CineSavant Column

Tuesday June 22, 2021



Correspondent Christopher Rywalt sent along this rather arcane aviation blog piece on The Helicopter from GOG. The first scene of the Ivan Tors sci-fi picture features an eccentric-looking twin-rotored ‘eggbeater’ helicopter that flits about a desert landscape like a hummingbird, in very good-looking 3-D. Through this blog post we learn that it wasn’t a production ‘copter but an experimental design that never made a big military sale… something about it being too lightweight and difficult to maintain. I remember building a plastic model kit of it when I was ten or so.

GOG likely remains the most lasting record of this particular design. It was surely loaned to GOG ‘free’ for promotional consideration. The blog tells us about the test pilot as well as the helicopter; if you scroll upward to the previous entry about a massive ‘sky crane’ helicopter, you can read more about Howard Hughes and Ava Gardner.

It also tells us a bit about the movie: a page from the screenplay lists the film’s working title as “Space Station U.S.A.,” and we see a color shot of heavy-duty fork lift being used as a crane for the 3-D Naturalvision camera.


 Chris Rywalt’s item about the 3-D GOG arrived coincidentally with the 3-D Film Archives’ announcement that they’ll be remastering a rare 3-D feature made in England, directed by and starring Dennis O’Keefe… The Diamond Wizard. We’re told that it wasn’t shown in 3-D when new; the 3-D fad faded almost as soon as it got going. The leading lady is Margaret Sheridan, the Howard Hawks contractee known mostly for The Thing from Another World.

Since the diamonds in question are synthetic, the movie’s somehow been listed here and there as a Science Fiction film. The synopsis reads like a T-Man caper about stolen currency, with Scotland Yard helping out. We’ll be hoping for an exciting conclusion, described as a chase and a shoot-out. The much-appreciated review blog Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings tells us that some of the chase uses the giant old wooden escalators in the original London Underground, the ones featured in the silent classic Underground. The writer of Variety’s July ’54 review didn’t see it in 3-D, but wishes he had.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson