15 thoughts on “TBT: The Story of Mankind (1957)

  1. I love, love, LOVE bad movies. But they have to have been filmed as a “real movie” — and that was MEANT to be good, or at least normal, but somehow is AWFUL. anachronisms abound, costumes clash with correctness, and the dialogue drives one to despair.

    For some reason, movies about biblical characters frequently fall into the Bad Movie category. ( ie, Mary-Mother-of-Jesus gazing reverently at the camera and announcing in an excited murmur, “I… could… INTERECEDE…”)

    I’m not ashamed to admit that Bad Movies are my jam.

    1. Strange isn’t it? The bible is full of sex and violence and intense character conflict but somehow none of that makes it onto the screen.

    2. One of my favorite movies is so bad, it uses a pickled onion in place of an eyeball. “Stacy” is not remotely a frock flick, but I can’t recommend it enough if you’re into zombie B movies.

  2. If I want to watch a bunch of historical characters together in one movie, I’ll watch Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (or Time Bandits). :)

  3. See, I dragged my feet on seeing this. I thank you for your sacrifice so I didn’t have to.

    They did give these costumes the good community threatre once-over. But, I will actually say one nice thing about a costume here(!) They did make Napoléon’s coat blue (though it should be a darker blue) instead of some interpretations of it as black… so that’s nice.

  4. This is such a weird project.

    Irwin Allen– who would later go on to be famous for ’70s “disaster movies”– was given a chance to work with actors, following up on successful nature documentary features THE SEA AROUND US and THE ANIMAL WORLD.

    Allen picked a classic 1921 children’s book, Hendrik Willem van Loon’s “The Story of Mankind” (which was the first book to win the Newbery Medal) to adapt as a feature. Originally, the plan was to focus on only two actors– a man and woman representing all of mankind throughout the ages in various roles.

    However, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS was a huge success and a Best Picture Oscar-winner, featuring an “all-star cast” basically doing bit parts. (Mike Todd sold the cast on appearing by describing how the audience would suddenly see them on screen like a face in a cameo– selling it as “cameo” roles.)

    Allen decided to sell the film by milking that idea again, hence the hodgepodge of actors filling unlikely roles (Dennis Hopper and Marie Windsor as a couple of any sort– never mind as Napoleon and Josephine).

    It’s a film that’s been a staple of “bad film” lists like the book THE FIFTY WORST FILMS OF ALL TIME.

    And Irwin Allen spent the rest of his career living down to this start, with all-star casts in “who will make it out alive” dreck like THE SWARM.

  5. “Did they really bother to sign their burnings-at-the-stake?”

    Ah, meant to comment on this. They did not have a sign above the condemned, but they did make the prisoner wear a paper mitre, on which was written their crimes. In Latin, not the local vernacular – and certainly not modern English. Joan of Arc was made to wear one such mitre. Most movies and modern images skip this detail, but the 1994 Jeanne la Pucelle II – Les prisons gets this right. There’s also a good modern medieval artist who captured this.

  6. Yes, I do, on occasion, watch bad movies. And now… this one is on my list! This is the second Vincent Price film I’ve learned of in the past year that inspired other works made in the 80’s. The History of Mankind seems to have inspired the pilot for Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Encounter at Farpoint” (1987). Vincent Price’s The House on Haunted Hill (1959) seems to have inspired the 80’s classic movie Clue (1985).

  7. https://youtu.be/NYufkpWLEqM a little out of place but this telenovela from Brazil is period and very beautiful this clip is dubbed in English so you can understand the dialogue I would be glad one of the FrockFlickers gave it a chance for a review please let me know your opinion

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