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"It will happen in 14 days, it will happen in 14 days." "The West will be destroyed in 14 days" This is the desperate cry of secret agent Hagen Arnold as he is sending a message to his superiors. Agent Hagen is on his way back to the U.S when he is attacked by a fellow agent who injects a serum that erases his memory. Hagen was on a mission to obtain intelligence on the region of the world know as Sino-Asia. He was assigned to gather intelligence about a population bomb that was being developed by the enemy and determine the threat to the West. However he is double crossed by a traitor and rendered unconscious upon arrival to the West. Now it is up to a group of scientist to probe his memory and unlock the information the military needs. This is the beginning of the 1968 movie Project X produced by William Castle and based on a set of novels by U.K. author L.P. Davies. The movie stars Christopher George as Hagen Arnold, Monte Markham as Gregory Galilea, and Greta Baldwin as Karen Summers. Other cast members include Henry Jones as Dr. Crowther, Harold Gould as Col. Holt, and Lee Delano as Dr. Tony Verity.
This was Williams Castle only science fiction film he would make. He is best known for making b-grade horror movies some were supernatural horror or sci-fi horror. Project X was a sci-fi mystery thriller set in the future and is unlike his other films which were set in modern times. Some of his more notable movies were The Tingler, House of Haunted Hill, and 13 Ghost. The House on Haunted Hill and the 13 Ghost were remained back in the 90s, while his most famous motion picture was Rosemary's Baby. Castle was also best know for his use of promotion gimmicks such as having the theater seats wired for a mild shock, rigging a skeleton to rush down from the celling, and using a nurse sell insurance should you die of fright while watching his movie. more on William Castle can be found here
The movie is set in the year 2118 and the world is in a different state of affairs than it is today. In this future setting the Soviet Union no longer exist and is replaced by Sino-Asia as the main advisory. From what I can determine from the movie, Sino-Asia is composed of The Peoples Republic of China and the majority of the surrounding counties. I am not sure which if any countries are still allied with the west or what their status is. There is futuristic tech throughout the movie along with the style of dress. One notable item is the transparent head gear that the military officers wear when on set.
Hagen is Treated
Once Hagen is found unconscious, he is brought to a government laboratory and put in cryogenic suspension. At this facility Dr. Crowther supervises a team a scientists that seeks to recover Hagen's memories. Dr. Crowther use an advanced mind probe to unlock Hagen's memories and is transmitted into a holographic style images. There isn't much progress being made with this type of treatment so Dr. Crowther decides on another approach. He takes Hagan and his staff to a remote house located outside of the city. Once there he sets up a role play in which he has Hagen believe that he is a wanted bank robber and must evade the police.
The house itself is not of the of the future but one of the past. The farm house is of twentieth century design with all of the furnishings of that era. Dr. Crowder decides that putting Hagen in that setting will somehow jar his memories back. Hagan had a background in history with a expertise in the twentieth century so that setting becomes the starting point. Dr. Crowther and the staff dress in outfits common of the twentieth century and act as though they are living in that time. Despite the role play, Hagen is still subjected to the same mind probes that was being used in Dr. Crowther's lab. While in the meantime Hagen is befriended by Karen Summers, a factory worker who is unaware who Hagen is. She almost destroys the deception that Hagen is subjected to but gets frighten away when Gallea shoots at Hagen.
Gregory Gallea whom Hagen had been with while in Sino-Asia, makes a secretive appearance. The military had lost contact with him for a two year period and was presumed dead. He has for some reason turned against the west and wants to kill Hagen before his memories are restored. Hagen can also implicate Gallea as a turncoat and it was Glea who help Hagan escape Sino-Asia, therefore he wants Hagen dead. Glea tries to kill but is unsuccessful after the first attempt but when he tries again, Gallea is himself killed by Hagen's mental power that manifest itself during a probing session.
What Happens to Gallea
After Gallea is killed by Hagen's mental powers, the scientist extract his brain and connect it to a apparatus that interrupts his memories. Though this process the military learns what Hagen discovered in Sino-Asia. Gallea's memories are viewed in the same manner as Hagen's using the same visual effects in previous sequences.
Hagen's assignment was to infiltrate Sino-Asia to discover why that country was producing only male children. Hagen is dropped off via submarine and makes his way to the coastline. Once on shore he finds the secret lab where male babies are being produce by the thousands. He is then caught by security and is integrated by is captors. Despite being captured he is able to escape by the assistance of Gallea. After escaping from prison, both men go to a waiting jet craft that is piloted by Gallea and they disembark to the U.S.
14 Days Are Up
After viewing the extracted memories from Gallea, it is reviled what Hagen's warning was about. While in captivity his captors infected him with a variety of diseases designed to create a mass epidemic though out the west. Dr. Crower determines the danger of epidemic has been averted since Hagen was kept isolated for most of the period. This also gives the government time to conduct mass inoculations of the population and thus diverting disaster.
My Thoughts on This Movie
I enjoyed watching this movie when I first saw on TV when was in school. The story is well told and not too difficulty to follow along. The sci-fi maybe very cheesy but there is still some great elements of mystery and intrigue you would fine in a spy movie. The one thing that is most notable about this film is the use of special photographic effects that used multi colors, reversed images, and traditional animation for Hagen's dreams. These same effects were also used for the sequences that showed Gallea's memories. The animation was created by Hanna-Barbara productions and use pervious material from the "Jonny Quest" TV show. The sequence depicted a underwater elevator terminating inside a submarine on the ocean floor. Of course today CGI would be used but I found the clever use of animation to hold up well.