Archive for March 6th, 2009

Movie Chat

lucas2This month Movie Lab (PBS network) digs up a seldom seen oddity, George Lucas’s Attack of the 60 Foot Woman.
In 1967 while attending film school and making short films, Lucas was approached by a representative from Dr. Scholl’s foot products. The late sixties were a hard time for Dr. Scholl’s. The hippie movement besides espousing free love and anarchy also went barefoot. Less shoes meant less foot care products and business was down substantially. Dr. Scholl’s wanted Lucas to make an hour long movie/commercial in which foot care products more specifically Dr. Scholl’s foot care products were prominently featured and shown to be “cool”. The movie was to be screened at high schools, vocational schools and junior colleges. Lucas seeing an opportunity to further his craft signed on immediately.
Six months later “The Attack of the 60 Foot Woman” was finished. The movie featured a young Linda Purl as Diane a free spirited “hippie”. While dancing barefoot during a protest at a chemical factory Diane gets caught in a thunderstorm and finds shelter in an empty chemical drum. The next day she wakes up to find she’s been transformed into a giant centipede. Mayhem ensues when Diane trundles about the countryside looking for help while being pursued by the army. Enter Dr. Professor “Click” Davis (James Franciscus) who is working with the army and is a trained podiatrist. Davis finds the distraught centipede woman and using nothing but Dr. Scholl’s foot products calms her down by soothing and healing all sixty of her feet. The final scene finds Diane now human again waking up in a field and realizing it was all a dream. She vows to take better care of her feet using only Dr. Scholl’s foot products.
The Attack of the 60 Foot Woman was a failure as a movie and as a Dr. Scholl’s commercial. It was only shown in a few school districts in the Midwest and was protested against by both hippies and church groups. The only thing successful was a soundtrack album by The Lovin’ Shoehorn which now fetches high prices on the internet.
In his book “Out of the Film Can, Into the Trash Can” Leonard Maltin describes 60 foot Woman as an early watershed moment in Lucas’s career and compares it favorably to the early Spielberg failure “Dik-Bot: Adventures of a lustful robot”. Lucas for his part refuses to talk about the movie and it appears nowhere on his film biography.

Movie Lab (PBS): Check local listings for time and date