Trog (1970)

FREDDIE FRANCIS

Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5

United Kingdom, 1970Herman Cohen ProductionsOriginal story by Peter Bryan, John Gilling, Screenplay by Aben KandelCinematography by Desmond DickinsonProduced by Herman Cohen.   Music by John Scott.   Production Design by Geoffrey Tozer.   Costume Design by Ron BeckFilm Editing by Oswald Hafenrichter.

Geologists exploring a subterranean cave make a shocking discovery when one of them is murdered by a primitive creature living underground.  The other two report the experience to an anthropologist (Joan Crawford in her final film) who insists on going in to see it for herself, then has the troglodyte sedated and brought back to her lab for study.  Crawford believes that the caveman that she lovingly names “Trog” can be brought up to speed with modern-day humanity, even performing surgery to give him the power of speech in the hopes of learning everything she can about him for her own research, but conservative powers (mainly in the form of Michael Gough) react in fear and want him destroyed. Touches of Frankenstein in the narrative might have landed a little more poignantly if it wasn’t for the painfully bad characterization at the movie’s core, you are very clearly watching a wrestler wearing a Halloween mask (actually a costume left over from the filming of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey).  Crawford is, as always, rock solid and poised, giving as much credibility to her silly dialogue as she can and looking fabulous in bright colours and flawless makeup, somehow managing to not embarrass herself despite never actually seeming like she’s having that good a time either.  It’s impressive how much the rest of the cast commits, but there’s the creative team behind this film have absolutely no idea how to have fun with this nonsense concept.

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