To study a rogue planet heading for a near-miss with Earth, Prof. Elliot sets up an observatory on the foggy moors of a remote Scottish island, with his pretty daughter and Dr. Mears, a former student with a shady past. Soon after arrival of reporter John Lawrence, a ship from Planet X just happens to land near the observatory. Is the visitor (who actually looks alien) benevolent? What are Mears' real motives for trying to communicate with it? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
When Dr. Mears tries to overcome the alien by shutting off his breathing apparatus, you can see the circular hole in the top of the aliens helmet enabling the actor Pat Goldin to breath. See more »
[to the Man from Planet X]
To think - a fantastic gnome like you had to hurdle out of space to put this power in my hands. Well, now that we've made contact, I'm gonna tear out every secret you've got!
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If this film had come out in the mid-50's, it could be dismissed as another low-budget, silly outer space invasion movie. However this movie appears to have been the first of such space invasion movies. It opened in March of 1951. Later that year came the openings of "The Thing from Another Planet" and "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Two other 1951 films, "When Worlds Collide" and "Superman and the Mole Men" have some space invader elements, but don't quite qualify for the genre.
The fact that it was shot in six days on a budget of $43,000 makes it more amazing. Compare that to "The Thing From Another World" ($1.6 million) or the "The Day The Earth Stood Still" ($1.2 million). While none of the technical aspects come near those two movies, the movie does have an interesting style and look that foreshadows the 1953 classic "Invaders From Mars" and even has elements from "Invasino of the Body Snatchers".
The movie is a little ambiguous about whether we are dealing with unfriendly (a la "The Thing")or friendly aliens (a la "The Day"). It seems a bit schizophrenic here with an alien that can be scary in one scene and downright adorable in another. Not having any prior such movies to really go by, the writers seem unsure in which direction to go.
Robert Clark is fine in the lead as a newspaper reporter. Margaret Field (Sally Field's mother) is good as the female love interest. William Schallert (Uncle Martin or Papo on "The Patty Duke Show) stands out as a surprisingly creepy scientific assistant.
What really carries the film is Edgar Ulmer's energetic direction. Ulmer ("Black Cat" "Dishonored Lady" and "Detour")always keeps the viewer on their toes, inserting off-beat and unexpected material in nearly every scene.
It is a must for film history buffs and others will find it engagingly silly.
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