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A Not Indestructible Movie

Spoiler Alert! I don’t know why I bother with these, really. Yes, I’m going to give away the ending, but quite frankly, I think you can see this one coming.

I had high hopes when I DVR’d Indestructible Man (1956) with Lon Chaney. After all, Lon Chaney as a man who is brought back from the dead, what’s not to like?

The short answer is, this movie, although I’m not sure that’s strictly accurate. I didn’t hate the movie, but I was disappointed. I guess I don’t know what I expect out of these things.

The movie opens with Chaney in a jail cell, talking to his lawyer prior to execution. Apparently his lawyer set him up then talked his partners into turning him in. The lawyer says, “You know that’s not true,” largely, I think, because people are listening (not just us). Chaney is apparently having the last laugh, because he knows where the loot is. The lawyer promises to take care of Chaney’s girlfriend if only he’ll reveal the location of the dough. Chaney, however, promises to take care of his own girl and to kill his betrayers, by means unspecified at that time.

“Remember what I said,” he rumbles. I did.

My question is, how does he know? As it turns out, a mad scientist’s assistant bribes some prison guys for Chaney’s body, but this has not been planned in advance with Chaney’s collusion.

Oh, about the mad scientist, the character is really, I guess, just a dedicated researcher seeking a cure for cancer. I added the description “mad,” because, come on, experimenting on dead felons’ bodies? Is that the sort of thing they teach in regular scientist school?

So you know what’s going to happen, and they happily don’t take too long getting there. After being zapped with apparently more juice than they used in the electric chair, Chaney comes back to life with his cells reproducing madly, rending him indestructible but not visibly any different. Oh, he can’t talk, but I believe that is the result of the original execution, not the mad science.

And off he goes on his rampage, killing everybody in his path, except of course his girlfriend. Oh, yeah, she isn’t really his girlfriend (don’t they all say that once he’s indestructible and on a rampage?). She’s a burlesque dancer. To me the most striking feature of the movie is that she doesn’t do anything stupid, unless you count marrying the cop at the end (yeah, this is why I added the spoiler alert).

I watched this picture the afternoon of closing night of Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play I was in at Ilion Little Theatre. Perhaps I was distracted by that and did not give the movie sufficient attention to appreciate it. As I write this post, I am still convalescent from the heinous stomach ailment that has been plaguing me, so perhaps I am still not paying sufficient attention. Then again, if the movie was as indestructible as the title character, I don’t think these things would have mattered. I say it was neither cheesy enough to horror enough to be worth your time.

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