If you’re a fan of sixties sci-fi and fantasy television then you’d be hard pressed not to enjoy this Arthur C. Pierce penned tale of time travel. Felt like I was watching an alternative episode of The Invaders with a decidedly Terminator twist to it. Makes you wonder sometimes where inspirations are born for films the general public knows and loves.
Returning to the science fiction genre is The Day The Earth Stood Still’s Michael Rennie. Here he stars as a Cyborg from the year 2087 who is sent back in time to 1966. His mission is to either convince Professor Eduard Franz not to release his findings to the military on Radio Telepathy or if he has to, kill him. The success of his mission will alter the course of history. It seems that in the next century Radio Telepathy is used by a corrupt government to control mankind. Rennie has been sent back in time by rebels to restore the balance of power on Earth in 2087.
Michael Rennie, Michael Biehn. Am I getting through to you?
Rennie needs to find a friend in 1966 and he warms up to Linda Hamilton who works as the Professor’s assistant at Future Industries. Excuse me did I say Linda Hamilton? I meant to say Karen Steele. Rennie will convince Steele he’s from the future and has to shake Arnold Schwarzenegger who has followed him thru time to prevent the success of his mission. Damn! Not Arnie but two tracer Cyborgs who are tracking Rennie thanks to a homing device he carries inside his chest. Miss Steele will take Rennie to meet Warren Stevens who should be able to surgically remove the beacon that makes him a marked man/robot.
Time out for some teen dancing. Yes Warren is a widower with a daughter. She and her friends are going to give us some far out 60’s maneuvers to some rocking music in the living room. When questioned by Karen as to what the gang are up to one of the young men explains, ” We were showing the girls how to groove.”
When Rennie and the two tracers raise hell with ray guns and property damages in the small town the story takes place in, befuddled sheriff Wendell Corey and newsman Harry Carey Jr. are always one step behind the futuristic beings. Rennie is going to need help to shake his pursuers and Miss Steele is up to the challenge with her romantic interest Mr. Stevens looking to play hero when called upon. The goal is to stop that meeting that is fast approaching at 9 a.m. when Franz will unveil his findings to the military which in turn will be used as a weapon and in time change the course of history.
Again if you love these old flicks, this one has a charm that can’t be denied. Just wait till you see Karen all tied up and swung back and forth by a Cyborg using her as bait in a rundown barn. With every push she gives us her best scream as if she’s suffering the fires of hell. Truthfully it just looks like fun. But again that’s the charm. Kind of like those giant styrofoam rocks that Kirk and Spock have to dodge on every second planet they visit. Pure charm.
It’s not surprising that Cyborg 2087 has a TV feel to it. It’s directed by Franklin Adreon. Mr. Adreon had his roots in serials of the early 50’s like Panther Girl of the Kongo before moving on to TV episodes for shows like Lassie, Bat Masterson and Sea Hunt. 1966 proved his final year in the director’s chair and he’d team with writer Pierce on a pair of films. Cyborg and another thriller titled Dimension 5. Both films were recently released to blu ray from Kino Lorber allowing me the chance to see them for the first time as they were not movies I was familiar with.
Michael Rennie was an actor who could easily fit into most any genre. He’d move from sci-fi to westerns to biblical to mystery to war films and look like he belonged in them all. Not always an easy accomplishment for actors. Sadly he’d be gone just five years following this effort at the age of 61.
I liked the cheesy fun this Cyborg offered me and I think if I had seen it as a pre teen it would have been one I’ve been talking of for years. Kind of like John Saxon on a leash and collar to Diana Muldaur in Planet Earth. Anyway, that one’s for another day. Give this Rennie title a look should you get the chance to join him in his time capsule.