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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>
The background of the Scottish village is obviously painted on a flat canvas. See more »
When I got close to it, it looked like a giant glass ball girdled with something like a steel belt. Three of them, I think. When I got close enough to look in - there it was.
That face! Right on the other side of the glass looking right into mine! I was terrified!
A face? A human face?
A ghastly caricature like something distorted by pressure. I can't think how else to describe it - a horrible, grotesque face looking right into my eyes!
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Having caught this film quite by accident, i felt gripped not only its innate cheesiness but also several little gems of direction and production design. If you can get past the stereotypes (doddery professor, beautiful daughter, brash American newsman), and the awful accents (isn't that policeman Irish, rather than Scottish?!) The Man From Planet X is a very watchable b-movie. The alien reminded me of the last days of the Spirit comic strip and the lonely croft amongst the billowing fog was a very stark image. Add to this the beautifully sleek (although wholly impractical) spaceship, typically 50s in design, some great chiarascuro cinematography (the alley abduction scene), plus that low-pitched camera outside the dungeon, and you've got a very technically engaging movie.
Never mind that the plot's got more holes than a string vest (where did all those soldiers come from?) and the acting and script are as wooden as a Scots pine dresser, enjoy it on a technical level if you can't engage with the human drama. As with many films of this ilk, the denoument was a bit hurried but all in all, this watches as well as (or dare i say, better than) any episode of Dr Who - with which it shares many similarities.
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