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It Came from Outer Space (1953)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 5 June 1953 (USA)
A spaceship from another world crashes in the Arizona desert and only an amateur stargazer and a schoolteacher suspect alien influence when the local townsfolk begin to act strangely.

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(screenplay), (story)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

John Putnam is a writer and an amateur stargazer with a new home out in the beautiful Arizona desert, which he enjoys with Ellen Fields, his girlfriend and a local schoolteacher. John is not trusted by the people of the small town near where he lives, certainly not by Sheriff Matt Warren, who feels protective of Ellen, and perhaps something more. One night, John and Ellen see a meteorite crash in the desert. John drags his friend, Pete, out of bed to take him over to the crash site in his helicopter. Once there, John climbs down into the crater. Unfortunately, he does so alone, as Pete and Ellen wait for him. John is the only one who sees the spaceship before a landslide covers it. And John is the only one who catches a glimpse of the hideous thing inside. At first John's story seems mad, until some of the townsfolk begin acting strange - as if they aren't really who they seem to be. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE OUTER SPACE ROCKET SHIP! THE THUNDERING AVALANCHE! (original ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 June 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atomic Monster  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the tear-off calendar on the wall in the sheriff's office, around 50:00, the climactic day of the movie was "February 11 Saturday". February 11 was one of the actual days of filming, in 1953; however, in that year it fell on a Wednesday. Presumably, the set dresser used an old prop calendar for 1950 or 1939. See more »

Goofs

After the spaceship has crashed, when they look through the telescope to see the crash site the image is the correct way up but since this is an Alvin Clark refractor telescope, the image should be upside down. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Putnam: [off-screen] This is Sand Rock, Arizona, of a late evening in early spring. It's a nice town, knowing its past and sure of its future, as it makes ready for the night, and the predictable morning. The desert blankets the earth, cooling, resting for the fight with tomorrow's sun. And in my house near the town, we're also sure of the future. So very sure.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are at the end rather than at the beginning. They include shots of the characters with the cast names, and the pictures would mean nothing if seen before the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Sci-Fit Thriller With Style, Good Acting and a Thoughtful Script
13 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

This modest science fiction film from Ray Bradbury's short story "The Meteor" is perhaps the most-imitated film in the history of cinema.. The screenplay for this feature was written by Harry Essex, with direction by veteran action-film expert Jack Arnold. It is set on the edge of the desert, and involves in its storyline the crash of a mysterious meteor. Investigating it, a scientist living nearby discovers it is an alien spacecraft; he glimpses an ugly amoeboid creature like an octopus with a giant eye. Its next efforts cause a landslide which hides the spacecraft under a landslide, so no one else can see what he saw. The next development, when no one believes him, is that local people, law-enforcement and others, start acting like zombies; his wife believes him, but when the folk start coming into town he knows he needs to do something. Heading to the site again, he contacts the alien minds who tell him they only wish to escape Earth, where they do not belong. He gives them the help they require and the ship takes off the next day, heading home and leaving hi,m, and us, with a genuine mystery and an important question about parochial attitudes and out fitness to extend man's reach into the Galaxy when this urge has not been conquered. The production in B/W is a very good one for a "B" film, I assert., Joan St. Eigger did the hairstyles, Rosemary Odell the costumes, Russell A. Gausman and Ruby R. Levitt the sets, with Bud Westmore handling the unusual makeup challenges. The very fine art direction was done by Bernard Herzbrun and Robert A. Boyle, with luminous cinematography by Clifford Stine. In the solid cast are Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake as the Sheriff, Joe Sawyer, Russell Johnson and Kathleen Hughes. it is arguable that Richard Carlson talks too much about the mysteries of the desert in this film, as n allegory for the dangers of the unknown, the wild, the as-yet-untamed--for space itself; but the dialogue is good-enough, the situations genuinely eerie and the style of the film, its crisis and its and pacing far-above-the-expected. In lesser hands, this production could have been less effective; this has become a classic example of how to handle several sci-fi situations. It earns the stature of being fundamentally scary; yet it is also thoughtful and interesting at the same time, by my standards. This is sci-fi noir of a very high sort.


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