Archive for Ronald Davidson

The Zombie Dialogues

Posted in FILM with tags , , on May 28, 2021 by dcairns

“I realize that your work has usually been in the interplanetary zone.”

Nicholas Ray took the view that every line of dialogue should be said as if for the first or last time, unless one character is quoting another ironically or something. I would say that the above quote from ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE ticks that box, as does the title ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE itself, a set of words nobody had though to combine into a phrase until screenwriter Ronald Davidson came along with his wooden fingers and typewriter. People passing his office door thought he was playing the xylophone but he was writing wooden dialogue for wooden actors. Normal dialogue of flesh is fatal to such dendritic thespians.

True, the actors also have to say things like “Prepare for landing,” which have doubtless been said before, and better, many times. With such lines crammed into their protesting mouths, the actors playing the zombies definitely have the best of it. Perhaps everything a zombie says is for the last time, or, arguably, AFTER the last time. But the beauty is that the zombie doesn’t know or care. They can throw away their lines or, better, let them drop on the ground at their feet. It’s the living characters who have to put some effort in, poor devils.

I’m three minutes into ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE and there is SO MUCH TO SAY.