Frozen Alive (1964)

Frozen_Alive_(1964)‘It only remains for me to thank all our contributors for this very interesting symposium on hypothermia.’

Two scientists conducting research into cryogenics achieve notable success with freezing and reviving monkeys. They want to move onto human testing, but their request is blocked by the front office, who fear the repercussions of possible failure. Meanwhile one of the scientists is having problems with his wife, who is bored, jealous, and has a drink problem. She’s also hanging around with an old boyfriend, who is still in love with her.

Marianne Koch and Mark Stevens are experimenting with a new kind of deep freeze at the ‘World Health Organisation Low Temperature Unit – Berlin Division.’ Their success brings them an international prize, with big bucks attached, but trouble is just around the corner in the form of red tape and Stevens’ drunken wife. Really for a top research scientist, he’s a bit of an idiot, failing to see that Koch is nuts about him, he really feels the same way about her, and that his wife is understandably getting rather pissed off about the whole thing.

Flat and unsatisfying mixture of science fiction and a murder mystery that really isn’t one thing or the other. The science fiction aspects are underplayed, and the murder mystery seems to have been tacked on almost as an afterthought. It’s mildly pleasing that Koch is nominally in charge of the cryogenic project and that Stevens has just come in to help out, but it’s him who handles the difficult questions at the scientific conference at the start of the film. But it doesn’t matter that much, after all the whole shindig was presumably only held for the benefit of the film’s audience anyway.


‘Roll up, roll up!’

There is a pleasing lack of scientific gobbledygook for a change, but it’s never a good sign when plot threads are tied up by a convenient phone call at a film’s climax. The story has some potential, but never really comes to life and wastes a decent, professional cast, who make what they can out of roles that are severely underwritten, and drama that is half baked at best.

Stevens and Koch are a lively, sympathetic couple and John Longden shines as their immediate boss, delivering his dialogue in a refreshingly dry manner. However, Delphi Lawrence is handed a shallow, shrewish role as Stevens’ wife, and this helps rob the tale of any depth, grit or moral ambiguity. Everything is very black and white. Similarly, Walter Rilla (‘The Terror of Dr Mabuse (1962)) is good value as the politically astute head of the institute, but his role is a total cliché.

The only surprise here is that matters manage to remain vaguely interesting throughout the rather lifeless, under developed 80 minutes.


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