The Secret Life of Plants (1979) Netflix Instant has started featuring many films that have not been available for decades because of wacky legal hoo-ha-ness, like biker flick The Glory Stompers, or Ken Russell’s The Music Lovers, or Elia Kazan’s The Visitors.
Walon Green is also the co-screenwriter of The Wild Bunch, screenwriter of Friedkin’s Sorcerer and Robocop 2 (both of those flicks I like), and more lately producer/writer for the Law & Order: Criminal Intent TV franchise.
According to Wikipoopia, Green “is also notable for allowing a centipede to crawl over his face in the tunnel scene of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
However, The Secret Life of Plants is three (or more) moviesin one—but very poorly bolted together, in an almost haphazard fashion, with no real discernable style providing a through-line.
It’s like a movie made FOR stoners, BY stoners—showing incredible flashes of genius occasionally, with drawn-out moments of mediocrity. (Just like only right-winger like Nixon could open up China, only a straight-edge dude like Big Stan K. could come up with something as trippy as 2001.)
Here we’ve got:
Stevie Wonder is rowing a boat across a lake!
Bad actors are reenacting Russian science experiments chopping cabbage!
Exquisite time-lapse photography shows you a forest of grass churning the ground and sprouting in seconds!
Wide-angle lens aerial stock footage zooming over the desert canyons!
Hindus bathing in the Ganges!
Brilliant microscopic photography follows a fly through a minefield of Venus flytraps! (A genuinely suspenseful moment!)
A man hooks a plant to a lie detector and kills some brine shrimp!
Stevie Wonder sings about the indignities George Washington Carver suffered—while B&W photos of the scientist and inventor are flashed over “sing-along” style subtitled lyrics, all done in a very “Ye Olde Timee” font! (Yeah, I know: Huh?!?)
The Secret Life of Plants is an unholy mess (no wonder—no pun intended—this flick hasn’t been seen in YEARS!)— As such, it absolutely needs to be seen, if anything for the time-lapsed plant growth footage.
(And it does have an awesome Stevie Wonder soundtrack, with some help from George Harrison and others.)
That was my original idea for the title of this blog, a sort of summation of nearly everything I'd ever wanted cinematically: regularly playing on the ABC Channel 7 4:30 movie--or on WOR-TV Channel 9's 4 O'Clock Movie--the greatest monster movie in the universe, and incredible combo of miniatures, men in suits and stop motion, with entire continents destroyed!
But then there was a coup d'etat, and Tzar Ivan I of Ivanlandia took charge.