Unchained Goddess (1958)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/18/07
Director: Richard Carlson
Cast: Richard Carlson, Dr. Frank Baxter

The last film in Frank Capra's Bell Science series focuses on the weather, and how science is working to explain and predict its behavior. Weather is personified as a goddess named Meteora, who is accompanied by a host of deities responsible for making wind, clouds, and precipitation. Unfortunately, the outdated gender roles of fifty years ago tend to leave a bad taste, but it's all presented in good fun. Perhaps the greatest thing this film has to offer is a glimpse at how far technology has come in the last fifty years. While we may not be any better at predicting the weather, our tools have certainly become much more sophisticated. Along with the cute animated characters are some great scenes of tornadoes and hurricanes and the destruction that is left in their wake. Like all of the other films in the series, this one is a complicated mixture of science, art, Christianity, and Greek mythology. And with Meteora being a woman, a strange love angle gets thrown into the mix. She even fantasizes seeing Dr. Research in a toga, which is rather unsettling. However, even more unsettling are the things that are suggested, like warming up Hudson Bay with nuclear generators. Where the hell did that notion come from?!? Fortunately, such tomfoolery is countered with scientific caution regarding a possible greenhouse effect. A chilling prophecy indeed...