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The Questor Tapes: Novocaine for the android’s soul

Watching old films probably has the same effect as taking novocaine or whatever it is that dentists give you these days as a local anaesthetic before they inflict the worst pain imaginable right inside your gaping piehole. 

The discomfort of modern life – and perhaps this only applies to older people – is somewhat anaesthetised by the eye-candy that is old film formats.

Or should that be “true” film formats, as in actual film rather than the zeros and ones on electrical circuitry somewhere inside today’s digital cameras? 

Old film has a different look because it is not, at its fundamental base, made of tiny little squares otherwise known as pixels.

No matter how small those pixels get, all modern “film” is fundamentally pixelated and therefore will never offer a true representation of visual reality.

the questor tapes

That is to say, nature is not made up of little squares. It’s made up of flowing lines and curves, all of which is much more accurately captured on old-style film.

So, whatever my other thoughts about this film, The Questor Tapes, just the pleasure of watching real actors in a real world – albeit as conveyed through science fiction – in a more pictorially accurate way was quite satisfying.

The story itself is quite interesting, although not particularly original – mad scientists build super-human android.

But for 1974, it’s quite forward-looking, and its style seems to borrow some character elements from Star Trek, or maybe that’s just my imagination.

The writers of this film were the same as the ones who wrote Star Trek – Gene Rodenberry and Eugene Coon.

So the way the characters related to each other and built some sort of camaraderie during the course of the film reminded me of the small but significant exchanges that kept happening in the old Star Trek between Captain Kirk, Spock and the Doc.

Basically, these tiny conversational exchanges infuse some humanity in the characters and story which make you care about what happens.

the questor tapes tunnel

It’s not an epic, whizz-bang special-effects-filled movie, it’s more of a drama about self-discovery.

In this instance, it’s the self-discovery of an android, skilfully played by Robert Foxworth, who may be a familiar face to some movie fans.

One of the doctors will be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s seen the original Star Trek, even though she has a small part with just about one line.

Fans of one of TV’s most popular shows ever – M*A*S*H* – will recognise Mike Farrell, who played a doctor in the medical comedy-drama, as he does here.

Farrell’s character is instrumental in building the android and accompanies him on his voyage of self-discovery, which involves delving into the world of espionage and some postulations about how the world apparently is being, and should be, controlled by what are apparently presented as superior beings.

the questor tapes android

I’m not keen on any beings – superior or inferior – manipulating and controlling my life without my agreement through established societal structures such as representative politics and so on.

But given the state of democracy today, I can understand why some would argue that people with a superior sense of responsibility at least try and manage what seems to be a gradual erosion of all societal values and norms.

It’s a good film, but stops short of exploring those questions relating to the consequences of secretive elites controlling the world through androids or whatever – just runs out of time.

But certainly, it’s a pleasant journey up to that point.

Pleasant as a film-watching experience that is, not as an insight into what might be the reality of our existence – androids controlled by super-rich, super-secretive elites being used to manipulate and control us on an ongoing basis without our knowledge let alone permission.

But perhaps these films are what the elites think passes for imparting information and acquiring our consent?