MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 2,421 this week

Beginning of the End (1957)

 -  Sci-Fi  -  28 June 1957 (USA)
3.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 3.4/10 from 1,599 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 33 critic

Audrey Ames, an enterprising journalist, tries to get the scoop on giant grasshoppers accidentally created at the Illinois State experimental farm. She endeavors to save Chicago, despite a ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 77 titles
created 29 Jan 2011
 
a list of 27 titles
created 10 Jul 2011
 
a list of 149 titles
created 5 months ago
 
a list of 30 titles
created 1 month ago
 
a list of 30 titles
created 2 days ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Beginning of the End (1957)

Beginning of the End (1957) on IMDb 3.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Beginning of the End.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

A scientific expedition in Africa investigates wasps that have been exposed to radiation and mutated into giant, killing monsters.

Director: Kenneth G. Crane
Stars: Jim Davis, Robert Griffin, Joel Fluellen
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

Teenagers from a rural community and their high school science teacher join forces to battle a giant mutant spider.

Director: Bert I. Gordon
Stars: Ed Kemmer, June Kenney, Eugene Persson
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  

Glenn Manning, "The Amazing Colosasal Man," believed dead after falling from the Hoover Dam, reemerges in rural Mexico, brain damaged, disfigured, and very hungry.

Director: Bert I. Gordon
Stars: Sally Fraser, Roger Pace, Duncan 'Dean' Parkin
The Cyclops (1957)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

An expedition to Mexico finds and does battle with a mutated 25-foot man with one big eye.

Director: Bert I. Gordon
Stars: James Craig, Gloria Talbott, Lon Chaney Jr.
The 27th Day (1957)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Five individuals from five nations, including the "Superpowers," USA, USSR, and China, suddenly find themselves on an alien spacecraft. An alien gives each a container holding capsules. No ... See full summary »

Director: William Asher
Stars: Gene Barry, Valerie French, George Voskovec
King Dinosaur (1955)
Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1.9/10 X  

A new planet moves into our solar system and four scientists (two couples) are sent to explore Planet Nova. In between romantic interludes, the cast faces an iguana masquerading as a ... See full summary »

Director: Bert I. Gordon
Stars: William Bryant, Wanda Curtis, Douglas Henderson
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.5/10 X  

A group of people at a bar witness the unfolding events of a Soviet invasion of the USA.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Gerald Mohr, Peggie Castle, Dan O'Herlihy
The Unearthly (1957)
Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.6/10 X  

Mad doctor uses patients at his isolated psychiatric institute as subjects in his attempts to create longevity by surgically installing an artificial gland in their skulls, with disastrous results.

Director: Boris Petroff
Stars: John Carradine, Myron Healey, Allison Hayes
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Strange goings on at the site of an experimental underwater laboratory as a mysterious object of unknown origin is detected in the area. A group of researchers investigate and come face to ... See full summary »

Director: Francis D. Lyon
Stars: Scott Brady, Sheree North, Gary Merrill
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  

After an invisible asteroid draws an astronaut and his ship to its surface, he is miniaturized by the phantom planet's exotic atmosphere.

Director: William Marshall
Stars: Dean Fredericks, Coleen Gray, Anthony Dexter
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A brilliant surgeon encases his dead son's brain in a large robot body, with unintended results...

Director: Eugène Lourié
Stars: John Baragrey, Mala Powers, Otto Kruger
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

Lt. Col. Glenn Manning is inadvertently exposed to a plutonium bomb blast at Camp Desert Rock. Though burned over 90% of his body, he survives, and begins to grow in size. As he grows, his ... See full summary »

Director: Bert I. Gordon
Stars: Glenn Langan, Cathy Downs, William Hudson
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dr. Ed Wainwright
...
Audrey Aimes
Morris Ankrum ...
Gen. John Hanson
Than Wyenn ...
Frank Johnson
Thomas Browne Henry ...
Col. Tom Sturgeon (as Thomas B. Henry)
Richard Benedict ...
Cpl. Mathias
James Seay ...
Capt. James Barton
John Close ...
Maj. Everett
Don C. Harvey ...
Guard at Lab
Larry J. Blake ...
Illinois Highway Patrolman
Eilene Janssen ...
Girl Teenager in Car
Hylton Socher ...
Frank - Soldier
...
Gen. John T. Short
Douglas Evans ...
Norman Taggart - News Editor
Paul Grant ...
Male Teenager in Car
Edit

Storyline

Audrey Ames, an enterprising journalist, tries to get the scoop on giant grasshoppers accidentally created at the Illinois State experimental farm. She endeavors to save Chicago, despite a military cover-up. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The screen's first full-length science-fiction thriller with real live creatures! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 June 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le début de la fin  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

200 grasshoppers were used for the film. During the filming, they began to cannibalize one another, so by the time the last shots were done, only a dozen were left. See more »

Goofs

When the locusts attack the building Ed Wainright is in, one smashes through the window. Ed shoots it and it falls away. A split second later, Ed and a soldier blast open sky. Apparently, the special effects people had the locust fall away too soon. See more »

Quotes

Col. Tom Sturgeon: Where do I get off asking the Regular Army for help with a bunch of oversize grasshoppers?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gargantua (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Natural, Natural Baby
Words and Music by Lou Bartel & Harriet Kane
Sung by Lou Bartel & Chorus
An ABC - Paramount Record
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A retro warning about radiation and much, much more.
21 September 1998 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

BEGINNING OF THE END opens with a couple sharing a cozy moment in Lover's Lane. Seconds later they hear a strange noise, the girl looks up, she screams, and cut to the opening titles.

We find out that the couple was among the 150 now missing residents of Ludlow, Illinois. Reporter Audrey Ames (Peggy Castle) is driving through the area and is stopped by soldiers at a roadblock. Her curiosity piqued, she goes to visit Doctor Ed Wainright (Peter Graves) to get more information about a mysterious recent disaster at a nearby grain silo. Driving to the ruins of the silo with Ed's deaf mute assistant, they encounter giant grasshoppers which devour Ed's assistant.

The military is alerted. General Hanson (Morris Ankrum) sends troops to confirm that, yes, the giant grasshoppers are real- and real hungry.

Modern weapons can't stop them. The grasshoppers march on toward Chicago. Just when it seems as if all is lost and General Hanson must give the order to wipe Chicago off the map with an atom bomb, Ed discovers a way to use the high-pitched noise the giant insects create to lure them into the lake. Civilization is saved, and Ed and Audrey embrace as the last of the giant grasshoppers sink beneath the waves.

Starting with GODZILLA and THEM! in 1954, the 50's saw a vast menagerie of animals- and people too- that got way too big because man had tampered with the atom.

BEGINNING OF THE END represents a kind of movie making that audiences of the 90's don't know about. It was made for probably a tenth of one percent of the budget of STARSHIP TROOPERS or this summer's GODZILLA. The actors were not stars, although Peter Graves did go on to bigger and better things. Films like this had schooting schedules of a couple of weeks or so. Actors were expected to show up sober and on time and know their lines. What a remarkable idea.

Some actors like Morris Ankrum thrived in this world. In 1957 he was in eight feature films, and an episode of "Perry Mason" on television. His IFDb filmography lists 148 roles in a twenty-seven year period!

The special effects in BEGINNING OF THE END are modest. The best shots of the monsters use sort of a shadow box effect. Way upstage is a background, then the grasshoppers which are seen in a sort of a frame (trees or, in four instances, a window) and then people downstage.

Shots of the creatures attacking skyscrapers were done by letting live grasshoppers crawl over photographs of tall buildings. Sometimes they would crawl off the part showing the building and be walking on the sky, but not too often.

Scenes in which monsters come into the frame with live actors don't work well at all, although at the time I don't think a major studio could have done that much better.

Far more effective is the use of sound. The grasshoppers make a high-pitched noise when they are about to attack. In the military's first encounter with the creatures, there's a point in the action where the musical score stops and all we hear is the creatures, gunfire, and shouts and screams as soldiers fall to the attacking insects.

Later, when Chicago is about to be attacked, a tv reporter is describing the sound when all at once it is heard as the monsters begin their assault.

The film is very short (an hour and thirteen minutes) and so its structure is that of two acts instead of three. Much of the action happens offscreen, conveyed by exposition. The destruction of three cities between Ludlow and Chicago is handled by means of a telegram. People who had been near Ludlow or had communication with the town are interviewed.

In one of those scenes a character named Dave tells of having visited his daughter and her husband in Ludlow and leaving after watching the news. Dave is played by veteran character Hank Patterson, who played Fred Ziffel on "Green Acres" and "Petticoat Junction" for many years.

When we first see Audrey she's driving her convertible with the top down; her hair is perfect. It's good to be the leading lady. She's a reporter who had covered the conflict in Korea, and is treated with considerable respect by the military men. Her full skirt and crisp white blouse with upturned collar look great, and a wide belt accents her small waistline. Had the film run longer, a romance probably would have developed between her and Ed.

But as the story progresses, we see her becoming more passive. When she and Ed make their escape from the site of the ruined silo, Ed is the one driving- even though it's Audrey's car. When the grasshoppers attack the lab in Chicago, it's Ed who picks up a gun in two seperate instances. Remarkably, although tanks couldn't harm the creatures in the field near Ludlow, Ed kills at least two at close range with a machine gun. It's good to be the leading man.

Audrey isn't presented as being a shrinking violet or a homebody. Here's a professional woman who has a wide background of experiences. But she becomes so passive in Ed's presence that it's amazing to think that it would be only a little over two decades before audiences would see the character of Ripley in Ridley Scott's ALIEN, who most forcefully takes control of the situation when those around her fail, or the two vengeful survivors who enforce bloody retribution in Charles Kaufman's MOTHER'S DAY. Those characters aren't the daughters of female characters from the 50's; they're the great, great, great grand-daughters.

Strangely enough for this genre, there aren't many other important woman in this film. At the close of the first attack on Chicago a young woman wearing a towel is brushing her hair when a grasshopper crashes through the bedroom window and, presumably, devours her. The young lady in lover's lane is barely on screen long enough to scream. These are the only two overtly sexual characters, and we see what happens to them in a matter of seconds.

The other women are background fuctionaries= telephone operator, Red Cross worker, etc. Audrey is lucky in that she's the only woman whose character has a name.

So on the surface, the message of BEGINNING OF THE END is about messing with nature and splitting atoms when they should be left alone. Yeah, yeah. But there's also a subtext about having sexual thoughts of any kind (five seconds later you're eaten alive by a giant grasshopper) and how a woman should stay in her place. The people who wrote this definitely don't agree that a woman's place is in the House...and in the Senate too. The film's sexual politics are way more outdated than its special effects.

When I first saw BEGINNING OF THE END, I was in junior high school and thought it was neat as could be. I remember seeing it at least twice. Even with the critters climbing on the sky. Hey, we figured this was a power the radiation had given them. Maybe its sexual politics and conformism went over my head then, or maybe I'm superimposing them because I took one too many film classes at University of Houston. As the ads for LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT reminded us, "Keep telling yourself, It's only a movie......"

Parents' note: This was long before the ratings code. Small children might be upset by it. It's in black and white and probably wouldn't hold their interest, and there aren't severed limbs or mangled corpses: it probably wouldn't upset any child ten or older. I was eleven when I saw it (twice) on the big screen and it didn't do me any noticable damage.

On a five scale, Pops gives BEGINNING OF THE END 3.5 isotopes.


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
On Svengoolie 7/13/2013...... kooljerk666
The only movie to even mention my hometown. Philtheguy
Best lines soxfan7
Detroit? jeffreyholmes
I really liked this movie alot noname1479
Wonder why they blocked the company name alanr4447a
Discuss Beginning of the End (1957) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?