Doc Savage (1975)
Crime fighter (Doc) Clark Savage, Jr. (Ron Ely), a man of superhuman strength and protean genius, is engaged in a series of experiments at his Arctic laboratory retreat.
Suddenly, Doc receives telepathic thought from his circle of associates in New York, "The Amazing Five," the five greatest brains ever assembled in one group, telling him something is wrong. At once he heads for America and his penthouse.
Doc joins his associates, Ham (Darrell Zwerling), the world's smartest laywer, Monk (Michael Miller), the greatest living chemist, Long Tom (Paul Gleason), the greatest electrical wizard, Renny (William Lucking), the finest engineer, and Johnny (Eldon Quick), the world's greatest expert on archeology and geology.
They are waiting for Doc with some very sad news, that Doc's father has died from a rare tropical disease in the small South American country of Hidalgo. Doc suspects, however, that there has been foul play connected with his dad's death.
The group departs for Hidalgo in Doc's plane, unaware that Doc's deadly enemy, evil Captain Seas (Paul Wexler), the man behind the dasterdly plot, is docked in the nearby Hidalgo Harbor aboard his yacht with a group of stunning women, such as Karen (Robyn Hilton), Adrianna (Janice Heiden) and surrounded by a collection of some of the world's most evil criminals.
Upon learning that a strange and distant lost tribe willed Savage Senior some mysterious land, Doc asks to look at the records in the land office of orderly Don Rubio Gorro (Bob Corso). Unfortunately, only now is it discovered that the papers are missing. At this point a strange series of attempts on the lives of Doc and his friends ensue, but all are thwarted.
Doc then gets unexpected help from Gorro's incredibly beautiful assistant, Monja (Pamela Hensley). As she grew up near the site of the lost tribe, Monja offers to lead Doc and his friends to it. They begin their dangerous trek through the wild jungle.
As they approach the area of his father's claim, Doc separates from the group to check the setup on his own. He discovers it is the site of a fabulous, eternally bubbling gold mine; the local tribe had given his father land worth billions! He finds that Captain Seas -intent on stealing the mine- has been operating here for some time- and is using slavery to force the tribe to gather the gold for him.
Monja and The Amazing Five are captured by Captain Seas' men and made prisoners in a dank cave. Captain Seas tries to kill them all using the green death virus he had utilized to kill Doc's father.
Luckily, Doc suddenly appears and overpowers the Captain, forcing him to release his friends, who are treated with a special antidote which saves their lives.
Meanwhile, the Captain's men attempt to escape with a fortune in gold. But wait a minute! Suddenly, an upheaval in the earth, caused by exploding dynamite, triggers the pool of bubbling gold to erupt, covering every one of the villains (except Captain Seas) with a shower of molten metal, and turning them into dead golden statues.
Tribal Chief Chaac, grateful that his village has been freed, gives the gold land to Doc, who intends to use it in his never-ending battle against evil malefactors. He returns to New York to his "Rehabilitation Center" with Captain Seas and performs a special kind of acupuncture brain surgery on the villain, turning Seas into a kindly Salvation Army band leader. This is Doc's method of dealing with the criminals he captures, correcting their criminal tendencies by brain surgery.
Just as Doc closes the book on this bizarre case, he receives another urgent call for help in battling a new band of villains- and he roars off into the sunset in his quest to make the world a just and good place in which to live.
Summary in an easy to swallow pill: Inventor, surgeon and vigilante Doc Savage goes to South America to investigate the suspicious death of his father. Accompanied by the Fabulous Five, Doc and his team are thrown into many dangerous situations as they get closer to the truth behind the senior Savage's death. Based on the books by Kenneth Robeson.
30's pulp hero Doctor Clark Savage Jr. waited until 1975 to make his big screen debut. Unfortunately, the result of this long wait unfortunately produced some schizophrenic results. For the most part the movie does a fairly straight forward job of bringing Doc and the Fabulous Five to the screen. The cast is great (Ron Ely is perfect as Doc Savage) and the plot is straight out of a couple of Doc Savage books, which in theory should make this a perfect adaptation of Doc Savage's adventures.
It should, but the highly intelligent glob of incompetence known as Hollywood had to smear this movie with its audience friendly feces. I am sure that Doc Savage has some anti-Hollywood bullshit capsules in his arsenal of high tech gadgets which is why the movie comes across as schizophrenic. This movie has large chunks of straight forward Doc Savage action that is broken up by what seems to be Doc and the Fabulous Five making a guest appearance on the Adam West "Batman" show.
Now since I had no part in the making of this film I am going to take a guess as to what happened here. During shooting the studio decided that the movie was too cartoonish and decided to add some scenes of ridiculous comedy to make you think that this movie was intended as a farce. The Doctor is well aware that studios are known for their wise decisions, but this just doesn't work and only serves to piss off fans of Doc Savage as well as those joining him for the first time. It seems that Hollywood is above material contained in pulps and comic books and must needlessly tamper with them to make them acceptable by its incredibly high standards. This fails time and time again and yet no one bothers to learn from this continuously repeated mistake.
Does this mean that Doc Savage: Man of Bronze is a bad movie? No, and the credit for this goes to Doc's anti-Hollywood bullshit capsules that I mentioned earlier. The attempts at making this a comedy are so few that it is more of a mild irritation than anything else. Unfortunately one of these "hysterical" bits takes place during the final showdown between Doc and the villainous Captain Seas. But then again the action pieces surrounding the ridiculous showdown are good so it almost cancels out the silliness. Now if the whole film had been done with the same sense of the absurd as the "Batman" series it may have worked almost as well as doing a straightforward Doc Savage movie.
Tips for Watching Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze: