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Attack of the Puppet People

Overview

Bert I. Gordon will never be ranked among the great directors, even in the genre of low-budget films. But his movies, which include The Cyclops and War of the Colossal Beast, do carry with them fond memories of the 1950s, including drive-in theaters and the fun that went with the best exploitation pictures of the period. Attack of the Puppet People was, for Gordon and producers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson, the low-budget answer to Jack Arnold's The Incredible Shrinking Man. Though lacking the latter ...
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Overview

Bert I. Gordon will never be ranked among the great directors, even in the genre of low-budget films. But his movies, which include The Cyclops and War of the Colossal Beast, do carry with them fond memories of the 1950s, including drive-in theaters and the fun that went with the best exploitation pictures of the period. Attack of the Puppet People was, for Gordon and producers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson, the low-budget answer to Jack Arnold's The Incredible Shrinking Man. Though lacking the latter movie's well-wrought, existentialist script, and despite special effects that fray at the edges in ways that Arnold's movie never does, it moves at a good clip, and with Albert Glasser's pounding, growling music underscoring all of the action, even the most innocent scenes have an ominous air. In contrast to the Arnold film, which was aimed at general audiences, Attack of the Puppet People was aimed at a younger viewership, especially teenagers, so it has a rock & roll dance sequence and a scene in which the comely young heroine, in her shrunken state, takes a bubble bath in a metal tin. The casting of veteran character actor John Hoyt as the villain of the piece -- a lonely, mad dollmaker who finds a way of shrinking people to a height of eight inches -- is inspired. He is so good at presenting precise mannerisms and crawling inside the skin of his character that his scenes work on a higher level than the actual writing. As a slightly more benign successor to Albert Dekker's Dr. Cyclops, he carries much of the film (along with some decent special effects and model work). June Kenney gives a surprisingly good performance as the heroine, who experiences a terrible betrayal midway through the film, just before she is reduced to doll size. There are also some fascinating set pieces that intersect with earlier works such as Dr. Cyclops and anticipate scenes from Land of the Giants -- the best of them has the heroine forced to act on a miniature stage with a Jekyll and Hyde marionette that seems full size to her. The DVD looks gorgeous, which may sound like too strong a word in the context of a movie that cost less than $150,000 to shoot, but someone spent a lot of time finding excellent film elements and transferring them very carefully. The image is so sharp that it can't hide the fact that the "doll" of John Agar picked up in its glass tube by the heroine is a two-dimensional cut-out. The sound is nicely balanced and very clean as well, and it even benefits one of the movie's "in" jokes, in which the hero and heroine attend a drive-in showing of Gordon's The Amazing Colossal Man; the sound on the movie playing in the background is crisp. One can also appreciate the effort the producers made to match the sound to the visual effects -- normal-sized people and animals sound bassy and distorted when heard from the point of view of the miniaturized victims, and the victims sound shrill and muted when heard by normal-sized people. The 79-minute movie is broken down into 16 chapters, and includes an original trailer. The menu comes up automatically on start-up.
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; English: mono; French & Spanish subtitles
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/20/2001
  • UPC: 027616858528
  • Original Release: 1958
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan / Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:19:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Agar Bob Westley
Michael Mark Emil
Jack Kosslyn Sgt. Paterson
Laurie Mitchell Georgia
Scott Peters Mac
Susan Gordon Agnes
June Jocelyn Brownie Leader
Jean Moorhead Janet
Hank Patterson Doorman
Hal Bogart Mailman
Troy Patterson Elevator Operator
Bill Giorgio Janitor
Mark Lowell Salesman
June Kenney Solly Reynolds
Kenny Miller Stan
John Hoyt Mr. Franz
Technical Credits
Bert I. Gordon Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Albert Glasser Score Composer
Ernest Laszlo Cinematographer
Ronald Sinclair Editor
George Worthing Yates Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Scene Selections
0. Scene Selections
1. Logo/Title/Credits [1:52]
2. New girl Friday [6:26]
3. Dead letter dept [6:31]
4. The good ol' days [4:17]
5. Shortcut romance [7:08]
6. Who's that doll? [4:46]
7. Shiny little people [4:16]
8. A demonstration [2:16]
9. New to the family [1:13]
10. Calling for help [6:35]
11. Dolly detective [8:34]
12. "Bow out together" [4:47]
13. All dolled up [4:07]
14. Final performance [3:33]
15. Doggie treats [4:37]
16. "I'll be alone"/End [5:07]
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Menu

Main
Play Movie
   Menu Group #1 with 16 chapter(s) covering 01:19:15
Theatrical Trailer
Subtitles
   Français
   Español
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