.

    Maybe one day we’ll see this film as it was intended to be seen. Heck, if Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ can be restored after all these years, we can dream…

    Fave riff
    Let’s sneak out under cover of afternoon in the biggest car in the county!

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