Discussion:
A.I., Spielberg's running themes, and the best mad scientists?
(too old to reply)
ville terminale
2004-02-04 22:25:24 UTC
Permalink
who are the best mad scientists in movies? most famous is obviously
dr. frankenstein. also, that doctor in eyes without a face. and, dr.
strangelove.

but, my fav is william hurt as the scientist/businessman in AI. on the
one hand, he seems rational and sensitive, yet he nurses a deep
unhealing wound within his innermost self, all the more disturbing
since this darkness isn't detectable to others inhabiting his dry
social sphere.

how else would you explain the modeling of david on his dead son? it's
as though, unable to overcome the sadness and loss, he decided to give
his son immortality by becoming robots that never grow old, can never
die, can survive humanity itself. yet, there's also a perverse rage,
a profane commercial desecration of what was sacred and intimate--a
personal family relationship. in giving his son eternal life and
indestructibility(or at least limitless replaceability), he has turned
david(or davids) into a commodity that can be replaced like a washing
machine, bought and sold, destroyed but ever supplanted by new models.
but, cruelest of all, he has programmed the child to be obsessively,
religiously loyal--chained to--the parental figure. though the
scientist is surely rational enough to know his son's blameless for
having died, there smolders a subconscious rage that his son left him.
and, so he programs the robotic davids to always remain with the
parent regardless of who the parent is or what she does. when, david,
lost and abandoned by his 'mother', finds his way to the research lab,
it's as though a prodigal son has returned. except, of course, there
can be no genuine emotinal resolution; one may even argue that by
turning his dead son into a mass commodity, he's steeling himself from
ever being hurt again--as emotional pain exists within the concept and
experience of attachment, of dependence on a specific object unique
and irreplaceable in the world. so, what the scientist sets into
motion is constant creation of and everlasting devotion on the part of
david, liberating man from slavish attachment--but also precluding
genuine deeprooted love. 'no pain, no gain' but also 'no loss no
love'.
the resulting situations are ambiguous, to say the least. david can,
at once, matter more and matter less to a new family than to the
scientist because that family would feel no apriori attachment to
david, yet lacking such, a more pure relationship can form whereas to
the scientist the robot david will always remind him of, rather than
replace, the loss. and, david, even after realizing that he was
modeled on the scientist's son, still loves his 'mother', not the
scientist, his true father in both biological and techological terms;
perhaps, making david suffer so is also the scientist's way of
re-uniting with his son by sharing that same unconsolable pain--he can
never has son back, and david will never return to his 'mother'.
there is another element to the madness. it's as though the scientist
is projecting his love and tragedy onto the larger world, as though
everyone should feel his love, his pain, just as kings of the past
have built great momuments to their loved ones(taj mahal as the most
famous example), to glorify the personal. it's an act both
limitlessly generous--giving machine the ability to feel love and
providing childless families with kids--and insanely selfish--to in
effect make everyone love and take care of his son, and most insane of
all, to punish his son who left him by putting him at the mercy of
strangers who may range from warm and caring to cold and cruel. the
fate of dogs everyhwere.
the damp grey colors--of glorious skyscrapers of the past
halfsubmerged in water--well convey the deadness of the scientist's
heart, kept energized only thru artifice and gadgetry.

--------------

even though spielberg didn't write most of the scripts, a common theme
running thru his movies is that of the official(statist or corporate)
vs. the personal agenda.
also, the notion of recovering something irretrievably lost, an
impossible endeavor, therefore compensated with manufacturable quanity
over irretrievable quality. or, simple reliance on fantasy or revenge.

considering the official vs the personal, think of jaws where the
concerns of the law enforcement community clash with that of a
maverick shark hunter. or, close encounters where the state and a few
chosen individuals vie to contact aliens first. and, raiders has an
individualist adventurer in the figure of indiana jones searching for
treasure also sought by others under official nazi sponsorship. e.t.
boils down a conflict of interests between elliot's emotional
attachment to e.t. and the state's rational interest. empire of the
sun sees WWII thru the actions of adults and thru the more poetic eyes
of a child uninterested in nationalistic or political identities.
jurassic park is about dinosaurs as personal hobby vs dinosaurs as
commercial enterprise. schindler's list pits a private nazi with
nascent moral consciousness vs the strictly ideological nazi state.
saving private ryan gives us war as a personal mission within the
context of the larger, more ruthless, and blindly murderous war. AI
has a scientist whose personal agenda perversely co-mingles with his
commercial agenda. and, minority report is about morality as
existential search for truth vs corporate promise of certainty.

and, then there's the theme of recovering what has been lost, a sense
of frustration on the part of man to recover the irrecoverable. no
amount of fancy technology can bring back a dead flower or a dead
mouse back to life. but, we can clone it and multiply it 1000 fold.
compensate the irretrievable singularity of all things by multiplying
it a gazillion fold. so, in jurassic park, a tycoon tries to revive
the dinosaurs like cattle. and in AI, the scientist cyberclones his
lost son.
or, recovery of eternal loss may be fantasized. ai is reunited with
his mother thru a dream factory. the lost ark is rediscovered and zaps
the nazis. the space-abducted and thought-missing-for-good people are
restored at the end of close encounters. or, loss is partially
recovered, or at least alleviated, with the promise of a more
promising future. dead jews in schindler's list can't be revived but
survivors can reestablish a jewish community. ryan's brothers have
fallen dead but saving at least one ryan restores one son to the ryan
family, sort of like reviving a dead--very likely, anway--from a
dangerous future. the most obvious resolution to loss--a cliche in a
gazillion movies--is of course revenge, and in jaws we get the
satisfaction of seeing the women-and-children eating shark get blown
up real good; a recovery of spirits, at least. and the tom cruise
character seeks the same kind of release when he comes upon the
apparent killer of his kid.

perhaps, minority report has the most interesting theme of loss
because the story is predicated on prevention of loss. it's a society
where a corporation and state promise people that in the future no one
need lose a loved one to violence and crime. a tempting idea since
just imagine if hitler could thus have been apprehended. but,
technology being what it is and people being what they are, the very
notion of state/corporate ensured safety is, perhaps, most dangeous
of all. after all, if nazis had such technology, they would only have
prevented the deaths of aryans while overlooking deaths of subhumans
foreseen by precogs, thus only fortifying their own ideological
mission. at any rate, spielberg seems to saying loss is something that
can't be avoided and the more you try, like the scientist in AI, to
pretend otherwise, you go plum crazy. what's lost is lost for good,
you can't go home again, and the future may be informed by the past
but never restored and there's no umbrella that can keep us dry from
all the tragic downpour in the future.

crazy or not, spielberg probably saw part of himself in the scientist
in AI. after all, spielberg, like the scientist, has taken things dear
to heart--all the fairytales that sustained him in his lonely
youth--and turned them into commodity for kids and families around the
world. in doing so, he has partly perverted his dreams to make them
consumer friendly. and, all of us are, in one way or another, living
in a spielbergian theme park of the mind and spirit. yet, despite all
this, like the scientist in AI, spielberg seems to be energized by
something deeply personal--much of it pain--that can never be
comletely assuaged by or communicated thru his chosen medium.
and, watching something like AI, and going beyond the sci-fi
blockbuster trappings, i find myself connecting with spielberg on some
intimate level. somewhere hidden with all those conventions, cliches,
and formula is something like that blue box in mulholland drive that
connects his dreamworld with ours.
Vince Macek
2004-02-05 03:24:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by ville terminale
who are the best mad scientists in movies? most famous is obviously
dr. frankenstein. also, that doctor in eyes without a face. and, dr.
strangelove.
...

Dr. Lizardo, Buckaroo Banzai. Brevity, man!

VMacek
"Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy!"
Mike Jackson
2004-02-05 04:27:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vince Macek
Post by ville terminale
who are the best mad scientists in movies? most famous is obviously
dr. frankenstein. also, that doctor in eyes without a face. and, dr.
strangelove.
...
Dr. Lizardo, Buckaroo Banzai. Brevity, man!
VMacek
"Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy!"
That's Lord John Worfin to you monkey-boy!
"If there's one thing I hate, it's to be mistaken for somebody else!"

What was the name of the guy Walter Pidgen played in "Forbidden Planet"? I
think I guy that creates his own rampaging id monster is pretty nutso...
--
"Sealed with a curse as sharp as a knife.
Doomed is your soul and damned is your life!"
-- Dr. Emilio Lizardo,
"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension"
PT Caffey
2004-02-05 10:37:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Vince Macek
Post by ville terminale
who are the best mad scientists in movies? most famous is obviously
dr. frankenstein. also, that doctor in eyes without a face. and, dr.
strangelove.
...
Dr. Lizardo, Buckaroo Banzai. Brevity, man!
VMacek
"Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy!"
That's Lord John Worfin to you monkey-boy!
"If there's one thing I hate, it's to be mistaken for somebody else!"
What was the name of the guy Walter Pidgen played in "Forbidden Planet"? I
think I guy that creates his own rampaging id monster is pretty nutso...
William Hurt in "Altered States."
Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly."
Jeremy Irons & Jeremy Irons in "Dead Ringers."
Padraig L Henry
2004-02-09 01:17:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by PT Caffey
Post by ville terminale
who are the best mad scientists in movies? most famous is obviously
dr. frankenstein. also, that doctor in eyes without a face. and, dr.
strangelove.
Their "madness" increases their [popular] credibility *as* scientists
Post by PT Caffey
William Hurt in "Altered States."
Less "mad," more obsessively driven - the researcher who "goes all
the way", while still managing to return in one piece.
Post by PT Caffey
Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly."
Yes, but only *after* his genetic encounter with his insect equal.
Post by PT Caffey
Jeremy Irons & Jeremy Irons in "Dead Ringers."
Irons I or Irons II?

Eccentricity - behavioural or physical - seems mandatory via popular
mythology for screen [or any other] representations of scientists.
Indeed, scientists who appear as ordinary or "normal" are usually,
unceremoniously dismissed as sentimental wimps, bores, or dreamers
(eg Carl Sagan). In this light, characters like Sellers' Dr
Strangelove can only be - and continue to be - screen winners: the
public only tolerates dangerous - but safely lovable - scientists.
Similarly, and furthering this claim, it is not at all because of
Steven Hawkings' knowledge of astro physics that his books (like A
Brief History of Time) became unprecedented international best-sellers
back in the 1980s, but largely because he perfectly fitted the
stereotypical mythology of the "mad" comic-book scientist, the
[potentially] sinister but cute genius. Hawkings' tragic motor-neuron
disease, confining him to a Strangelovian wheelchair complete with
baby-HAL computer-synthesised voice [even film-maker Errol Morris
jumped on the cute-eccentric bandwagon with his Hawking doc] provided
the public with the reassuring physical-disability counterpart
[harmless and impotent] to Hawkings' complex theoretical
deliberations.

Even "straighter" scientists (or at least characters distinguishable
by their logical reasoning or scientific empiricism) are frequently
assigned some small physical or personality characteristic disorder eg
Dr WHO and his dapper costumes, Spock and his pyramid ears, Sherlock
Homes and his insufferable victorian arrogance.

All symtomatic of the public's [and much of science fiction's] ongoing
unease with the claims of science [a tension that sometimes produces
the best in sf, from Frankenstein to HAL].

Padraig
Mike Jackson
2004-02-09 02:45:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Padraig L Henry
Post by PT Caffey
Post by ville terminale
who are the best mad scientists in movies? most famous is obviously
dr. frankenstein. also, that doctor in eyes without a face. and, dr.
strangelove.
Their "madness" increases their [popular] credibility *as* scientists
Aw, Padraig, I'm disappointed! What about your favorite topic of mad
politicians? A WHOLE post without mentioning politics? You are slipping in
your old age...
Post by Padraig L Henry
Post by PT Caffey
William Hurt in "Altered States."
Less "mad," more obsessively driven - the researcher who "goes all
the way", while still managing to return in one piece.
But of course he also gets to shag bootilicious Blair Brown which didn't
hurt the box office either...

Mmmm, Blair Brown...

But the message of "Altered States" is very clear kids!

Remember, magic mushrooms and sensory deprivation chambers DO NOT MIX! Like
using the new impotence drugs, erections and primordial body transformations
lasting longer than four hours definitely require immediate medical
attention!
Post by Padraig L Henry
Post by PT Caffey
Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly."
Yes, but only *after* his genetic encounter with his insect equal.
Goldblum's character was ALWAYS mad because he ignored caution and
verification to make sure his 'teleporter' was safe in favor of taking
shortcuts to a breakthrough that got him the fame and money he desired.

Though the movie is fantasy it's typical for would-be glory-seekers to take
shortcuts to glory through living flesh. Lucky for the movies there's
usually a suave guy licensed to kill or a really hot, scantly clad chick
with a raygun to save the day.

If only life were really like that...
Post by Padraig L Henry
Post by PT Caffey
Jeremy Irons & Jeremy Irons in "Dead Ringers."
Irons I or Irons II?
Yes.

What is sorely lacking in Hollywood history is a mega-billing of Irons,
Bruce Dern, Christopher Walken and say a nice cast of supporting creepiziods
like Vincent Schiavelli, Steve Buscemi, and other odd looking character
actors in an epic weird-fest. Surely Jodie Foster could use the career boost
dragging her Agent Starling out of mothballs to outsmart them all?
Post by Padraig L Henry
Eccentricity - behavioural or physical - seems mandatory via popular
mythology for screen [or any other] representations of scientists.
Or any other film character with an IQ over 120...
Post by Padraig L Henry
Indeed, scientists who appear as ordinary or "normal" are usually,
unceremoniously dismissed as sentimental wimps, bores, or dreamers
(eg Carl Sagan).
But of course Sagan WAS a bore.
Bill-yons - and - bill-yons of times over. But man could that guy wear the
shit out of a turtle neck!

Still, "Cosmos" had a catchy score even if you couldn't exactly slam-dance
to it...
Post by Padraig L Henry
In this light, characters like Sellers' Dr Strangelove can only be - and
continue to be - screen winners: the public only tolerates dangerous - but
safely lovable - scientists. Similarly, and furthering this claim, it is not
at all because of Steven Hawkings' knowledge of astro physics that his books
(like A Brief History of Time) became unprecedented international best-sellers
back in the 1980s, but largely because he perfectly fitted the stereotypical
mythology of the "mad" comic-book scientist, the [potentially] sinister but
cute genius. Hawkings' tragic motor-neuron disease, confining him to a
Strangelovian wheelchair complete with baby-HAL computer-synthesised voice
(the Macintalk "Fred" voice actually...)
Post by Padraig L Henry
[even film-maker Errol Morris jumped on the cute-eccentric bandwagon with his
Hawking doc] provided the public with the reassuring physical-disability
counterpart [harmless and impotent] to Hawkings' complex theoretical
deliberations.
Perhaps valid points, but hopefully Hawkings' book and Morris' doc jump
started at least some people to be more curious about science than before.
Of course a beautiful mind replete with paranoid delusions packaged to look
like Russell Crowe is more popular and leaves I dare say a few more panties
damper...
Post by Padraig L Henry
Even "straighter" scientists (or at least characters distinguishable
by their logical reasoning or scientific empiricism) are frequently
assigned some small physical or personality characteristic disorder eg
Dr WHO and his dapper costumes, Spock and his pyramid ears, Sherlock
Homes and his insufferable victorian arrogance.
It's elementary school my dear Padraig. This lord of the flies mentality to
judging people is hardly unique to scientists, movies or schoolyards.

In fact given that you love to paint all Americans with the same brush you
paint the current Strangelovian resident of The Casa Blanca shows that you
aren't above it either and yet you smart if anyone points Irish stereotypes
of vitriolic hate intoxication back at you.

But it's a comfort to know your intentions are good.
Post by Padraig L Henry
All symtomatic of the public's [and much of science fiction's] ongoing
unease with the claims of science [a tension that sometimes produces
the best in sf, from Frankenstein to HAL].
Padraig
Bravo! Score a poignant and hitherto unspoken point to Padraig!
--
"Utopia is very dull. That's the problem with science fiction.
Smashing things is more interesting."
-- Arthur C. Clarke
Jesse Mazer
2004-02-11 08:24:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Padraig L Henry
Post by PT Caffey
Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly."
Yes, but only *after* his genetic encounter with his insect equal.
Goldblum's character was ALWAYS mad because he ignored caution and
verification to make sure his 'teleporter' was safe in favor of taking
shortcuts to a breakthrough that got him the fame and money he desired.
Not really, he wanted to do a lot of testing before announcing it to the world.
He'd apparently been working on it for years, and he didn't want the Geena Davis
character to write a story until the project was finally completed. After
successfully teleporting a monkey for the first time, he wanted to send it to a lab
for extensive tests before trying it with a human subject...only after getting very
drunk because he was hurt that his girlfriend had gone to have a long talk with her
ex-boyfriend did he make the impulsive decision to teleport himself.

Anyway, in science there's a long tradition of scientists testing new medicines on
themselves in cases where it wouldn't be considered ethical to test it on another
person. If you're willing to shoulder the risk, isn't that OK?

--
Jesse Mazer
http://www.jessemazer.com
Mike Jackson
2004-02-11 16:52:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jesse Mazer
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Padraig L Henry
Post by PT Caffey
Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly."
Yes, but only *after* his genetic encounter with his insect equal.
Goldblum's character was ALWAYS mad because he ignored caution and
verification to make sure his 'teleporter' was safe in favor of taking
shortcuts to a breakthrough that got him the fame and money he desired.
Not really, he wanted to do a lot of testing before announcing it to the
world. He'd apparently been working on it for years, and he didn't want the
Geena Davis character to write a story until the project was finally
completed. After successfully teleporting a monkey for the first time, he
wanted to send it to a lab for extensive tests before trying it with a human
subject...only after getting very drunk because he was hurt that his
girlfriend had gone to have a long talk with her ex-boyfriend did he make the
impulsive decision to teleport himself.
Proving once again that pussy is the root of all evil.

We can only imagine how many times some egghead getting rejected by the
object of his affection has led to something really nasty. You know, they
don't avoid women, they just deny them their essence...

Of course this is why I always admired Mr. Scott on "Star Trek". Scotty
never did something nasty with the transporter just cause some chick
rejected him. He did the manly thing and got drunk. On this bottle of stuff
like I have here. It's, ah- it's uh - it's green.
Post by Jesse Mazer
Anyway, in science there's a long tradition of scientists testing new
medicines on themselves in cases where it wouldn't be considered ethical to
test it on another person. If you're willing to shoulder the risk, isn't that
OK?
Hmm, I wonder if that's how we got wonderful vaccines like AIDS, Marburg and
Ebola? I wonder if bio-weapons programs are full of guys who have all been
incredibly unlucky in love?
--
"No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."
-- Jane Wagner
John
2004-02-05 23:03:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
What was the name of the guy Walter Pidgen played in "Forbidden Planet"? I
think I guy that creates his own rampaging id monster is pretty nutso...
Morbius
Mike Jackson
2004-02-05 23:30:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by John
Post by Mike Jackson
What was the name of the guy Walter Pidgen played in "Forbidden Planet"? I
think I guy that creates his own rampaging id monster is pretty nutso...
Morbius
Ah, I love Usenet, you don't have to remember anything because someone else
does.

Actually, the poster's original question about some great 'mad' scientists
in film history I'd venture that the non-mad scientists in film history are
probably the minority and thus quicker to list. Come to think of it I can't
think of any! Maybe Lacombe in "CE3K"? Even when they are good they are
eccentric to the point of madness and rush in during the last reel to save
the world from some monstrosity they've unwittingly released like Professor
Falken in the end of "WarGames"...

After all you only need to look at the sci-fi films that gain wide
acceptance to deduce that the wider public doesn't care much for movies
where real science is even nodded at.
--
"Utopia is very dull. That's the problem with science fiction.
Smashing things is more interesting."
-- Arthur C. Clarke
John
2004-02-06 23:28:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
Post by Mike Jackson
What was the name of the guy Walter Pidgen played in "Forbidden Planet"? I
think I guy that creates his own rampaging id monster is pretty nutso...
Morbius
Ah, I love Usenet, you don't have to remember anything because someone else
does.
Actually, the poster's original question about some great 'mad' scientists
in film history I'd venture that the non-mad scientists in film history are
probably the minority and thus quicker to list. Come to think of it I can't
think of any! Maybe Lacombe in "CE3K"? Even when they are good they are
eccentric to the point of madness and rush in during the last reel to save
the world from some monstrosity they've unwittingly released like Professor
Falken in the end of "WarGames"...
After all you only need to look at the sci-fi films that gain wide
acceptance to deduce that the wider public doesn't care much for movies
where real science is even nodded at.
How about the other original mad scientist, beside Dr. Frankenstein, Dr.
Jeckyll.

But can anyone really top Colin Clive in the original Frankenstein when he
yells:

"It's alive! Alive!"

Then there was Humphrey Bogart in "The Return of Dr. X"

Anyone for the multitude of crazy doctors played by Vincent Price? Even up to
the last one in Edward Scissorhands.

For humor, two mad 'scientists' in one film - Gary and Wyatt in "Weird
Science"

Just some thoughts...
Mike Jackson
2004-02-07 03:50:31 UTC
Permalink
says...
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
Post by Mike Jackson
What was the name of the guy Walter Pidgen played in "Forbidden Planet"? I
think I guy that creates his own rampaging id monster is pretty nutso...
Morbius
Ah, I love Usenet, you don't have to remember anything because someone else
does.
Actually, the poster's original question about some great 'mad' scientists
in film history I'd venture that the non-mad scientists in film history are
probably the minority and thus quicker to list. Come to think of it I can't
think of any! Maybe Lacombe in "CE3K"? Even when they are good they are
eccentric to the point of madness and rush in during the last reel to save
the world from some monstrosity they've unwittingly released like Professor
Falken in the end of "WarGames"...
After all you only need to look at the sci-fi films that gain wide
acceptance to deduce that the wider public doesn't care much for movies
where real science is even nodded at.
How about the other original mad scientist, beside Dr. Frankenstein, Dr.
Jeckyll.
Played brilliantly by Dan Ackroyd on SNL in the short skit "Dr. Jeckyll and
Mr. Rogers"!
But can anyone really top Colin Clive in the original Frankenstein when he
"It's alive! Alive!"
I prefer Gene Wilder who did just as good a job with a variation of that
line as well as so many others like "Great knockers!"
Then there was Humphrey Bogart in "The Return of Dr. X"
Oh yeah, Bogie's paean to transvestites or sumthin'... He looked so fucking
weird in that film you have to see it for that alone. The plot is fuck-all
though...
Anyone for the multitude of crazy doctors played by Vincent Price? Even up to
the last one in Edward Scissorhands.
I was the boy who wanted to be Vincent Price!
/obscure joke
For humor, two mad 'scientists' in one film - Gary and Wyatt in "Weird
Science"
No one watched that film for Gary and Wyatt. Whatever happened to what's her
name anyway? And Bill Paxton went onto bigger and better things...
Just some thoughts...
Being the Kubrick fan I still think Dr. Strangelove has them all beat.
I'm sure the current WMD intelligence snafu originated in the Bland
Corporation and has the good doctors fingerprints all over it...
--
All that glitters has a high refractive index.
John
2004-02-07 15:32:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
How about the other original mad scientist, beside Dr. Frankenstein, Dr.
Jeckyll.
Played brilliantly by Dan Ackroyd on SNL in the short skit "Dr. Jeckyll and
Mr. Rogers"!
Yep. Ackroyd had that one down pat.
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
But can anyone really top Colin Clive in the original Frankenstein when he
"It's alive! Alive!"
I prefer Gene Wilder who did just as good a job with a variation of that
line as well as so many others like "Great knockers!"
Okay - I'll have to defer on that one. But while Colin was playing it
straight, Wilder did it one comic better.

"Okay - you take the blonde and I'll take the one with the turban."
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
Then there was Humphrey Bogart in "The Return of Dr. X"
Oh yeah, Bogie's paean to transvestites or sumthin'... He looked so fucking
weird in that film you have to see it for that alone. The plot is fuck-all
though...
If Bogart had played the hero in that film it would have been forgotten long
ago. But as the weird Dr. (was this a precursor to Dr. Frankenfurter?) it
makes it a looney classic. :)
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
Anyone for the multitude of crazy doctors played by Vincent Price? Even up to
the last one in Edward Scissorhands.
I was the boy who wanted to be Vincent Price!
/obscure joke
Joke received... And understood, Tim! :)
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
For humor, two mad 'scientists' in one film - Gary and Wyatt in "Weird
Science"
No one watched that film for Gary and Wyatt. Whatever happened to what's her
name anyway? And Bill Paxton went onto bigger and better things...
True. But that sequence just prior to Kelley LeBrock's first appearance is
hilarious (including the cameo by Colin Clive on teh TV.)

BTW: She married Steven Seagal, dropped out of film, divorced his sorry ass
and was trying a comeback that didn't go very far. Just a little trivia...
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
Just some thoughts...
Being the Kubrick fan I still think Dr. Strangelove has them all beat.
I'm sure the current WMD intelligence snafu originated in the Bland
Corporation and has the good doctors fingerprints all over it...
Isn't he in charge of Halliburton now?
Mike Jackson
2004-02-07 18:07:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by John
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
How about the other original mad scientist, beside Dr. Frankenstein, Dr.
Jeckyll.
Played brilliantly by Dan Ackroyd on SNL in the short skit "Dr. Jeckyll and
Mr. Rogers"!
Yep. Ackroyd had that one down pat.
Which of course leads me to wonder what mad scientist created Pat of "It's
Pat" SNL fame? Androgyny was never so terrifying.
Post by John
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
But can anyone really top Colin Clive in the original Frankenstein when he
"It's alive! Alive!"
I prefer Gene Wilder who did just as good a job with a variation of that
line as well as so many others like "Great knockers!"
Okay - I'll have to defer on that one. But while Colin was playing it
straight, Wilder did it one comic better.
"Okay - you take the blonde and I'll take the one with the turban."
It's Mel's masterpiece. The outtakes of that scene on the DVD will make you
hurt laughing.
Post by John
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
Then there was Humphrey Bogart in "The Return of Dr. X"
Oh yeah, Bogie's paean to transvestites or sumthin'... He looked so fucking
weird in that film you have to see it for that alone. The plot is fuck-all
though...
If Bogart had played the hero in that film it would have been forgotten long
ago. But as the weird Dr. (was this a precursor to Dr. Frankenfurter?) it
makes it a looney classic. :)
I've never seen it all the way through and it's been a real long time since
I've seen it, but it's a real WTF? film alright.
Post by John
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
Anyone for the multitude of crazy doctors played by Vincent Price? Even up
to the last one in Edward Scissorhands.
I was the boy who wanted to be Vincent Price!
/obscure joke
Joke received... And understood, Tim! :)
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
For humor, two mad 'scientists' in one film - Gary and Wyatt in "Weird
Science"
No one watched that film for Gary and Wyatt. Whatever happened to what's her
name anyway? And Bill Paxton went onto bigger and better things...
True. But that sequence just prior to Kelley LeBrock's first appearance is
hilarious (including the cameo by Colin Clive on teh TV.)
It's been so long since I saw that film I barely remember it other than
whatever the hell that disgusting puppet was that Paxton gets turned into.
Post by John
BTW: She married Steven Seagal, dropped out of film, divorced his sorry ass
and was trying a comeback that didn't go very far. Just a little trivia...
I think I saw her on some where-are-they-now thing once with a snippet of
her living on a ranch someplace. I'd forgotten the Seagal thing. I had a
tangential brush with Seagal once when I lived in LA without actually seeing
him.

I was trying to move out of a loft I had on Spring Street, must have been
the fall of 1990, when the landlords unknown to the residents rented the
parking garage we all used to his film. There were like 100 crew folks
blocking my way outta the building while a bunch of actors playing the bad
guys in one of his films held an actors head in front of the tire of a car
for hours and hours while he screamed for his life. I remember arguing with
whoever was in charge about how long they were taking while they ran the car
over and over a sandbag simulating the doomed actors head. This madness went
on for over 12 hours and wound up finally being able to move my stuff at
like midnight.

It wasn't until years later I saw this film on TNT or something, watched the
bad guys run into the garage, jump in their car and speed away without
killing the guy that I was really steamed.
Post by John
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by John
Just some thoughts...
Being the Kubrick fan I still think Dr. Strangelove has them all beat.
I'm sure the current WMD intelligence snafu originated in the Bland
Corporation and has the good doctors fingerprints all over it...
Isn't he in charge of Halliburton now?
Either that or the Trilateral Commission thing...
--
"Well, it's a class 'M' planet, so it should at least have Roddenberries."
-- Leela, "Futurama"
frank habets
2004-02-08 02:43:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Actually, the poster's original question about some great 'mad' scientists
in film history I'd venture that the non-mad scientists in film history are
probably the minority and thus quicker to list. Come to think of it I can't
think of any!
Indiana Jones (archeologist).
That Cary Grant character from Bringing Up Baby (paleontologist)
Clive Revill is a sane physicist in Legend of Hell House.
That's the best I can do :(
Bullwinkle
2004-02-08 07:12:53 UTC
Permalink
Dr. Rotwang in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis."
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