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Secret of the Incas

Heart and spirit...
It is easy to poke fun at this film, since it has its fair share of silliness, but those who do so completely miss the point - it is an original, and its heart and spirit are in the right place. The more I see it the more I am convinced that Heston was Spielberg's original inspiration for Indiana Jones. Also, the geographical settings and atmosphere are wonderful and of a type that is never seen today. There is certainly no "political correctness" or moralizing about Peruvian poverty, of the sort that would no doubt be rammed down our throats should a remake ever be attempted today. It's just a straightforward adventure story in an unusual setting. I hadn't heard of Yma Sumac before I saw this, but I'm sure she's won legions of admirers from cinema audiences who've seen this film.

This is what film making used to be like fifty years ago. In many ways, it was better then than now. If you haven't seen this film, make sure you catch it the next time it's on TV.

A for Andromeda

Absolutely awful pseudoscience and wretched acting
Any schoolboy would be ashamed of the scientific mistakes in this. For example, the team send radio messages to Andromeda and get immediate replies! Andromeda is millions of light years away and so any radio signals would take millions of years to get there and back! Also, at one point in the story a technician saves a genome or record of the entire genetic code of a human being on a single floppy disk! Fred Hoyle would be rotating in his grave.

The acting is equally bad. The two male leads are the "geekiest" type of anoraks one could possibly hope not to meet, and they are as wet as they come. Neither speak their lines clearly. And the Army General is about as nonmilitary as you could get...he looks like your average window cleaner.

Please please please just go back to making them the way they originally did in the sixties, BBC...

The Sound Barrier

Crash of one of the aircraft in this film
Although many people will naturally think the claim that Britain broke the sound barrier before the Americans is its most obvious flaw, the really serious mistake in this film is the death of Denholm Elliott as a student pilot whilst making his first solo. The aircraft concerned was a De Havilland Tiger Moth. Not only is this easier to fly than any modern light aircraft, but no student pilot in history - to my knowledge - has ever died on a first solo, and certainly not in a Tiger Moth! No aircraft could possibly be more pleasant to fly, as any ex-Tiger pilot will tell you...

If you want proof of this, shortly before he died, I spoke to John Justin, who played the pilot who broke the sound barrier in this film. He told me that he learned to fly in Argentina aged 12. He was taught on a Moth, and his instructor wanted to send him solo. However, the authorities found out he was only 12, and refused permission...

I hope readers enjoy this anecdote!

Paul Murphy (ex Tiger Moth pilot).

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