Why Man Creates
In the year of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, it attains the prey in prehistory.
From that day to this, a dilemma. Circumstances, obstacles. The nature of such labors, such laborers.
The main elements are Haskin’s The Naked Jungle and Wise’s The Andromeda Strain, certain details recall Juran’s First Men in the Moon (and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey), Kaufman probably recalls it for his version of Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the flea circus filming perhaps suggests Riesner’s Bill and Coo (which brings you to Hitchcock’s The Birds).
The several phases evoke the sections of Why Man Creates with its terrific number on the critics. “I came down here to get in a couple o’ weeks o’ science in the sun, I did not sign up for a war against a bunch o’ goddamn ants!”
Critics who were mystified by the ending certainly didn’t know their Haskin from Teshigahara’s hole in the ground, Woman in the Dunes (where the protagonist of a surety is an entomologist).
A.H. Weiler of the New York Times, “beclouded by enigmas.” Variety, “didn’t get the bugs worked out before release.” Jonathan Rosenbaum (Monthly Film Bulletin), “an impossibly outworn string of clichés and platitudes.” Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader), “so-so”. Time Out, “still got a lot of bugs to iron out.” Halliwell’s Film Guide, “oddly effective”.
The great selah at the finish was eliminated by the studio or the distributor, reports disagree, because the critical brain trust has no monopoly.