Six Damn Fine Degrees #4: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

Following on from Alan’s retrospective on the inimitable The Curse of the Cat People, we’re making the leap this time from a horror-sequel-that’s-actually-a-sensitive-drama to a sci-fi movie that’s actually not all that bad. What links both of them? Director Robert Wise, who replaced Gunther von Fritsch after Curse‘s shoot fell behind schedule. Wise went on to have a storied career as a master genre-hopping craftsman responsible for classics like West Side Story and The Day the Earth Stood Still — and a full thirty-five years after Curse, he went on to direct Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #3: Curse Of The Cat People

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

Following Matt’s dislike for the cat-shaped shenanigans of Garfield, I thought I’d follow up with something far more positive in the world of the feline: Val Lewton’s incredible Curse Of The Cat People.

When it comes to Hollywood, the rationale behind sequels is obvious. We’ve had a success and made money. Let’s make more of the same and make even more money. In 1942, RKO Pictures had a big hit with Cat People, a low-budget horror about a woman who fears she’ll transform into a panther if aroused by passion. So the bigwigs at the studio made the obvious call. The public liked the mix of feminine desire laced with the threat of feline danger so let’s make a sequel. Hence they were to greenlight:

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #2: Garfield

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

We started our free-fall association into culture with Julie’s sublime entry on John Garfield. We continue with a sudden, nauseating lurch towards something rather more ridiculous. Have you ever had a close look at the things you liked as a child… and shuddered?

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