Inside a Cerebral Cult Classic, The Brain From Planet Arous

Inside a Cerebral Cult Classic, The Brain From Planet Arous ...

The Brain from Planet Arous (1957) presented a more thorough takeover of alien possession. Gor, an evil intergalactic brain, invades the human body of an atomic scientist, and proposes to conquer the world. The film Detective has recovered a 4K transfer for a special edition Blu-ray and DVD.

Nathan Juran, the writer who produced and photographed The Deadly Mantis (1957) and Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958) and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), has been named as scientist Steve March. Joyce Meadows (The Christine Jorgensen Story, The Girl in Lovers Lane) is his analytical partner.

Meadows was a stage actress and singer since she was eight and was a stage actress and singer ever since high school. Despite her progress, her films often featured positive reactions to the dizzy days of the time.

Meadows, who never made music or performed live in theater productions, recently revisited her role as Sally Fallon in the 13-minute introduction and comedic featurette, Not the Same Old Brain, in the DVD. She talked with Den of Geek about the dangers and limitations of the gigantic brains.The below interview has been complete.

Den of Geek: What the transition from live theater to set was when you first saw your brain from planet Earth?

Joyce Meadows: Yes, as far as developing characters and bringing the moments alive, my theater background provided a lot of support. The challenge was the technical things. Planet Arous'' brain had a lot of different camera moves, and I had to learn to identify my marks a couple of times without seeing them. Actually, the director, Nathan, would just let me walk through that one several times, hitting my marks, because that was critical to be on camera.

Another difference was that in plays you start with scene one, and movies or television, they might start with the middle of the script or toward the end of the script, and then return to the first. It never was in sequence. You had to remember things and connect as an actor, but not lose whatever work you did, no matter what you were going to shoot that day.

How did you get Steve Marsh''s Sally Fallons'' shocking scenes? How did you get John Hagar to quit so aggressively?

Well, that was the first time John had to play a bad guy and a good guy. He jumped in and, I think, surprised himself. Those contacts he had to put on, were usually very quick, because they were very painful. His eyes would just start watering, and go to pot after a minute or so. So, I said, he just did, well, his character''s development. And so, I said.

Would you have placed on those contacts if the script called for it? Because I would have resigned rather than do that.

Well, if you have accepted the role, you commit to what you have done, and what you have done. Thats how the monster demonstrated himself. John did, and I would have done the same thing if the monster had taken over my body. Because actors are a strange lot. The show must continue, you know.

At the start of the shoot, you saw the big brain for the first time. Do you assign human properties to your mind when youre acting against a prop, or is it not much different from working with a wooden actor?

I never saw the brain being created or created or anything. I never saw it until I was in the caves. Its reaction to it and the eeriness of the darkness, and the weird lighting and things, made me smile and respond to it. I did emotional memory. For the rest of the film, when the brain was around, it was there as much as my emotional memory.

John and I never talked about it, how each one of us did it. There usually wasn''t enough time. I never saw the brain again until it came at me at the end of the film. It was actually my emotional memory that I had. Every time I saw the brain, I said so.

Sally was your only science fiction role. Yet you had a recurring role as Lynn Allen on the TV series, The Man and The Challenge. That seemed like a very progressive role for the time. Did you know that science fiction writers and western writers were different from those who penned westerns or detective stories?

Because they were both science-fiction, you had to believe things that weren''t realistic. I wish I had been there for Star Trek. I was there when I was younger, though I was also on the go. Even though I wasn''t there, I was there right next to the TV.

Three appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Was it interesting to see a show similar to those that were performed?

Alfred Hitchcock appeared on talking at the beginning of the show, on another stage, all by himself. He never directed any of them. I never met him, he was never available or around any of the actual television shows. I thought the scripts for television were very well written and straightforward to do.

The actors were very good at that time, but a lot of people did not know how to get on top of them. I was aware that the three films were quite interesting. I thought the show was rather straightforward.

You are in one of the most powerful scenes in The Christine Jorgensen Story. Was it a pleasure to make in 1970?

She was always on the set for the first time. I thought it was very interesting to hear that when she was on the set every day. I thought it was the beginning of accepting or at least becoming interested in the same type of thing.

When she was younger, she was a he and had a girlfriend. I would say that later in her life, she was not aware how young she was, but she was constantly there every day. I guess that''s why she was so grateful for it. So, today, she was so grateful for all of her support.

You were on Wanted: Dead or Alive. What Steve McQueen was happy to work with, and how did he feel when cameras were off?

I got to know him very well, as we walked around around the stage and discussed our careers. Steve was very generous. At the time, they stated that if audiences see you for free, they will not pay to see you. He was also going to go into movies, which he did and succeeded, but he talked about it, too. He was very adept at assisting people in the scenes, especially if he had no grip on it. He was very aggressive in his own words, but he was also focused on

We both had a different background, but my part was really important because I required him to marry me in the segment I did with him, because I needed a husband to save my son, whom the child''s grandmother wanted to take away. So, I needed a father right then and there. I thought my desire was to bring in someone like him, who was compassionate. So, he was so distraught.

Because we both had a different experience, although he was Actors Studio and I was Stella Adler. He was very, very strong and very ambituous about what he was going to do. But I thought, I wish I had had some of that courage. He was quite adamant about getting into the movies after the television show. And, obviously, he did The Blob somewhere in there.

Because this is Den of Geek, I have to ask what you remember about working on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Not too much, only because I was a judge. I arrived in and did that scene. I think I only had one scene that night. And that was it. I dont recall too much. I was a kid of Superman and I thought Christopher Reeve was the best image I had as a kid.

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I am personally a huge fan of Poverty Row films and the smaller studios. What they liked to do, or did you feel like you were part of the history of the indie film as you approached it?

I applauded it, particularly since they did not have independent films. If you wanted an actor, then you still had to deal with a Screen Actors Guild, and ultimately, business wise, they agreed on a deal according to someone''s budget. And as years have passed, it becomes, with the computers and cell phones, and all the communication, a fascinating environment for young people to learn the art, of acting and producing. I believe it is transformed into something quite remarkable.

I saw what you did with you. How difficult was the shower scene to shoot, and does choreography add to the performance?

A lot of reactions, close ups. It was your imagination. Because actually, there was nothing being stabbed. I had to commit to the idea that I was going to die. So, I was exhausted. Even when it was put together, it was somewhat real. So, when it was done, it was really fun. I found myself doing something quite so well. I was so glad I was playing a big part. I liked it.

What questions were you faced in the film with Joan Crawford?

Joan Crawford was a type of film star who would not come on the set if a young actress was on the set. So, I had to complete everything I was supposed to do on the days that I completed it, then she came on the set afterwards. But I was gone. I know she was one of those old stars who did not want to be around young actors. But I forgot to say that she was out. I was never sure if she was going on the set.

Is it possible to tell me about your death scene in The Girl in Lovers Lane?

Jack Elam, who murdered me, was the sweetest, gentlest person, and when he took me down on the ground, seeing me with one eye going one direction and another he said, then you would be scared. I started to laugh, and went completely out of character. In his westerns and things, Jack was simply a kind person. He was also the one who helped me to die for the crimes. I thought the film was excellent.

As the independent film movement experienced its rebirth, you walked away from movies and went to theater.

I did it. And nobody had faith in me. If I am unhappy about that Ive sole myself to blame. Sometimes you may kick yourself around the block on things. Some things in your life. I should have done that. But I had no idea. That''s one of my other regrets as an actor.

Was the theater world as sexist or sexually oppressive as the film world?

No, no, you didnt have that. And, naturally, there was no such thing as sexual harassment, it was something you had to deal with. But in all the theater that I did, I never had that problem, never done. But it was pretty constant in Hollywood. I am never going into it, and I do not write anything about it. So many actors already have. It was certainly something we all had to deal with.

For Not the Same Old Brain, What was it like to return to the Sally Fallon character?

I had a couple of weeks to look into that script, and I had notes in my previous scripts. There was no difference between myself and Sally, but I had to be Sally now. She is still there, she has the pith helmet, and is looking for new people out there that might be attempting to take over the world.

Starting June 21, a DVD and The Brain From Planet Arous will be available.