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Indestructible Man, The

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    Ian Jane
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  • Indestructible Man, The



    Released by: Bayview Entertainment/Retromedia
    Released on: April 16, 2013.
    Director: Jack Pollexfen
    Cast: Lon Chaney Jr., Max Showalter, Marian Carr
    Year: 1956
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    From Jack Pollexfen, the B-movie writer behind such films as The Man From Planet X and Sword Of Venus comes one of only a trio of directorial efforts, 1956's Lon Chaney Jr. headliner, The Indestructible Man.

    The movie tells the tale of an armored car robber named Charles 'Butcher' Benton (Chaney) who is locked up after his three cohorts - fellow robbers "Squeamy" Ellis (Marvin Ellis), Joe Marcelli (Ken Terrell) and lawyer Paul Lowe (Ross Elliott) - turned on him. He's sentenced to death, execution by electrocution, but before they flip the switch and send him into the great beyond, he swears revenge. He also keeps his mouth shut as to the location of the loot, even the girlfriend he left behind, Eva Martin (Marian Carr), doesn't know where it is. Detective Dick Chasen (Max Showalter) isn't going to let the case lie, however. He makes it his mission to find out what happened to the cash and get it back to where it belongs.

    What nobody counts on is Benton's corpse being handed off to a Professor Bradshaw (Robert Shayne) who uses it in some unorthodox cancer research experiments with electricity that wind up bringing him back to life. So not only is Benton back, and not only is he angry, but he's also more or less indestructible. The cops track him down and open fire, but bullets bounce off of him as if they were made of rubber. Not only is he bent on revenge, but he wants that money too…

    The Indestructible Man moves at a good pace but the decision to not give Chaney any speaking lines hurts the movie, the fairly pedestrian narration at times too bland for the movie's own good. There's an attempt, you can assume, to give the movie a sort of film noir feel by having Chasen tell us what it's all about but it just comes off as lazy. With that said, the concept is fun and watching Chaney run around town wreaking havoc and taking on all comers is entertaining enough.

    Even without Chaney's presence, there's a pretty solid cast here. Marian Carr looks great and does a fine job as Chaney's main squeeze while character actors like Ellis, Elliott, Shayne and Showalter are all fun to watch. Chaney steals the show when he's given the chance though, lumbering around and messing with the cops. His travels around mid-fifties era Los Angeles also allow for some nifty locations to pop up throughout the movie's brisk seventy-three minutes. Sure, it was all made for peanuts and it shows, but there's some occasional atmosphere and a surprisingly gritty tone helps to differentiate this one from the pack. MST3K crucified this one in its early days and it's hard to deny the goofy, campy elements of the film but that doesn't change the fact that this is a fun slice of low budget entertainment.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Indestructible Man doesn't look amazing on this DVD, framed at roughly 1.60.1 as opposed to fullframe (which seems to be how it's appeared on every other home video release) but it's certainly a step up in terms of clarity and quality from what we've seen before. There are times where the black and white image shows some blown out contrast and there's mild print damage throughout but for the most part, the picture is pretty decent, particularly when you consider how fairly awful it's looked in the past.

    The no frills English language Dolby Digital Mono sound mix follows suit. It won't floor you but it gets the job done. Some minor hiss can be heard here and there but generally the mix is fairly clean and the levels reasonably well balanced. No alternate language or subtitle options are provided.

    Extras kicks off with an eleven minute featurette entitled Remembering Lon Chaney in which Gary Graver talks about his experiences shooting Al Adamson's Dracula Vs. Frankenstein where he met and interacted with the actor. The disc also contains an episode of an older TV series from 1954 called The Whistler. Chaney appears in the episode, entitled Backfire, as a former convict who takes a job as a driver and runs into trouble when he starts interacting with his boss' wife (Dorothy Green). It's presented in fullframe black and white, just as it would have been initially broadcast and it's in reasonably nice shape.

    Rounding out the extras is a Lon Chaney Trailer Collection, which features theatrical spots for The Indestructible Man, Blood Of The Man-Devil, The Alligator People and Dracula Vs. Frankenstein. There's also a still gallery that has a minute or so worth of an audio interview with Chaney that plays overtop of the images. Menus and chapter selections are also included.

    The Final Word:

    Retromedia give The Indestructible Man a decent DVD release trumping past presentations in visual quality and throwing in a couple of fun Chaney-centric extra features for good measure. The movie isn't the crown jewel in Chaney's filmography but it's a fun mix of police thriller and sci-fi B-movie trappings sure to entertain.





















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