Monday, November 14, 2011

The Thing With Two Heads! A Scientific Journey

Last night's film was "The Thing With Two Heads", the title which pretty much describes the plot. The film answered the question many of us have asked--what happens when the heads of a former NFL star and an acclaimed Oscar winner are grafted onto the same body? The answer, of course, is top notch hijinks.

Ray Milland stars as a bigoted but brilliant scientist who has created advances in the field of sticking extra heads on the bodies of primates. I wish I were making this up, because seeing that written out makes me realize just how complete nonsense this movie was. (Yes, it was an "American International Pictures" release, how did you know?) Milland is also dying, and so he arranges for the state of California to donate a death row inmate so that they can graft his (Milland's) head onto the inmate's body, then once the head is fully supportable on the body, the inmate's original head can be sawed off. Presto, new body for the scientist!

Well, imagine this bigoted scientist's shock when he realizes that his flunkies secured not a white inmate but a black death row inmate for the grafting! Yes, former NFL star Rosey Grier plays the hapless inmate who will now have to share his body with the head of an old white bigot. The two escape, go on a nonsensical chase involving motorcycles, and ultimately find Grier's girlfriend so she can help prove his innocence of the charges he was put on death row for. Milland, of course, just hates black people and wants to saw off Grier's head.

But in the end, the two have learned to overcome their differences, Milland learns that blacks are people too, and he grows as a person. No, wait, he pretty much stays bigoted and Grier manages to remove Milland's head and leave it in a bucket of ice, making clear to Milland and the audience that black people will just up and leave you for dead if it benefits them. This is a terrible lesson for audiences, even in 1972!

Amazingly, "Frogs" wasn't the stupidest film that Ray Milland was in that year.

No comments:

Post a Comment