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Doctor David Banner (Bill Bixby) was madly in love with Laura (Lara
Parker), & she with him as well, but then she died in a carcrash,
& even though he tried to save her, he just couldn't build up enough
strength to do so ...
Since that time, he & Doc Elaina (Susan Sullivan) - who is of
course madly in love with him - try to tap into that strange phenomenon,
when people can build up enough excessive strength in stressful situations
that allow them to perform almost superhuman feats ... of course, actually
Banner wants to learn why he could not build up this excessive strength to
save Laura, & wants to prevent that from ever happening again ...
Eventually Banner comes to the conclusion that Gamma Rays must be the
answer, & since Elaina is nowhere to be found to stop him, he showers
himself witht eh stuff and ... nothing !
But that night, when he angrily tries to fix a flat tyre & hurts
himself, he suddenly transforms into a green, hulky giant which will
henceforth be known as the Hulk (& will be played by Lou Ferrigno).
Immediately, the Hulk thrashes his/Banner's car, then goes on the prowl
for a bit. The next morning, in a scene echoing that in 1931's Frankenstein,
the Hulk meets a young girl (Olivia Barash) & growls friendlily ...
bzut the girl, seeing the green giant, jumps into the next lake. But -
unlike in Frankenstein, the
Hulk throws a tree into the water to save her. Still, the girl's father
(George Brenlin) shoots at him, & the Hulk growls about menacingly for
a bit ...
Later, back as David Banner (but still in his outfit torn by the
transformation), Banner stops by Elaina's place, 6 hearihg his
unbelievable story, she makes some tests on him in an empty laboratorium.
Eventually, Banner insists on being locked into a diving bell for extreme
deep sea diving (thus with very thick walls), and inside, triggered by a
nightmare, he turns into the Hulk, & rips the diving bell open from
teh inside with is bare hands. Then he menaces Elaina, but she manages to
calm him down.
When they later talk about the experiment, little do they know that a
journalist, Jack McGee (Jack Colvin) iws eavesdropping on them, & he
soon puts 2 and 2 together, figures they have to somehow be in league with
the green giant everybody is talking about, & snoops around in their
lab a little ... which eventually causes the lab to blow up, & Elaina
being still inside. Banner spontanuusly turns into the Hulk, runs into the
empty building & gets her out, but alas too late, she dies in his
Jack McGee's newspaper article though twists things around a bit,
according to his version, Banner & Elaina both died in the explosion
that was caused by the Hulk.
... & since Banner finds himself presumed dead, he starts wandering
The comic this film was based on, The Incredible Hulk was first
published by Marvel comics in 1962. It wasn't among Marvel's
more inspired comicbooks though (even if very few Marvel comics
from this era could actually be called inspired): The Incredible Hulk
followed an incredibly one-dimensional plot-formula - whimpish scientist
gets angry, turns into the Hulk, causes havoc, has to make an escape -, & was in fact little
more than a blatant rip-off of Bert I.Gordon's The Amazing Colossal Man
from 1957 (in the comicbook version the transformation is also caused by
an atom bomb explosion) with a bit of Jekyll
& Hyde thrown in. (Judging by this, it's all the more
surprising that writer Peter David could, in the 1980's & 1990's turn Incredible
Hulk into one of the most entertaining comicbooks ever published by Marvel.)
It's little surprising that this tv-movie - that would be expanded
into a longrunning tv-series the following year - fails to totally
impress, for various reasons: Even in this one film, where the Hulk
doesn't appear until halfway through, the plot starts getting formulaic,
the episode spends way too littkle time on its actual narrative & way
too much time on setting up the whole series, the whole horror aspect of
the story is just too toned down for mainstream tv audiences, &
womehow the story as a whole seriously lacks excitement.
Some nods to classic Universal
horror movies at least are nice though.