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The Mole People (film)

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The Mole People

film poster by Joseph Smith
Directed by Virgil W. Vogel
Produced by William Alland
Written by László Görög
Starring John Agar
Hugh Beaumont
Cynthia Patrick
Distributed by Universal Pictures Company
Release date(s) USA: 1956 and 1964 (re-release); Finland: 1957
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200,000

The Mole People is a 1956 science fiction film directed by Virgil W. Vogel.

PlotEdit

A narration by Dr. Frank Baxter, an English professor at the University of Southern California, explains the premise of the film and its basis in reality. He briefly discusses the hollow earth theories of John Symmes and Cyrus Teed among others, and says that the movie is a fictionalized representation of this unorthodox point-of-view.

Archaeologists Dr. Roger Bentley and Dr. Jud Bellamin stumble upon a race of Sumerian albinos living deep under the Earth. They keep mutant humanoid mole men as their slaves to harvest mushrooms, their primary food source, since they can grow without sunlight. The Sumerian albinos' ancestors moved into the subterranean after the cataclysmic floods in ancient Mesopotamia. Whenever their population increases, they sacrifice old people to the Eye of Ishtar, which is really natural light coming from the surface. These people have lived underground for so long that they are weakened by bright light which the archaeologists brought in the form of a flashlight. However, there is one girl named Adad who has natural Caucasian skin who is disdained by the others since she has the "mark of darkness." They believe the men are messengers of Ishtar, their goddess.

When one of the archaeologists is killed by a mole person, Elinu, the High Priest, realizes they are not gods. He orders their capture and takes the flashlight to control the Mole People, not knowing it is depleted. The archaeologists are then sent to the Eye just as the Mole People rebel. Adad goes to the Eye only to realize its true nature and that the men had survived. They then leave for the surface. Unfortunately, Adad dies after reaching the surface, when an earthquake causes a column to fall over and crush her.

CastEdit

In Mystery Science Theater 3000 Edit

This film was featured on the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

A clip from this movie was used in the 1968 film The Wild World of Batwoman, as creatures created by one of the movie's villains. This use was itself parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000, with Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo mocking the classic slogan for Reese's Peanut Butter cups followed by Mike Nelson imitating the film's villain, proclaiming "That's enough of THAT film."

MythologyEdit

The fictionalized Mesopotamian history presented in the film is largely based on Panbabylonism, as both Sumerian and Judaic stories describe the same historical events in the film. Dr. Bentley states that the Biblical flood is an established archaeological fact, and the stranding of the Sumerians atop the mountain is a clear reference to the tale of Noah's Ark.

File:Kudurru Melishipak Louvre Sb23 Ishtar-star.jpg
One version of the star symbol of Inanna/Ishtar

Similarly to the protagonists of the film Ishtar descends to the underworld.[1] There is a Panbabylonic connection between Ishtar’s descent and the Old Testament story of Joseph, which served as the basis for Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers. The descent to the underworld is a common story throughout world mythologies, as is the flood myth.

The film is erroneous in connecting Ishtar and the Sumerians. Ishtar was the Babylonian counterpart of the Sumerian goddess Inanna. The imagery associated with Ishtar in the film is entirely fictional: Ishtar’s symbol was an eight-pointed star[2] representing Venus rather than the uneven chevron in the film.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Jastrow
  2. Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green (1992, ISBN 0-292-70794-0), p. 156, pp. 169–170.

External linksEdit

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