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and then shoot me with it...this is an absolute howler!! See Joan face down the troglodyte with her "hypo-gun"!!! See Joan's wardrobe of pink, white and tan lab coats!! See Joan bully the troglodyte into submission!......The sad end to a glorious career for sure,but let there be no doubt, it's still the one and only Joan.....kicking troglodyte ass no less. Heck, if I had a murderous troglodyte on the loose, I'd call Joan.............Crawford is quite game with her role as the scientist(?) and maintains a straight face throughout....no matter if she is tossing rubber lizards to the troglodyte or crawling around in the dark calling out to the TROG! This is a gloriously bad movie. MOMMIE DEAREST was no crueler than this.
'Trog'. I almost have to stifle my giggles just typing the title! This
movie, Hollywood Golden Age Superstar Joan Crawford's final big screen role,
is so cheap and silly it is the stuff of legend. Crawford plays it straight,
which makes it even more ludicrous. She plays an anthropologist who tries to
educate a "missing link" (Joe Cornelius), affectionately nicknamed Trog,
much against the wishes of the local townsfolk led by legendary character
actor Michael Gough (Hammer's 'Dracula', 'Horrors Of The Black Museum',
'Konga', 'The Legend Of Hell House', 'Venom',etc.etc.) Of course Trog
escapes and goes on a rampage, and it all ends in tears. This movie is an
absolute hoot! I can't decide which is my favourite bit - the ridiculous
scenes where Crawford tries to teach Trog to play with toy robots and dolls,
Trog's agitated reaction to hearing rock'n'roll, or Trog battling with a
German Shepherd. Each of these sequences is absolutely unforgettable. The
silliest bit is probably an excruciatingly long and cheesy animated dinosaur
battle which makes Gumby look like 'Jurassic Park'! The most amazing thing
is that 'Trog's director went on to make the excellent Peter
Cushing/Christopher Lee classic 'The Creeping Flesh', and it was co-written
by John Gilling who made the excellent 'The Plague Of Zombies' and 'The
Reptile' for Hammer. What went wrong here is anybody's guess! 'Trog' is a
really bad movie, but a really enjoyable one. Highly recommended
P.S. Keep an eye out for an early appearance by cult actor David Warbeck, who went on to Hammer's 'Twins Of Evil', Russ Meyer's 'Blacksnake!' and Fulci's 'The Beyond'.
People sure do make a big deal out of Joan Crawford being drunk, especially
in dreck like this. I guess it would be surprising to learn that she was
completely smashed during the filming of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane,"
but let's forget that. It was a decent movie. My point here is that most
of these reviews slam the star for being tipsy. If you were making "Trog"
you'd want to be as incoherent as possible! Second, Joan doesn't mangle her
lines. They come out oddly, but they aren't mangled. It wasn't like Joan
Crawford to mess up, at least not in public. The main problem with the
lines is their utter idiocy.
My first big problem with the movie wasn't the horrible sets. It wasn't even Trog, who couldn't even get makeup from the waist down. Brockton Research Centre is run by Dr. Brockton, who just happens to be Joan Crawford. Here's my big problem. Of all the actresses (drunken or not) in all the world, why in the heck would someone pick Joan Crawford to play an anthropologist? Does she even know what one is? Hearing her discuss Neanderthals makes me shudder. I don't know anything about Neanderthals, and I don't think Joan can teach me a darn thing about them either. "Conceivably, Trog was frozen solid" etc. etc. etc. What?!? I simply cannot believe Joan would waste her breath talking about cavemen. It's wrong. Even more incredible, she has earned a research center with her name all over it! What did she do to get that? Paint the sign herself? I'm slamming Joan myself now, but still. This is weird casting.
As for the acting in the movie (this is a movie, not a film), Joan did better than the movie deserved. That was something she had a gift for. Giving more than she got. She didn't get anything with this one, but she still gave it her all. That causes people to snicker and laugh, saying "Joan must be stupid to think this movie merits all this." No, the movie doesn't, but Joan's mind needed the knowledge that she always did (and looked her best). We may laugh when she gets overly attached to what looks like a wrestler being attacked by a monkey, but we should give her some credit for trying. That's why I think that one moment at the end of the film is quite good. She refuses a newsman's microphone, and you can almost forget how awful this movie is when you see the weariness on her face.
It is said Bette Davis commented that if she had found herself starring
in "Trog," she'd commit suicide. Alas, poor Joan Crawford, who
obviously felt she couldn't be fussy if she wanted the work, descended
to this cut-rate, Herman Cohen-produced monster movie. Ironically
released in the States by Warner Brothers (on the bottom half of a
double-bill with "The Torture Garden"), the studio for which Ms
Crawford made several of her hits including "Mildred Pierce", the only
scary thing about "Trog" is the sight of a once-glamorous, legendary
leading lady schlepping around in a lab coat (she plays an
anthropologist), obviously tipsy as she slurs inane lines like "Trog
lives on a diet of fish and lishardsh." Let's face it: under the
circumstances, you'd drink, too.
Trog is cutesy for troglodyte: a primitive missing-link cave-dweller portrayed by a burly actor in an Alley Oop-like caveman get-up and an over-the-head, dime-store Halloween mask. Discovered by a hunky and shirtless, albeit unfortunate, team of spelunking college students, Trog is captured and put under the observation of Dr Brockton (Joan).
The true villain of this piece is Michael Gough (also slumming it), a representative of the opposing townspeople who, in a public confrontation with Joan, causes her to explode in a moment of impassioned fury. Regrettably, she does not give Gough her trademark slap in the face.
Trog eventually escapes to wreak some customary monster-movie havoc and Joan hunts him down with her "hypo-gun" across the bleak fields of the northern English countryside and down into his cavern, dressed in a smartly tailored tan jacket, slacks and boots ensemble.
Hollywood Royalty? Joan tries to maintain her dignity and poise despite having to deliver lines like, "Put the child down, Trog!" and occasionally looking a little woozy. This sad swan song to a long, brilliant career, amid the preposterous mise en scene, gives "Trog" the feeling of a tragi-comedy. Like one of her memorable screen characters, the real Joan Crawford endeavors to be strong and, ultimately, to triumph against all odds.
Was perusing the user comments for this "Crawford Classic" while chuckling & guffawing at the varied minutia & trivia all the viewers had observed. Yet I was surprised & perplexed that no one had pointed out one of the most hilarious continuity flubs ever seen for a "legitimate" theatrical release. The lapse occurs towards the end of the movie when Joan is descending down to the cave for the final encounter with Trog. As she approaches the downshaft entryway shrouded in her obligatory lab coat, her coif is the usual 20 layers of soft curls piled up at least a foot high over those trademark eyebrows. Cut to her arrival at the bottom of the shaft whereupon her hairdo has mysteriously morphed into a much shorter, much curlier, "poodle cut"!! Must have been a "mid-mineshaft" Salon where La Crawford had the opportunity to fluff up her locks. We ran & reran this sequence at least a dozen times & it got funnier on each replay (Perhaps we were alittle drunk too!). Check it out if you didn't see it the first time around.
Poor Joan Crawford, she had a brilliant career that spanned what 50 years and then she is reduced to this crap? She must have been drunk, desperate or both to get involved in this mess. I think poor Joan just literally had a death grip on her fame and wouldn't give it up. She couldn't stand not to be a *STAR*, but if one has to star in a movie such is this, it's time to call it quits. The storyline is basic, Joan plays an anthropologist (can you even believe that?) who helps to discover the missing link, TROG as she affectionately calls him. The movie is so lame, the killings are not scary, Trog running amok across the English countryside, frightening children (and the viewer with this insanity)on a playground, Trog reacting violently to jazz music if you can believe it!!!!! And so on and so forth....it campy and unintentionally funny to see Joan play "catch" with TROG!!!! If you want a good laugh watch this movie, but if you want to remember Joan Crawford as "Mildred Pierce" avoid this movie like the plague.
Joan Crawford's infamously bad swan song, the story of an anthropologist (Crawford) who makes a study of a missing link, whom she dubs "Trog" (short for "troglodyte"). The film is extremely cheap and cheesy. Hey, I like extremely cheap and cheesy. If it were only that, I probably would love the movie. But what makes the movie bad is its slow pace. People talk interminably about stupid things, and the boredom sets in and never leaves. The scenes where Trog and Crawford play ball are the very definition of camp, and I would have much preferred Trog's final rampage to last 80% of the film's run. So, due to boredom, this truly is a terrible movie. It may be bad, but I still liked it more than Love Story, which was released the same year.
Ya, it's a pretty bad movie. But as far as really bad movies go, this one is
great fun to watch!
Joan Crawford out-acts everyone else in the film to the point that she seems to be parodying herself, especially during the pseudo-philosophical scenes where she speculates about what makes us human. And Michael Gough is outstanding in his complex role as "the guy who wants Trog dead".
But Trog himself is the funniest part of the movie. Whether he's swaying to classical music, over-turning cars, walloping someone with his hairy forearms, or just dreaming about the good old days, Trog will have you in stitches. And if you don't find it funny, at least you'll be completely bewildered that someone actually made this movie.
No doubt about it - Trog is a bad, bad film. yet, I think it is better than most give it credit for and wholly entertaining for its camp. The story is inane: some troglodyte had been frozen in nearby caves somewhere in England for centuries, found by exploring men, kills the exploring men, and then is taken alive to go to the Brockton Scientific Research Center run by a high-coiffed Joan Crawdford. Crawford plays the scientist out to get a name for herself, her institute, and for added measure, science itself. But she is not the cold, dispassionate stereotype of a scientist. No, here she plays ball outside with what she affectionately calls Trog. She plays games with him. Gives him toys. Beams when he learns a new trick and mothers him in general. The trog, while in no way could I argue it was good make-up - what little there really is - is better than it could be. And at the very least, the trog costume/make-up is able to convey feeling and emotion to some degree. The rest of the story is preposterous as some local decides to let trog out - for reasons I never fully found convincing - so trog could go out and do his obligatory rampage through a small English village. Don't look for much in this movie. Freddie Francis, the old Hammer stalwart himself, directed this muddle and it is sub-par for a man with his talent that directed The Creeping Flesh and so many other great horror films of the 70s. From a directorial perspective, Trog is a major disappointment. But, if it is high camp you want and entertaining camp - I was never bored - then Trog might just be to your taste. What can be all bad about seeing a sixty-plus Joan Crawford don neon lab coats, throw rubber fish and lizards into a cage, throw a ball to a man in a troglodyte costume,or tote a hypo gun acting with all the seriousness of a Robert Stack. Those scenes were well-worth the pain one might incur during the "talky" scenes so many seem to have mentioned. I found the film to be surprisingly short at 93 minutes. The last two "major" films Crawford made were for legendary B producer Herman Cohen - Berserk! and Trog. Yes, they were dramatic departures for a legend such as Crawford, but they were acting jobs that still were mainstream cinema to some extent. And I am sure no one - including Crawford most of all, would have thought these two films would be her last(least if you will). Michael Gough is also in the picture in what I can only term as a completely throw-away role meant to make a plot that shouldn't move - move.
Okay, here's another one of those films I'll have to list in my
"underrated" category. I'd call it a "guilty pleasure" if I didn't
think that term is ridiculous in general; for I enjoy this
always-maligned monster-on-the-loose movie, and I don't feel in the
least ashamed of that. It's customary to tear it to shreds, though, and
I believe that's mainly because people cannot fathom the idea of
Hollywood Legend Joan Crawford "lowering" herself to star in what most
would consider to be "such stupid trash". Besides which, TROG was her
How seriously can you take a movie about a prehistoric missing link that pops up in the 20th Century and has Mommie Dearest caring for it? Well, Crawford is actually quite good and takes her part seriously; if there was any regret in her mind doing this type of movie, it doesn't show on the screen. She plays a doctor who takes an interest in the primitive half-ape, half-man (she names him Trog, short for troglodyte) who is prone to savagery when provoked, but who can be tamed with love and care. Michael Gough, England's always over-ripe bad guy, is deliciously sinister as a selfish Realtor who wants to destroy the misplaced creature, and he's got some good villainous dialogue at times (for example, when Crawford says she wants to study Trog, he rants: "Kill it first... THEN study its hide!!").
There are actually some pretty graphic "kill" scenes for this type of film (the butcher shop scene comes to mind, long before there was a certain CHAIN SAW MASSACRE flick), and Trog himself is capable of being not only fearsome, but also a pitiable victim at times. His simian face is enhanced by an electronic muzzle that manages to move and twitch much like an actual ape's, and that's something not even the exceptional PLANET OF THE APES makeups did during this same period. I also like the visual look of the movie, as directed by Freddie Francis (himself often underrated in this genre), and this includes one really cool "jump shock" sequence featuring Gough's nightly encounter with the beast ... but I won't spoil it. High cinematic art? No, of course not -- but a fun way to enjoy a campy monster film one night when you're in the mood for one. That is all this movie needs to be. ^^1/2 out of ****
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