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I just saw "It Came from Outer Space" on DVD today. The last time I saw it was in 1954 in a small town theaters on the Saskatchewan prairies. I was ten years old at the time and my world did not extend a hundred mile radius. I still remember that film until today. Beautiful Barbara Rush, calm, cool,intelligent Richard Carlson. Joe Sawyer could have been one of my neighbors. Full of suspense, intrigue, and mild fear, this movie was indeed a classic. Not knowing what the "It" looked like added to the mystery and wonder. Surprisingly no one was ever seriously hurt. Wearing those 3_D glasses and watching those rocks coming at you was pretty cool in those days. I was glad to see it again and relive those 50 years that have gone by.
First of all let's get rid of that absurd notion that science fiction
of the fifties were merely a sub-conscious attempt to personify the threat
from communism - this is a hackneyed idea, and far from the
This is a thoughtfully crafted film, which like other good science fiction films of this era starts out portraying the aliens as monsters, only to reveal that they are benevolent and superior (how does this fit into the "Red Menace" theory?).
The screenplay was penned by Ray Bradbury and is full of very good dialog and ideas, especially the notion that we are not ready to meet such advanced civilizations. The scenes in the high desert are very atmospheric and creepy, and although the renderings of alien technology at first seem somewhat adolescent, there is a genuine sense of wonder when the internals of the alien ship are revealed. Something missing from today's, blase, computer generated, over the top, excesses.
The 3D is a useless appendage, and not worthy of discussion.
If you like science fiction pre-scifi channel and post-golden age, rent this movie and enjoy the atmosphere.
Jack Arnold directed this screen version of Ray Bradbury's short story, `The
Meteor', about a crashed spaceship in the mid-western desert. The alien
crew kidnaps several inhabitants of the local town and assumes their form.
A writer of science articles (Richard Carlson) who lives on the outskirts of
the town witnesses the crash, although he thinks it's just a meteorite.
When he goes down into the smoking crater, he sees the open hatchway of the
spaceship and an alien creature within it, but when the alien closes the big
hatch it starts a landslide in the crater which covers the ship. Afterwards
none of the local authorities will believe Carlson's story about a buried
spaceship filled with alien invaders.
A moody and beautiful movie, with fine music by Henry Mancini. Many fans of Jack Arnold's sci-fi films consider this one his best (although personally I prefer `The Space Children' -- and so did Jack Arnold, according to his own statement).
Charles Drake (`Tobor the Great') is the skeptical sheriff. Russell Johnson plays both a human and an alien (a treat for genre' fans). The supporting cast includes Joe Sawyer and Kathleen Hughes. Special effects by David S. Horsely and the great Clifford Stine. Makeup by Bud Westmore, of the famous Westmore family who contributed much to all the `Star Trek' spin-offs.
Originally released in 3-D. A 3-D tape was available a few years ago, but the quality was not good . . . sad to say.
This is director Jack Arnold's first science-fiction effort and one of the earliest to use a desert setting. Richard Carlson is very believable as an astronomer who, along with his fiancee, witnesses a meteor crash-landing that turns out to be a spacecraft. No one in the small town believes him until they start disappearing. Arnold uses theremin music to great effect, the photography is eerie, dialog (by Ray Bradbury) poetic, and the alien a terrifying large crawling mass with one bulging eye that leaves a snail-like trail in its path. The aliens are not bent on destruction - an interesting precursor to Steven Spielberg's expensive "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977)- even its main titles are at the End. This is low-key, intelligent, satisfying drama. Co-starring are Barbara Rush (she's a babe), Russell Johnson (likewise), Charles Drake, Joe Sawyer, Kathleen Hughes (who's tantalizing in a cameo).
I caught this movie in 2D and b/w, on the AMC channel this Halloween
weekend. Prior to now, I'd never seen nor heard of it.
Set in and around a small town in the Arizona desert, it tells the story of an amateur astronomer who was trying to get to the truth behind a large, fiery object that fell to earth in the desert. Was it a meteroid, as the Army had proclaimed after its investigation, or a crashed space ship? Though he caught a glimpse of the latter, the evidence was buried in a landslide in the crater before anyone else got there.
Ray Bradbury's believable story is the now-common question of how we deal with things we don't understand, or are "ugly".
I thought it played well, had decent special effects, etc., for a film made for 1950s audiences' sensibilities and movie-watching sophistication.
One scene included a shapely, flirty young woman who really had nothing to do with the story. It wasn't until I heard this was a 3D movie that her presence on screen made any sense.
It Came From Outer Space is possibly Universal's best 1950's sci-fi and one
of the best of the decade.
It stars sci-fi regular Richard Carlson (Creature From the Black Lagoon) and Barbara Rush (When Worlds Collide) as his lover. They both play good parts.
This is also one of the creepiest sci-fi movies of the 1950's. The desert setting is very eerie, as is the score. Director Jack Arnold often used desert settings for his movies. The alien monster looks quite impressive and the special effects are good too.
I enjoyed this movie very much and is a must for 1950's sci-fi lovers. Enjoy!
Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
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.
An astronomer-stranger realizes that what is believed to be a meteor is in reality a space ship. No one believes him. Richard Carlson plays this laughed at John Putnam with conviction and integrity. Carlson tries to discover the truth, with the aid of his girl friend, and slowly they learn that indeed an alien presence has landed in the desert. The story has many similar plot elements found in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and some new twists all its own. For the most part, the plot is pretty cohesive, and the acting acceptable. Charles Drake as a no brain lawman might be the one major exception. Russel Johnson, the professor of Gilligan's Island fame, has a small part as well. The alien presence seems to not want to harm humanity but only to leave, but is willing to harm to meet its end. All in all a pretty good atmospheric sci-fi chiller from the Golden Age.
IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE is unquestionably on my top 3 from the many
sci-fi movies made in the 1950s. I review many sci-fi films from the
50s, both B-movies AND classic. THIS film would definitely go down as
one of the all-time classics. Even more rich with every viewing, IT
CAME FROM OUTER SPACE is about a couple who live in a desert, one a
scientist. One night, the scientist and his girlfriend are stargazing
when they see some strange thing crash into a crater. When they go
there, the scientist decides to go down, and sees a strange ship right
before an avalanche falls over the specimen. Soon those two are the
only ones who believe it is a ship from outer space, until strange
things begin happening. The scientist must solve the mystery of why the
aliens have arrived, and what they want. A science fiction classic
worth buying on DVD. (Don't be fooled...the alien looks nothing like
the one on the DVD cover.)
MPAA Rating: G
My Rating: Ages 7 and up (some scary images)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'll admit I'm a sucker for the atmosphere of old SF B/W movies and B/W
movies in general - something that can't be reproduced with the special
effects heavy movies of today.
This movie is wonderful. It may have a simple plot, but it is effective at generating suspense and is well made. And the scientist/intellectual protagonist attempting to warn others of the menace from outer space is classic SF.
The locations are also great. The isolation of the Arizona desert...aliens could have landed there a million years ago (and still be there) and we'd have no idea.
Definitely worth a look.
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