Robert Lippert. Dinosaurs or Rock Climbing?

“The Incredible Mr. Lippert.” “Lippert the Lion.” “Oh, no.” “Robert Lippert? Oh, yikes.” “What, what is this?” “King Dinosaur.” “It’s a Lippert film.” “AHHHH!!!” “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We know.” “Pretty sad, huh?” “Oh my gosh!” Owner of 139 movie theaters, founder of Screen Guild Productions which became Lippert Pictures in 1948, and head of Regal Pictures that produced CinemaScope B movies for 20th Century Fox in the late 50s, Lippert casts a shadow even past his contributions to MST3K. Sam Fuller, James Clavell, Burt Kennedy, they all worked for him and got their start on his productions.

130 Lippert features were made and released between 1948 and 1955. Jungle Goddess (1948), Last of the Wild Horses (1948), I Shot Jesse James (1949), Radar Secret Service (1950), The Baron of Arizona (1950), Rocketship X-M (1950), The Steel Helmet (1951), Lost Continent (1951), Project Moon Base (1953), King Dinosaur (1955). In 1956, Darryl F. Zanuck began a specialized production unit under Fox and led by Lippert that focused on producing B movie product for the studio. Slated to supply 20 films a year for 7 years, each release was to be shot in 7 days and cost no more than $100,000 each. Stagecoach to Fury (1956), The Unknown Terror (1957), Ambush at Cimarron Pass (1958), The Fly (1958). In 1959, Lippert renamed Regal as Associated Producers Incorporated and eventually moved overseas owing to increased costs of working in Hollywood.

Return of the Fly (1959), The Alligator People (1959), Five Gates to Hell (1959), The Rookie (1959), A Dog of Flanders (1960), The Secret of the Purple Reef (1960), Tess of the Storm Country (1960), The Canadians (1961), Thunder Island (1963), The Last Man on Earth (1964). By 1967, Lippert retired from producing after managing 250 films for Fox. A large career and an even larger name to those who know his work. Big Name or Big Pain?

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Radar Secret Service is sooo dumb! Just completely clueless and ridiculous. It’s an episode I really love.

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My favorite of the movies he produced is The Steel Helmet, a Korean War drama directed by Sam Fuller. It was shot in LA’s Griffith Park and on a soundstage in about ten days. It starred among others Steve Brodie (Wild Wild World of Batwoman, Giant Spider Invasion), Robert Hutton (The Slime People), and Sid “Monkey Boy” Melton (The Lost Continent, Radar Secret Service)!

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Note: Robert Lippert ingrained himself into the mindset of those early shows. Lippert, Sandy Frank, Film Ventures International. These were the movies riffing was made for. Below are links to discussions on each Lippert experiment.

Summary

109. Project Moon Base (1953)

201. Rocketship X-M (1950)

203. Jungle Goddess (1948)

208. Lost Continent (1951)

210. King Dinosaur (1955)

520. Radar Secret Service (1950)

611. Last of the Wild Horses (1948)

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Roger Corman on Robert Lippert.

Backlot: MST3K: The Incredible Mr. Lippert.

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I find Lippert’s movies to be sub-Corman, but they’re digestible with a side of riffing.

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And a touch of incredulity. :wink:

I get the whole “Robert Lippert.” / “Good.” / “Nooooooo.” / “Bad, I mean bad” exchange from The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, but I don’t mind his works.

Granted, that probably has to do with me having a higher threshold for cinematic pain than most.

For me, his most egregious sin was not the endless rock climbing in Lost Continent, but the inability to distinguish good characters from bad in Radar Secret Service.

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Or the banality located in almost every film. No one converses with any passion in Lippert and they behave as if reading from a teleprompter or cue cards not acting as actual people. Last of the Wild Horses (1948) is closer to visiting a lifeless Universal Studios than traveling back in time. This is true of most of Lippert’s output.

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Yeah, it really felt like one of those “welp, I’m a hired gun so we’ll just do any project that we can while the sun’s still shining” kinda deals.

On the other hand, I love Westerns, even cheapie on-the-fly-and-for-a-dime Westerns. My second favorite film genre after heist/caper movies.

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A beloved genre for me too. Westerns are a living mythology and much of them stir nostalgia and tangible feeling like no other. Just not Lippert Westerns.

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Westerns are the go-to if you like day for night scenes.

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True. So true. The Western gives them greater permission connected to the outdoor element. Nature in full view is a temptation I think.