Tales of Tomorrow

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(6/10) In a nutshell: Tales of Tomorrow aired on ABC in the US from 1951 to 1953 and was the first exclusive science fiction anthology series. Adult, intelligent and genuinly unsettling scripts are intermingled with more staple mystery and sci-fi fare. The live broadcast sets limits for direction, but genius camera work and editing sometimes surpass these limits. Leslie Nielsen dominates the cast, and watch out for the masterclass in method acting between Rod Steiger and James Dean.

Tales of Tomorrow (1951-1953). Created by Mort Abrahams and Theodore Sturgeon. Directed by Don Medford, Charles Rubin, et. al. Written by Man Rubin, Mel Goldberg, Frank de Felitta, Alvin Sapinsley, David E. Durston, Max Ehrlich, Gail Ingram, Theodore Sturgeon, Fredric Brown, Henry Kuttner, et. al. Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Cameron Prud’Homme, Walter Abel, Edgar Stehli, Theo Goetz, Olive Deering, Edith Fellows, Bruce Cabot, Rod Steiger, Gene Lockhart, Una O’Connor, Boris Karloff, Eva Gabor, Veronica Lake, Joanne Woodward, James Dean, Lon Chaney Jr, James Doohan, Paul Newman, et. al.  Produced by George F. Foley Jr, Mort Abrahams, Richard Gordon for George F. Foley, distributed by ABC. IMDb score: 7.4

Opening credits for Tales of Tomorrow.

Opening credits for Tales of Tomorrow.

I’ve been reviewing a lot of television lately: there was the first televised sci-fi series, Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949, review), the first anthology series featuring science fiction, Lights Out (1949, review), but now we get to the third one, and the last one I’ll be reviewing in a while: Tales of Tomorrow, which ran on ABC from 1951 to 1953. This has the distinction of being the first television anthology series to feature exclusively science fiction, foreshadowing legendary TV shows like The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) and The Outer Limits (1963-1964). Continue reading

The Crazy Ray

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(7/10) In a nutshell: A poetic and beautifully filmed 1924 short about a group of people rummaging around a Paris that has been frozen in time. A clever and funny sci-fi subject, but perhaps not a masterpiece of the genre.

The Crazy Ray (Paris qui Dort). 1924, France. Written, directed and edited by René Clair. Starring: Henri Rollan, Madeleine Rodrigue, Charles Martinelli. Cinematography: Maurice Desfassiaux, Paul Guichard. Produced by Henri Diamant-Berger for Films Diamant. IMDb score: 7.3

Cop and thief frozen in time calls for much amusement.

Cop and thief frozen in time calls for much amusement.

In 1924 filmmaker René Clair thought the French cinema had fallen into a bit of a slump, and wanted to make a film to comment on the problem. Thus we got Paris qui Dort (Paris asleep), one of the few French sci-fi films before the country completely fell off the genre map for almost three decades. Available for home viewing is primarily a shortened 35 minute version released in the fifties, and that is the one that I’ll be reviewing. Continue reading