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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>
An elderly scientist has discovered that a new planet has somehow changed its orbital path and will soon come dangerously close to the Earth. An American reporter goes to the northern most reaches of Scotland to meet with this professor in hopes that he can tell the world of his findings. Upon arrival he meets the young, beautiful daughter that he knew previously as a gawky child and a Dr. Mears, a scientist that should have been jailed for some past crimes but somehow was not convicted and was staying at the Professor's castle because of their former relationship as teacher and pupil. It is with this exposition that famed B director Edgar G. Ulmer then sends an alien in a small, weird-looking spaceship to this area for the purpose of scouting out another place for his/its own kind. Well, the story takes some interesting, some obvious steps in terms of fleshing out the story, but when the end result is viewed - one should be impressed with several things. First of all, the budget for this film was incredibly small. Ulmer rented out the old sets from Joan of Arc and then transformed them into the castle and Scottish bogs. They are convincing thanks to his heavy use of fog machines. The fog swirls and floats throughout. His special effects are not that bad either for the budget. The alien created looks surprisingly eerie in the fog as it looks through its glass helmet with those glazed, cold, blank eyes. But Ulmer does more than just create an alien that terrifies a region. Ulmer gives the alien a bit of soul. He ends up being a menace, but a question arises that would he have been that same menace if an evil human being had not been involved in trying to communicate with him. Ulmer leaves the answer to you - and it is a stylish, almost profound thing to do in a film like this. Make no mistake, The Man from Planet X is a B picture all the way, but it is a quality B picture with solid, innovative direction, haunting images, good acting from Robert Clarke as the lead, Margaret Field(Sally Field's mom) as the love-interest/daughter, and good-old William Schallert as the conniving Dr. Mears. My favourite performance though is by Roy Engel as a Scottish policeman. He can chew up some scenery!
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