Baby, itís cold outside! This is the perfect time to cuddle up with a few flicks, but donít get caught up in the Oscar brouhaha. Check out these films about engineers who save the day, create new machines, and face seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Robert Deniro as Archibald "Harry" Tuttle, HVAC engineer, in 1985 film Brazil.
My favorite engineer movie is Journey into Fear (1943). Joseph Cotton plays a mild-mannered navy engineer who has just completed some important work in the Middle East during WWII. He's heading home to report. The Nazis have decided that killing our hero would help their war effort in a minor way, so they dispatch a very sinister assassin to take him out. After a failed attempt, the authorities decide it would be safest to send Cotton through the Mediterranean on a small, non-descript freighter that carries a few passengers. Each passenger is more sinister than the next, and Cotton has no idea whom he can trust, if anyone. The captain's of no help -- he's drunk and can only speak one word of English.
Amazingly great Film Noir style, with sinister shadows, constant tension, and constant claustrophobia on the freighter. Features Orson Welles as Turkish Col. Haki.
Do not confuse the B&W 1943 version with the 1975 color version! I saw five minutes of the 1975 version, with bright colors, lots of daylight, and a nice big ship. Sheesh.
[By the way, it's spelled "brouhaha". I've never seen it spelled with hyphens.]
Sounds like a good one, Betajet. I'll have to watch it -- Joseph Cotton is the best. I liked the two Thomas Edison biopics from 1940, the first is his childhood Young Tom Edison (1940)with Mickey Rooney and the second Edison, The Man (1940) with Spencer Tracey. I like the lab scene where he and his team going through all those filaments. And then the scene when Edison figures out how sound could be recorded. Apparently the film has at least one big error: Tesla developed alternating current not Edison. I'm sure the film must be full of errors, but it was still enjoyable. I'm sure a more recent film would be more accurate and interesting, but I think an engineer will still like the 1940s versions.
Hmmm... So you list the remake of "The Fly" but forget to mention "Into the Night" (1985), also starred by Goldblum (this time along Michelle Pfeiffer and directed by John Landis) where he is an electronic engineer? There is even a scene where "Ed" - the character played by Goldblum - is sitting in a room with other engineers (Dan Aykroyd plays a colleague, and David Cronenberg cameos as the manager) where they are discussing the schematic of a circuit projected on the wall, integrated circuit electronic lingo included. That was a blast to watch when I was a kid and was just getting into electronics. A fun movie too, lots of good actors are featured.
Here's a great one you've probably never heard of. It's a "small film", one the excellent low-budget top-quality movies from HandMade Films, the studio started by George Harrison and Denis O'Brien.
Bellman and True (1987) is a heist film involving a clever bank robbery. The hero is a middle-aged engineer who is forced to use his electronic and mechanical genius to work around the bank's elaborate security. If you like Maker Faires and clever electronic hacks, you'll love this one.
Oh, I love cheesy old movies where they display electronic devices or refer to electronic themes. Another hidden gem is Dick Maas' "The Lift (1983)". The main character is a lift technician and he is shown fiddling with PCBs and elevator control racks. Here are some scenes where you can see some engineers in a lab room that has benches with scopes, and a professor projecting a chip mask on a screen:
Wow. You do know all the hidden gems from the 80s. I'm very impressed. What else do you have? I like the plot summary written by a fan on IMDB: "A lift begins displaying some erratic behavior, like trapping some party goers and nearly suffocating them, and decapitating a security guard. Felix, the technician from the lift company, can't find anything wrong with the circuitry. When he and a nosy reporter begin asking questions of the lift company's electronics partner (Rising Sun Electronics) his boss puts him on a leave of absence. A subsequent visit to a professor leads them to believe that some evil experiments are being conducted with MICROCHIPS."
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