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 Mole People“–since it really doesn’t have much to do with the movie, and simply serves as padding.
Hidden Sumerian civilization
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 like slaves. Treated even more cruelly are the titular Mole People. They’re a humanoid race treated worse than cattle. The mole people are 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). The Sumerians think that they’re 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.
Cast of characters
- John Agar (Tarantula) … Dr. Roger Bentley
- Cynthia Patrick … Adad
- Hugh Beaumont (The Seventh Victim) … Dr. Jud Bellamin
- Alan Napier (Batman – The Movie) … Elinu, the High Priest
- Nestor Paiva (Creature from the Black Lagoon) … Prof. Etienne Lafarge
- Phil Chambers … Dr. Paul Stuart
- Rodd Redwing (The Ten Commandments) … Nazar
- Robin Hughes (The Thing That Couldn’t Die) … First Officer
- Frank Baxter … Self (in introduction)
Movie quotes from The Mole People
Roger Bentley: Archaeologists are underpaid publicity agents for deceased royalty.
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.
Roger Bentley: The light! Their eyes can’t tolerate the light!
Jud Bellamin: In this thin air it’s possible to imagine anything.
Roger Bentley: This one died from a blow from a heavy blunt instrument.
Jud Bellamin: Well, that’s a sign of a higher civilization.
Jud Bellamin: [Sarcastically] Why don’t we just give up and apply for Sumerian citizenship?
Roger Bentley: I don’t like mushrooms.
Jud Bellamin: Last night we had cave rat for dinner.
Roger Bentley: Judd, come here. Take a look at this.
Jud Bellamin: Claw marks! Maybe a hand – -four cuts.
Roger Bentley: Some hand. Whoever it was needs a manicure.
- 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.
[Updated January 7, 2022]