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  Body Stealers, The Only After One Thing
Year: 1969
Director: Gerry Levy
Stars: George Sanders, Maurice Evans, Patrick Allen, Neil Connery, Hilary Dwyer, Robert Flemyng, Lorna Wilde, Allan Cuthbertson, Michael Culver, Sally Faulkner, Shelagh Fraser, Carl Rigg, Carol Hawkins, Dixon Adams, Derek Pollitt, Steve Kirby, Leslie Schofield
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: A new set of parachutes is being tested by the British military, and as the paratroopers leap from the plane it is all going well. But when they open their chutes and begin to float to earth, there is a strange noise and with the men on the ground watching through binoculars they vanish before their incredulous eyes. Then nearby, at an air show, a similar thing occurs when a display team disappears in mid-air also; so what is going on? Who can the army call to delve into this mystery?

How about the greatest voiceover man the United Kingdom ever produced, Patrick Allen? He was the square-jawed chap stepping up to the mark in a style reminiscent of James Bond, meaning it was no coincidence that Sean Connery's less handsome brother, Neil Connery, should have showed up as well, albeit in less of a lead role than he had enjoyed in his previous big screen cash-in, OK Connery, aka Operation Kid Brother, a low budget Italian effort which did not translate into a lasting acting career for the less famous sibling. All of which was rather more notable than this film he had wound up in.

Resembling a feature length episode of some low rent British "action" series off the telly, The Body Stealers could have lived up to its title as a decent conspiracy movie with science fiction details, sort of a British Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but that had already been done in the fifties when Hammer filmed Quatermass 2, and this opus hailed from the studios of Tigon, very much a minor pretender to the Hammer throne. Thus instead of lots of derring-do as Patrick conducted his investigation, what you actually got was lots of talk. Lots.

Not that Allen couldn't handle that, his voice was his fortune after all, it's simply the way they filled out the running time with what could best be described as rampant sexism, with the star's Bob Megan doing his best to chase anything in a skirt, and some of the other characters acting just as lecherous (even Allan Cuthbertson's government minister who seduces an unimpressed Sally Faulkner), though Bob drew the line at jumping into bed with Shelagh Fraser's ageing landlady who evidently did not come up to his lofty standards. What this means is he pursues two women simultaneously, and the script sees nothing wrong that he gets both of them.

The first was a scientist, Hilary Dwyer from Witchfinder General, who notices various strange things going on with what evidence for the missing parachutists remains and the second is a mystery woman (Lorna Wilde) who Bob meets on the beach at night - more than once. Within about two picoseconds he is canoodling with her in the sand, but time and again she keeps running off. What does she know about the weirdness going on? As it turns out, quite a bit, but to reach the end you have to sit through a film where it appears there is something happening, there are people talking and walking about and so on, but actually when you think about it not much took place at all. This semblance of activity is what keeps the story bubbling along to very little effect, leaving only the mild interest of seeing such fallen stars as George Sanders and Maurice Evans (his big reveal is laugh out loud funny) doing their best in reduced circumstances. Music by Reg Tilsley.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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