The Mole People (1956) starring John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont, Alan Napier
Ignore the pseudo-scientific explanation of how there could be a vast, underground civilization at the beginning of the film–since it really doesn’t have much to do with the movie, and simply serves as padding.
There is, however, a hidden civilization that’s central to the story–Sumerian people who fled underground to avoid the ravages of Noah’s flood and have been there for centuries, gradually adapting to the low light underground and becoming albinos. They’re a cruel people, partly due to their harsh underground life — there’s only so much food available, and when the population exceeds a certain limit, the “undesirables” are sacrificed in the “fire of Ishtar.”
Partly, however, the Sumerian leadership is simply cruel because they can be; some of their own people are not albinos, but throwbacks to their ancient ancestors (including the love interest of the story, the lovely Adal – Cynthia Patrick)–and are treated as slaves. Treated even more cruelly are the titular Mole People, a humanoid race that’s treated worse than cattle, forced to be slave labor, and virtually starved to death.
Into this environment stumble three archaeologists–Dr. Roger Bentley (John Agar), Dr. Jud Bellamin (Hugh Beaumont, remembered as the father on Leave it to Beaver) who are thought to be messengers from the gods because of their … flashlights. The evil High Priest (played by Alan Napier, remembered for his role on TV’s live-action Batman series as Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred) schemes to keep his power at all costs, control the Mole People, and steal the flashlights of the gods 🙂
In all, it’s an enjoyable monster movie–where the monsters are clearly human, and the audience’s sympathies go to the repressed Mole People. It’s an enjoyable afternoon frolic, although with a not-so-happy ending. I rate The Mole People 3 stars out of 5.
Editorial review of The Mole People (1956) starring John Hagar,, courtesy of Amazon.com
Archaeologists Dr. Roger Bentley (John Agar) and Dr. Jud Belamin (Hugh Beaumont) stumble upon a race of Sumerian albinos living deep under the Earth who have failed to evolve in over 5000 years. They keep mutant humanoid mole men as their slaves to harvest their food. The Sumerian albinos’ ancestors were forced underground after the cataclysmic floods in ancient Mesopotamia. These people have lived underground for so long that they are weakened by bright light. Whenever their population increases they sacrifice the old to the Eye Of Ishtar. They come to believe that Bentley and Belamin are messengers of Ishtar. They give Bentley a slave, a beautiful woman named Adad (Cynthia Patrick) who is shunned by the albinos because of her tanned skin. Ada and Bentley fall in love and he invites her to the surface – if they can ever get out…. …The Mole People
Movie quotes from The Mole People
Dr. Roger Bentley: Archaeologists are underpaid publicity agents for deceased royalty.
Dr. Roger Bentley: Do you ever hear of anyone smoking dried mushrooms?
Dr. Roger Bentley: Adad, do you believe, as your king believes, that I’m one of their gods?
Adad: No, my lord. Our gods are always angry and give orders. You smile.
Dr. Roger Bentley: The light! Their eyes can’t tolerate the light!
Dr. Roger Bentley: In archaeology all things are possible.
Dr. Jud Bellamin: In this thin air it’s possible to imagine anything.
Dr. Roger Bentley: This one died from a blow from a heavy blunt instrument.
Dr. Jud Bellamin: Well, that’s a sign of a higher civilization.
Dr. Jud Bellamin: [Sarcastically] Why don’t we just give up and apply for Sumerian citizenship?
Dr. Roger Bentley: I don’t like mushrooms.
Dr. Jud Bellamin: Last night we had cave rat for dinner.
Dr. Roger Bentley: The thing that impresses me most is the complete and utter silence. You can almost hear it.
Dr. Roger Bentley: Judd, come here. Take a look at this.
Dr. Jud Bellamin: Claw marks! Maybe a hand – -four cuts.
Dr. Roger Bentley: Some hand. Whoever it was needs a manicure.
Trivia for The Mole People
- The Attack of the Mole People was the inspiration for The Dickies’ song Attack of the Molemen.
- Shot in 17 days.
- The humps for the mole people were done by stuffing the backs of the actors who played them with newspapers.
- Spoiler: In the original ending, Dr. Bentley and Adal lived happily ever after. The studio, reluctant to imply an interracial relationship, insisted on a new ending two weeks after filming ended. Why Sumerian and American would be “interracial”–since Adal is a beautiful Caucasian blonde–is beyond me.