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The Man of Bronze
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The Man of Bronze
(1975): Set in the year 1936. For the most part,
this film was well-done in
concept; not so much in execution. I'm always a bit forgiving
with superhero shows. Still, I think a really great new Doc
Savage movie should be made. What do you think?
The filming is terrific.
Definitely not a cheap production. After all,
it was put out by Warner Bros. studios so you know there has to be some
decent production values here. There is a lot of wide, outside
filming to really open it up. I also like the nice, clean
elaborate sets and all of Doc Savage's cool things like his car,
helicopter, plane, etc. The camera work was really well
done. They weren't trying to do anything experimental or weird
with the way one scene went to another. They were just making a
good movie. I like that. There's honesty to that. And
after all, honesty is what the character of Doc Savage is all about.
The cast was wonderful.
I could see all of these men and women on
merchandising. I don't know how much of that was actually made
when this movie was out, but appearances and acting-wise they made the
grade. Ron Ely is a cool action actor. He looked the part
and I really could believe he was a "man of bronze." The Fabulous
Five, his sidekicks, were all great as well.
I think of all Doc's underlings, Paul Gleason as
Long Tom was given the biggest billing. He was definitely the
biggest name of all the actors in the FF. However, we don't
really see that much of him or his character doing anything of major
consequence. The sidekicks with the most screen time are Monk
(played by Michael Miller) and Ham (played by Darrell Zwerling).
Monk is the short, fat guy who is the world's greatest chemist.
He has a pet pig named Habeas Corpus. Ham is an uppity lawyer who
always makes remarks on Monk and his pig. They're still friends,
though, and by the end we see that Ham loosens up. We do NOT,
however, see much of the members Renny (played by Bill Lucking) or
Johnny (played by Eldon Quick). It seems that Renny, Johnny, and
Long Tom are really included in the movie just to satisfy fans of the
Doc Savage books.
Paul Wexler as Captain Seas, the villain, is
funny. I can never take him too seriously. They made the
movie purposely campy just so he wouldn't seem too scary. And at
the end of the movie he lives, and is reformed. That's a neat
thing that they did. Certainly unexpected. I thought he was
going to die for sure. A nice twist to the movie.
Captain Seas had two women with him all the
time. Complete bimbos. Adriana (played by Janice Heiden)
did not have a speaking role, but she looks great! Karen (played
by Robyn Hilton) is the one that spoke and really gives us the strong
impression of her bimboisms. Blonde and busty. What a
tramp! Everything that she says and does is really put-on,
because she forces her femininity. What a funny character!
Doc's "woman" of the picture was played by Pamela
Hensley. It says in the credits "Introducing Pamela Hensley"
although she had already been in TV and movies for five years.
She would later play a very popular part as the evil Princess Ardala in
the "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" feature film and subsequent TV
series. They did a really great job of making her look and act
Hispanic. If I didn't know, I would've assumed she WAS
Hispanic. She really did that great of a job. Completely
different from her Princess Ardala character.
Don Rubio Gorro (played by Bob Corso) is the
sidekick to the evil Captain Seas. He's a tiny Latino guy, and
they poke fun at him often for being so small throughout the
picture. On numerous occasions he's shown in an overside cradle
sucking his thumb. Although funny, it really didn't fit the
picture. You're left wondering: "What the heck is that all
The other actors are great, too, but I've
highlighted the major players.
Could this movie be any cheesier? It's like
they were trying hard on purpose to make it so hokey that people
wouldn't want to watch it. It flopped at the box office upon it's
release, but it wouldn't have if it was made a bit more
believable. There are a lot of cool things in this movie, but
even I had a hard time overlooking some of the hokeyness.
For instance, some of the things the actors were
made to say. I bet you they all thought: "What?" The
patriotic speech Doc gives to the Fabulous Five before boarding his
plane. Some of the cheezy things Doc was made to say
anyway. The over-the-top silliness of Captain Seas. The
extremely over-the-top Don Rubio Gorro character who is a bit too much
like Pee Wee Herman humor. It was a little confusing at times
whether this movie was meant to be a comedy or an adventure. In
moments of the film, it would go too far in one direction or the
other. There wasn't a really good blend. But with a movie
like this, you do have to love it for it's individual parts. It
is not all bad or all good.
Another hokey thing is that, after only a few
minutes, Mona deeply loves Doc Savage. Come on! That
doesn't happen in real life no matter what. There wasn't a real
romantic connection between the two. She was just meant to be the
eye candy. Still, the actress that played her did a magnificent
job! It's just too bad that she wasn't given more importance.
Perhaps the one thing I thought strange is that Doc
Savage's father died, and he didn't seem too upset about it. He
was just too darn cool about the whole thing. Didn't he feel a
need for revenge? There wasn't really a motivation for his
character. And the exact details of his father's death never were
really focused on.
The theme music.
God, this is awful! They used John Phillip
Sousa marching music and worked in really pompous Doc Savage lyrics to
tell us all how good and cool he is. What old fart came up with
the idea to do that? "Thank the Lord he's here!"
Yeah...right. Hey, folks, this was set in the 1930s. If
anything, have a 1930s-era sounding soundtrack. No matter what
the heroes were doing, they'd go into playing this march music.
In the fight scene on the boat, it made the action feel more like a
comedy scene than a real knock-down, drag-out brawl. And that
they played the same theme music over and over. One or two more
tunes would've been nice.
This movie was supposed to be the first in a series
of films based on the popular "Doc Savage" pulp novels. However,
poor box office results cancelled plans for any further film
It is said that a sequel had been filmed in the Lake
Tahoe area simultaneously with the principal photography for this first
film. However, due to the lack of success with this first film,
the sequel was never completed.
Doc Savage's real name: Clark Savage, Jr.
Monk's real name: Lt. Colonel Andrew Blodgett
Ham's real name: Brig. Gen. Theodore Marley
Long Tom's real name: Major Thomas J. Roberts
Renny's real name: Col. John Renwick
Johnny's real name: William Harper Littlejohn