zeph’s pop culture quiz #8
Whose arm is that? The name of the actor will ring a big bell within the science fiction enthusiast—the story of this (today hardly known) movie a whole orchestra.
Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the 'Leave a comment' at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it's the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I've approved a comment, your next ones won't be held, but published immediately by the system.]
UPDATE and solution (20 December 2011):
↵Well done, ryoku, and, yes, it is ↑Michael Rennie‘s arm, or the arm of the character Garth A7 Rennie plays in the movie ‘↑Cyborg 2087‘ (Adreon 1966). The actor’s name should ring a big bell within every science fiction enthusiast, because Rennie played ‘Klaatu’ in the classic ‘↑The Day the Earth stood still‘ (Wise 1951), later ↑remade (Derrickson 2008) with Keanu Reeves as the lead. Before that Rennie already was made immortal in the first song of Richard O’Brien’s ‘↑The Rocky Horror Picture Show‘ (Sharman 1975). The song ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’ begins thus: ‘Michael Rennie was ill the day the Earth stood still. But he told us where we stand.’
In his winning comment ryoku also asked: ‘But seriously. Who would know such a movie?’
Well, James Cameron would, I guess.
My next hint would have been: In the scene the arm is revealed and shown in order to proof a point. But allow me to start from the beginning.
In the year 2087 a totalitarian regime reigns planet Earth. Total social control is achieved by ‘radio telepathy.’ A resistance group manages to send the cyborg Garth (Michael Rennie) back through time into the year 1966.
Garth’s mission is to find Professor Sigmund Marx (Eduard Franz), the inventor of radio telepathy, and to take him out of the course of history. Either by persuading him to come with Garth into the time machine, or by killing him. That way radio telepathy would not be invented, and humankind would not be enslaved later on.
Having arrived in 1966 Garth reaches the Professor’s laboratory at ‘Future Industries Inc.’ (the company’s tag line is: ‘Research today for a better tomorrow’) Their he encounters Marx’s assistant, Dr. Sharon Mason (Karen Steele). Using the prototype of the radio telepathy machine Garth ‘persuades’ Dr. Mason that he is a cyborg from the future who has to find Professor Marx in order to save mankind.
Time is pressing, because there is a problem. Garth carries an emitter implanted in his chest. The device’s signal allows the future totalitarian government to locate him through time and space. And indeed action already has been taken. Two other cyborgs, called ‘Tracers,’ have been sent back to 1966. Their mission is to hunt down and destroy Garth. Hence he has to get rid of the device in his chest as soon as possible.
Sounds a lot like ‘↑Terminator 2: Judgement Day‘ (Cameron 1991), doesn’t it? But the similarities are not limited to the plot.
Dr. Steele brings Garth to Dr. Carl Zeller (Warren Stevens), a surgeon, whom they tell the whole story, and then ask him to surgically remove the emitter. Naturally Dr. Zeller is reluctant to believe in the phantastic tale. So Garth roles up his sleeve and shows Dr. Zeller that he indeed is a man-machine hybrid.
Dr. Zeller removes the emitter, alas, the Tracers already are too close. A dramatic showdown unfolds, but in the end Garth overcomes the tracers—and develops romantic feelings for Sharon. An unheard of thing for a cyborg.
Meanwhile Professor Marx has returned from a lecture he has delivered. He quickly gets what Garth explains to him and agrees to join him in the time machine. The very moment the machine disappears with its passengers, the time-travel paradoxon kicks in. Nothing of the movie’s story has ever happened and in consequence the memories of the events in an instant are erased from the minds of all protagonists in the year 1966—but James Cameron didn’t forget ;-)