Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Does Trog Really Deserve Its Poor Reputation?

Trog (1970) was the last movie made by Joan Crawford.

I confess that it's not the type of movie I'd usually watch - but it had Simon Lack in it, an actor whom I've come to like, so I rented it. Like all of Lack's films after WWII, he doesn't have a very big role - about five minutes of screen time and only a few lines. (He plays Colonel Vickers, and shows up at the end of the movie after Trog has kidnapped a girl and hidden in his cave.)

All the reviews of this movie that I've found, trash it. But I think there's a little bit of sexism involved...not to mention hatred of Joan Crawford (who supposedly was not quite all there in the top story when it came to raising her adopted kids was concerned.)

Admittedly Trog is a cliche-fest. Trog is a smaller version of King Kong, or a hairier version of Frankenstein. He lives in a cave, peacefully on his own, until a couple of spelunkers find him. He kills one of them. Then, he is taken from the cave - Joan Crawford's character, Dr. Brockton, stands tall and shoots the charging Trog with her hypo rifle.

Dr. Brockton tries to teach him civilized ways, and is making progress, but evil Michael Gough's character wants him killed. Gough breaks into the lab, trashes it, releases Trog, and then returns to his car, only to be killed by Trog. Trog then kills a few other people - who attack him first - sees a little blond girl whom he takes a liking to (in a strictly non-sexual way, I hasten to add) and takes her to his cave.

Dr. Brockton shows up at the cave with a police officer and the Army. Despite orders not to, she goes into the cave and brings out the little girl, whom Trog gives to her voluntarily. She begs Vickers to let her go back in with her hypo gun, but the military and police will have none of it. They are going to kill Trog.

And they do.

Trog is a sympathetic character, for all that he kills a few people - only those who attacked him first. And Crawford's performance is hardly "stone face". She portrays a woman who is confident in herself and her abilities. She had a nice wardrobe, yes, and she uses it - some critics have slammed her for this. If her character had been played by a male actor one wonders if he would have received quite the same criticism.

So...Trog. Not as bad as we've been led to believe...if you like these types of movies, anyway!

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