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CONSPIRACY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: The Questor Tapes

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http://hd.today/watch/bxqKAydJ-the-questor-tapes.html

The Questor Tapes is a 1974 television movie about an android (portrayed by Robert Foxworth) with incomplete memory tapes who is searching for his creator and his purpose. Conceived by Gene Roddenberry, who is credited as executive consultant, the script is credited to Roddenberry and fellow Star Trek alumnus Gene L. Coon.

A novelization, written by D. C. Fontana (another Star Trek alumna), was dedicated to Coon, who died before the program was broadcast.


Project Questor is the brainchild of the genius Dr. Emil Vaslovik, Ph.D., a Nobel laureate. Vaslovik had developed plans to build a superhuman android. A team of the world's foremost experts is able to build the android even though they do not understand the components with which they are working — they are only able to follow the instructions and install the parts left by Vaslovik, who has disappeared. Attempts to decode the programming tape were worse than merely unsuccessful—they also erased approximately half of the tape's contents. They decide to substitute their own programming, over the objections of Jerome "Jerry" Robinson (Mike Farrell), the only team member who had actually worked with Dr. Vaslovik. He is overruled by the head of the project, Geoffrey Darrow (John Vernon). When the android's body has been finished, the new tape is loaded, but with no apparent results. In desperation, Robinson persuades Darrow to allow Vaslovik's tape — what remains of it — to be loaded. Again, the team is disappointed, as there appears to be no response.


However, once left alone, the android comes to life. It adds the various cosmetic touches to a previously featureless outer skin, transforming itself from an "it" to a "him", and he (Robert Foxworth) then leaves the laboratory to visit Vaslovik's office and archives; it is there that he first identifies himself as "part of Project Questor". The android then seeks out Robinson, whom he forces to accompany him in a search for Vaslovik, with Darrow in pursuit of both, following a minuscule datum in his original programming.


Questor (who becomes more "human" as the story progresses) only knows that it has something to do with an "aquatic vehicle" — a boat — and that if he does not find Vaslovik before the end of a countdown, the nuclear generator in his abdomen will overload and explode. Vaslovik had programmed this into him to prevent his creation from being misused, and time is running out. The pair, traveling to England, escape from custody and travel to the home of Lady Helena Trimble (Dana Wynter), who had known and worked with Vaslovik. (Her name was an homage to Bjo Trimble, who had led the fan campaign to keep Star Trek on the air.) After Robinson refuses Questor's naive suggestion that the scientist seduce Lady Helena as a way to get information, Questor announces that he will make the attempt, adding, "I am fully functional." This line would later be used by the character Data in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Just as Questor deciphers the clues and tells Robinson that he knows where Vaslovik is, he is shot by British soldiers, and returned to the laboratory. Robinson repairs Questor, and Darrow gives him two options: If Robinson puts a homing transmitter inside the android, they will be given a plane to go find Vaslovik, but if Robinson refuses, the android will simply be flown to a safe location where the explosion will not endanger anyone. Robinson implants the beacon, and they jet off to Mount Ararat; the "boat" imperative, as Questor had realized just minutes before being shot, had referred to Noah's Ark.


Robinson and Questor reach a cave concealed inside Mount Ararat with seconds to spare. Questor's timer is made safe, and he has found Emil Vaslovik (Lew Ayres), who tells Questor and Robinson that he, too, is an android. Questor is the last of a series, going back to "the dawn of this world," left there by "Masters" to serve and protect mankind. They functioned by a law which Vaslovik quotes to Questor:


"We protect, but we do not interfere. Man must make his own way. We guide him — but always without his knowledge."

Each of the Masters' previous androids had a lifespan of several hundred years, at the end of which each assembled its replacement. The unexpected, rapid advent of nuclear physics and the radioactive fallout from above-ground nuclear testing had damaged Vaslovik. Questor's design corrected these failures, and finally Vaslovik is able to die in peace, after asking Robinson to help Questor learn about humanity. Darrow, having followed the pair, has heard enough to know how important it is that Questor be allowed to fulfill his mission. Unfortunately, he has brought the military with him to destroy the android. The cynical Darrow believes that this is proof that humanity does not deserve Questor's help. However, Questor convinces him otherwise. Deciding to sacrifice his own life for Questor's sake, Darrow takes the transmitter and leaves, telling the military commander that not only Vaslovik had gone insane, but also that the android has escaped, and to send in jet fighters when the beacon signal is picked up. He then takes off in the jet that Questor and Robinson had used, turning on the transmitter as he goes so that they will think that the android is aboard. Robinson and Questor, now outside the cave, look up into the sky. Robinson tells Questor that he cannot see anything, to which the android replies, "I wish that I could not." This is notably his first verbal expression of emotion, Questor's first visual expression of emotion had occurred when his timer had been made safe; he had then regarded Robinson with a smile. The plane is then destroyed, killing Darrow. Questor and Robinson begin their mission together.


Posted by Conspiracy Cafe on May 12, 2018 at 10:33 PM 38 Views