The Lucifer Complex (1978)

This one is bad.  So bad that I have to wonder if it were intended as a pilot for a new TV series and when that failed, about thirty minutes of padding was added to turn it into a TV movie.

Whatever the case, it’s bad.

After twenty five minutes of a totally unrelated sequence shot without synchronized sound, with one actor on an abandoned island and a lot of stock footage which has nothing to do with the rest of the film, we finally get to the bits with Robert Vaughn.  Mind you, the actor in what is supposed to be a high tech time capsule gets cut in once and a while for no obvious reasons.

The quality of film also drops dramatically when this switch happens, and we find ourselves in the middle of a a spy thriller involving the murders of a busload of world leaders.  This leads Robert to an island where leftover Nazis are planning to take over the world again by replacing important people with clones.

This means we get soldiers running around in Nazi uniforms, tubes full of cloned people, a Nazi Eagle with laser eyes, a Sherman tank (for no particular reason), Robert Vaughn fighting Robert Vaughn, Adolph Hitler, and a lot of girls in hospital gowns shooting people with machine guns.  Keenan Wynn and Aldo Ray show up in minor parts, and we are left with the Nazi base destroyed, but their movement still alive.

This part isn’t as bad as the whole, but it is a bit silly, and very, very hard to believe.  Particularly that tank.  As it ends on a very uncertain note, I suspect that next week, daring secret agent Glen Manning (no, not The Amazing Colossal Man Glen Manning.  I think) would have fought off yet another Nazi plot.  It feels a lot like an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the story has the same basic structure as a Sixties or Seventies TV show — and it has the same slightly campy feel as The Man from U.N.C.L.E and many other TV shows of the era.

As it is, the narrator on the lonely, unrelated island does tells us the Nazis went on to fight a third World War — and it does seem that there is a suggestion that those darn Nazis destroyed the world, and maybe he’s the last one left alive.

But that might just be wishful thinking on our part, like that vain hope that something will make sense of this mess of a wraparound sequence.

However, Turkish viewers will be happy to know that this film does contain a lengthy Belly Dancing sequence.

Not that there is any reason why it should be in there.

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