Toomorrow (1970) (part 8 of 10)

Olivia pulls Observer aside and asks him if he would think someone who said they’d been on an alien spacecraft was a nutter. He says no.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Mr. Dotrice, you’ve been in the business a while. How do you get a terrible movie off your resume?”

Meanwhile a report comes over the radio, saying that the college’s administration has agreed to the students’ demands after all, thanks to Matt. Now, something was bothering me earlier, which was that Olivia was calling him “Matt” and “Matthew” but the principal called him “Mr. Matthew.” So, what, is his name Matthew Matthew? Well, according to the radio news report, the answer is—yes! I’ll bet I know who his chiropractor is, too.

With this rather anticlimactic, off-screen resolution of the “B” plot, all that’s left is to go prep for the Festival. They offer to let Observer get in by being their road manager. When Observer asks what this entails, Karl says, “Nothing.” Haha, I’ll bet that zinged… someone.

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The band leaves. Now get ready for wackiness. Observer has figured out that Vic’s problem is Amy. (Actually, everyone’s problem is Amy.) Since Vic’s whippedness is a potential threat to his plans, Observer, wandering out onto the lawn, mulls over the Swing You Swingers cover that Vic was drooling over and has Uptight Superior send down some hapless alien ensign dolled up as a human girl, “generously proportioned” with “long blonde fur.” Wow, so that bit with Vic looking through the records had a point? Inasmuch as anything in this movie has a point.

The girl beams down, stark naked. At first she talks like a male alien. Observer tells her to speak like a human girl, so she raises her voice an octave and starts talking like a ditz. Yeah, this movie isn’t sexist at all. The girl is played by Margaret Nolan, who played Dink for about five seconds in Goldfinger.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Excellent. Now all we have to do is add the whipped cream.”

Observer takes her inside and tells her her name is Johnson, which is kind of funny, considering the nature of her mission. He stands on his Magic Ottoman and conjures some slinky clothes for her and some really mod specs, and tells her that she’s to wear clothes at all times, because girls who look like that need reminding, you see, on that point. Well, maybe not at all times:

Observer: Your mission is to meet, charm, arouse, and if necessary seduce the male humanoid known as Vic Cooper.

Yeah, that should cover it. But Dink has “not been instructed on ‘seduce’,” so Observer says he’ll have to show her and starts moving toward her. Gah! Cut away! Cut away!! Oh good, they cut away.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Sex and sex. What is sex?”

Vic is looking into Amy’s ballet class, which is doing that famous ballet move known as jumping up and down. You can tell which one is Amy, because she’s half a head taller than the others and totally out of sync. She comes out and, long story short, dumps him because they’re “not compatible” and she’s tired of “playing second fiddle to a bloody tonalizer!” Well, can you blame him? I mean, have you seen the settings on that thing?

So this… resolves the “C” plot? Huh, that was easy. No need for Dink at all. Maybe a little too easy, though. What do you want to bet the “C” plot holds on for dear life, with Vic pining for Amy and threatening not to come to the Festival anyway? Eh? No takers, then? You guys are smarter than I am. Which we already knew. I mean, I’m watching this movie and you’re not.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Fine, I’ll only play with my tonalizer on weekends. Happy?”

Inside, Olivia encounters Mr. Matthew “Matt” Matthew, who says he’ll try to make the Festival, but he’s on the school board now, and they have a staff meeting at 7 PM. Dear Lord, are they trying to start up a “D” plot with suspense over whether Matt will make it to the Festival? What’s next, will the amp cables turn out to have been accidentally stored in the trunk of the principal’s car, and he’s off to Abergavenny for the weekend? Sheesh, the Benji movies had more airtight plots than this.

Glum Vic shows up, muttering about not understanding women. Olivia promises to talk to Amy (no! noooo!!) and sends Vic home to take a bath. Benny goes to see Smart Girl, but the small matter of her catching Benny making out with Fran (remember her? From dance class? No?) in the hallway on the way to her office has rather put her off the joys of Benny for the moment. So when Benny asks her to come to the Festival with him, she shoots back, “Why, is it harem night?” Heh, God love you, Smart Girl.

Caption contributed by Mark

”For the last time, stop asking me about Old Navy!”

Olivia runs into Fran, who confides that Amy’s not upset about lunch but because Vic hadn’t gotten her a card or a present. “All men are stinkers, love,” she says. “Some just stink more than others!” Hey, the women in this movie are fighting back after all. I wonder how long it’ll last? Or maybe she’s just referring to the fact that every single man in 1970 was wearing either Brut or Hai Karate. Or Aqua Velva.

So Olivia ducks into the art studio and fakes a birthday note from Victor and sticks it in a potted lilac, which she then proceeds to steal. No one is paying attention, of course, because they’re all sketching zombie girl—even Karl! “Having a good meal?” Olivia snarks. Karl, of course, replies, “Huh?”

Caption contributed by Mark

During the filming of Xanadu, Klepto Olivia also managed to make off with Gene Kelly’s rollerskates.

Meanwhile, Observer, still training his agent in seduction, comes out of a movie with Dink, who’s laughing hysterically. The movie is some nudie called Greta, which the outside placards scream is “The film that shocked Sweden!” The joke here is that aliens think human sex is pretty ludicrous, but it’s delivered briefly and kind of understated, which is always nice. Or would be, if they had stopped there. But next they come out of Son of Fanny Hill, and she’s still laughing her head off. Observer has to remonstrate with her, saying even though they’ve abandoned “this form of stimulation,” humans are still into it. Sigh, so much for understated.

So now Dink is ready for her mission, I guess, because she shows up in Vic’s room while he’s bathing. Vic is all like, “Cor!” When he asks what she wants, she goes over to the bed and lays upside down on it, with her head lolling off the end and her tits sticking straight up in the air.

Dink: [Swedish accent] You ‘ave my respect! What more do you want?
Vic: Cor!!

Wow. Just—wow.

Caption contributed by Mark

And they say Earth girls are easy.

Vic starts to move in on her and then chickens out. He demands to know what all this “is in aid of,” and she explains that she’s here to “charm you, arouse you, and if necessary—oops! I’ve forgotten the word! Tee hee!” What’s really lame is that the least sexist interpretation of this scene is that all the junior aliens are really dim. But honestly, I don’t think that’s what Val Guest is going for here.

Vic decides she’s come to the wrong place and tries to send her down a flight to Benny’s room, which is kind of funny. But Dink tells Vic she digs “big beat,” and him. Well, he’s sold. Except that after they’ve been kissing a moment, Dink breaks out laughing. I hate to say it, but I bet that happens to Vic on a regular basis.

Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: Toomorrow (1970)

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  • artwest

    I agree that Toomorrow is so bad that any viewer with an ounce of empathy will sweat with embarrassment for the participants.

    Val Guest was a curious case. When he ventured into full-blown fantasy or comedy he seemed to completely lose all the muscular, energetic, hard-bitten intelligence he brought to his best work.

    Maybe it was something to do with his beginnings as a newspaper man, but whenever he had a subject matter which lent itself to a bit of streetwise grittiness he was a different writer/director altogether.
    Hell is a City, Jigsaw and 80,000 Suspects were compelling police/medical procedurals painting a still-fascinating portrait of their time and place, The Quatermass Xperiment, Quatermass II and The Day The Earth Caught Fire are acknowledged classics of their genre.
    He even made an infinitely better music-based film, Expresso Bongo, which takes a cynical look at the hustlers in the pop business and despite being made almost a decade before Toomorrow still comes across as far more modern.

    Toomorrow seems to have run out of money with several participants not being paid which, because of a legal injunction, led to there being virtually no theatrical screenings in the UK (and none later on TV either). While it was a terrible film, not having any profile in the country in which it was made can’t have helped marketing elsewhere in the world.
    I also wonder if the lack of money contributed to the shoddy post-production work from people who had previously all produced much better, including Oscar-winning, efforts.

    To be fair to Guest re Casino Royale, he was brought in at the last minute to try to pull together a complete mess of a film without even having the use of its leading man and declined a full director credit as a result.