I saw 'Marching Out of Time' years ago on Channel 5 at 3am. The listing in the Radio Times made it sound like an interesting sci-fi movie with an intriguing concept: Nazis are transported forward in time, enabling them to take information back to their own era that could help them win the war. Maybe, I thought in my innocence, this is a neglected gem that's slipped through the cracks and is ripe for discovery?
It isn't. It's a horrifically amateurish film that smashed into my bottom 10 and remains there to this day.
The warning signs begin with the logo of the production company, which features two gladiators battling each other so feebly I immediately knew I'd made a mistake. Then the cartoony title shuffles across the screen accompanied by a marching sound effect. My expectations crashed to the ground. But I thought: okay, so it's a comedy. Maybe it'll have a few laughs.
It doesn't. It's a comedy wasteland, a movie that botches every single joke in a way that would be painful if any of them were funny to begin with.
The star of the movie is the bottomlessly charmless Frederick Anderson, who 'plays' a feeble fellow who spends most of his time spying on his neighbour's house, the source of mysterious sounds. To cut a bad story short, the noises turn out to be coming from the prototype teleportation machines of Professor Memo (Matthew Henderson), who has cobbled them together from a pair of old fridges. His experiment goes wrong and the machines somehow link with a similar experiment in war-time Germany, sending a troop of Nazi soldiers forward in time to bumble around in comedy foreigner fashion and generally rip off 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure' by watching TV and horsing around at the beach.
Von Kontz (Heinrich James), the leader of this motley crew, realises that they can research the war from this point in time and take that information back to 1939, where it can be used to alter the outcome of the war, and thus is established the misleadingly enticing premise. Fred and Memo try to stop them, and the horror truly begins. Not all of the German officers can hold their German accents. Matthew Henderson's bearded fat comedian routine quickly made me long for the sweet release of a Dom Deluise movie. None of the neighbours are disturbed by explosions, gunfire and time-displaced Nazi stormtroopers trampling through their gardens. The 1930s teleportation machine looks worse than the Timelash doorway in 'Doctor Who'. The time travel effect is quite possibly the worst ever committed to film. And these are the least problematic aspects.
Some of these issues can be blamed on the film's obviously low budget. But it doesn't cost money to write a good script or direct it competently, and that is where 'Marching Out of Time' loses the benefit of the doubt. It's an incredibly sloppy film, a breathtakingly unfunny film, an inexcusably shoddy and creatively bankrupt film. It doesn't even get by on can-do spirit or likable rough edges or endearing ineptitude. It has nothing. Writerdirectorproducer Anton Vassil can't think of a single funny or inventive moment to spin out of this story, and he piles his desperately empty material onto the screen with the cluelessness of a man who had the existence of a machine called a camera explained to him minutes before the actors turned up on set. He does seem, on this evidence, to be entirely lacking in talent. His reach exceeds his grasp in the same way as if I threw a stone into the air from my garden expecting it to knock over the flag planted by the crew of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The dialogue. The dialogue, the dialogue. At one point Fred finds a memo apparently written by the Professor. 'How do we know this is Memo's memo? Maybe this isn't Memo's memo!' says he. So the only reason the character is called Memo is so Vassil could include a joke about him writing a memo. That must be it. That's the reason, isn't it? 'Memo's memo' counts as wordplay in this film. Christ. Here's another witty exchange: 'Mind over matter, Mr. Johnson,' says Memo. Quick as a flash, Fred retorts with misplaced emphasis, 'Yeah. If you don't mind, IT doesn't matter.' This line, every line, is delivered as though comedic timing is an as-yet undiscovered concept.
In one of the movie's lowest low points Fred and Memo scour history books looking for information about the Nazi's plans. They discover a reference to the teleportation experiment and Fred says, 'I never knew the Germans did research like that,' and Memo replies, 'Neither did I! Nobody did, obviously, or we would have heard about it!' But... but... but... You're. Reading. About. It. In. A. HISTORY. BOOK. Not secret Nazi files, a history book. This would indicate that somebody did know, obviously, and now you're hearing about it. I sighed so heavily that my living room curtains billowed.
This is a terrible film. A terrible, terrible film. Easily one of the worst films I've ever seen. It fails at everything it tries to do. A gag about Dr. Memo's memo really is the best joke anyone involved could come up with. It was made by people who had no business making a movie. Writing this feels a bit like kicking a puppy in the teeth, but then watching it feels like a kick in the brain.
Review by mutty-mcflea from the Internet Movie Database.