Mark (Michael Cole) and his very pregnant wife Cathy (Deborah Walley) hire Tony (Johnny Desmond) to fly them back from their mountain vacation in his small plane. Cathy is in labor as a sudden storm comes up. Mark needs to land the plane as soon as possible and get her some help. They quickly pass through the storm and Tony lands on what he thinks is a runway. When they get out of the plane they realize they are on a street. A cab comes up and the cab driver (Vic Perrin) keeps repeating the words “Cab mister?” The driver appears to be in a hypnotic state.
They eventually get to the hospital and Cathy gives birth to a son. Since the baby is a month early it is put in an incubator. While the baby and Cathy are in the hospital Mark takes a look around town. It doesn’t take long before he realizes that something is abnormal in, not only the town, but the citizens in it. The town looks more like a movie set than an actual town. The citizens are all zombie-like in their manor. They wander around appearing to be in a daze, almost drugged.
When Tony and Mark go out to check on the plane they find it missing. Later they find an odd looking structure of unknown origin. Inside the darkened structure is an odd looking chair. Tony sits in it and has a frightening reaction. To Mark it looks as though he was subject to a shock treatment. When the episode is over Tony is in a similar state as the town’s people. He then wanders off.
A week later the baby is ready to leave the hospital. Mark and Cindy find Tony still in his hypnotic state. Mark slugs him which brings him out of his miasma. They decide to leave town and get back to normal civilization. Further outside of town they find that the entire area is encased in a clear dome. They then realize they are trapped in something created by alien life, and they have no way of escaping.
“The Bubble” AKA “The Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth” was released in 1966 and was directed by Arch Oboler. It is an American science fiction film. It was touted as the first feature film done in the Space-Vision. Space-Vision is a glorified 3-D system. It uses a single-strip over/under image format resulting in a 2.35:1 widescreen 3-D image. You still needed 3-D glasses.
The movie is like watching a very long “Twilight Zone” episode. Sometimes it plods along, even in the cut down version, but there is still a fascination to it that makes one want to see how it ends.
The movie was originally 112 minutes long. Criticism about the slow pacing of the film resulted in it being cut to 91 minutes. The result is a movie that is still slow but now also has some choped editing added to it. The edits to the film were made to the original negative and the cut footage was thrown away and believed to be lost. Eventually a copy of the original print that belonged to Deborah Walley was located and the film was restored to its full length and released on DVD.
Michael Cole, who plays Mark, is best known playing the character Pete Cochran in the television series “The Mod Squad” with Peggy Lipton and Clarence Williams III.