Bert. I. Gordon. Bigger Is Better?

Visual Effects artist, filmmaker, Bert I. Gordon wrote and directed Sci-Fi and Horror for decades. All of them B Pictures, they frequently featured supersized wildlife or giants. Serpent Island (1954), King Dinosaur (1955), The Cyclops (1957), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Beginning of the End (1957), Earth Vs. The Spider (1957), War of the Colossal Beast (1958), Attack of the Puppet People (1958), Tormented (1960), The Magic Sword (1962), Village of the Giants (1965), The Witching (1972), The Food of the Gods (1976), Empire of the Ants (1977). His disposition for rear projection and huge creatures earned him the moniker Mr. B.I.G.

Gifted a camera for his 13th birthday, Bert began making home movies in 16mm. Dropping out of college to be in the Army Air Forces during WWII, post war Gordon tried his hand at television commercials. Subsequently he edited British feature films to fit half-hour TV slots and was hired as a production assistant on Racket Squad and cinematographer, editor, and co-writer and co-director on Serpent Island. Working next with Robert Lippert then Allied Artists before settling in with American International Pictures, he went on a tear the next few years prior to moving around again in his later career. Eight Mr. B.I.G. films to date were featured on MST3K with room for more. Super Size Me or Dollar Menu?

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Note: The 50s and 60s were good to Gordon. His kind of entertainment caught on and was emulated by others. Despite the imitators, his is the name people remember. Here are links to conversations on every Gordon experiment.

Summary

210. King Dinosaur (1955)

309. The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)

313. Earth vs. The Spider (1958)

319. War of the Colossal Beast (1958)

411. The Magic Sword (1962)

414. Tormented (1960)

517. Beginning of the End (1957)

523. Village of the Giants (1965)

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Bert I. Gordon Interview. Monster Bash 2015.

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Bert I. Gordon Interview. Monster Bash 2017.

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TCM Salute to Bert I. Gordon. Tormented (1960) Intro.

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TCM Tribute to Bert I. Gordon. Tormented (1960) Outro.

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TCM Tribute to Bert I. Gordon. The Cyclops (1957) Intro.

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TCM Tribute to Bert I. Gordon. The Cyclops (1957) Outro.

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TCM Tribute to Bert I. Gordon. Attack of the Puppet People (1958) Intro.

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TCM Tribute to Bert I. Gordon. Attack of the Puppet People (1958) Outro.

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TCM Tribute to Bert I. Gordon. The Magic Sword (1962) Intro.

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TCM Tribute to Bert I. Gordon. The Magic Sword (1962) Outro.

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A Talk with Bert I. Gordon.

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B. I. G.'s movies are some of my favorite episodes. They’re so earnest. He found his niche and made some fantastic (and fantastically riffable) movies.

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He isn’t above his story. He buys it even if his audience does not. There’s something to be said for that. His acceptance of the fantastic as perfectly natural is his strongest suit. He believes beasts can explode in size or normal folks may become Jolly Green Giants. His all-in investment is laudable and counter to most filmmakers today.

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@optiMSTie Your finding on Mr. B.I.G.? The movies? How well they worked on the show? The winners and losers?

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The dirty secret about Bert I? His movies are actually pretty watchable!

There’s only one movie that feels like it would be kiiiiiiiiiiiiiinda iffy without the riffs, that being King Dinosaur. That kinkajou and the giant critters aside, the characters themselves didn’t have too much distinct charm or uniqueness, they all just kinda blurred together.

But outside of that, his movies could be fun and even interesting? Even good? The two that come to mind more than the others would be Tormented and The Magic Sword. Not the most likely double-feature, but there’s something about them that drew you in and kept your attention in tandem with the jokes. And they were about as far apart on the poles of filmmaking genres as you could get, with one being a rollicking medieval magical fantasy and the other being a grim and dread-inducing supernatural suspense thriller.

There isn’t this sense of “oh my gawd, THIS guy” incompetence that you’d get with, oh, say, Coleman Francis or Ed Wood and the like. Rather, we get this sense of “heh, oh, hey, that guy who makes giant critter films is back at it again!” welcomeness. And that’s pretty damn awesome.

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The Robert Lippert influence?

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Heh! Wouldn’t surprise me, quite frankly.

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Bert I. Gordon Interview - Secrets of a Psychopath.

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