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The Deadly Mantis (1957)

 -  Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi  -  May 1957 (USA)
4.6
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Ratings: 4.6/10 from 1,943 users  
Reviews: 63 user | 20 critic

A giant prehistoric praying mantis, recently freed from the Arctic ice, voraciously preys on American military at the DEW Line and works its way south.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Craig Stevens ...
Col. Joe Parkman
...
Dr. Nedrick (Ned) Jackson
Alix Talton ...
Marge Blaine
Donald Randolph ...
Maj. Gen. Mark Ford
Pat Conway ...
Sgt. Pete Allen
Florenz Ames ...
Prof. Anton Gunther
Paul Smith ...
Corporal
Phil Harvey ...
Lou
Floyd Simmons ...
Army Sergeant
Paul Campbell ...
Lt. Fred Pizar
Helen Jay ...
Mrs. Farley
Edit

Storyline

The calving of an Arctic iceberg releases a giant praying mantis, trapped in suspended animation since prehistoric times. It first attacks military outposts to eat their occupants, then makes its way to the warmer latitudes of Washington and New York. A paleontologist works together with military units to try to kill it. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Thousand Tons of Horror! From A Million Years Ago ... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Giant Mantis  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The footage showing the Eskimos fleeing from the mantis is actually from S.O.S. Eisberg (1933). See more »

Goofs

At one point the paleontologist is holding a block of amber. He says it contains a giant ant. But, as he rotates it in his hand you can clearly see it is a rhinoceros beetle. See more »

Quotes

[the officers are all staring at Marge]
Dr. Ned Jackson: It looks like you don't have too many women up here, Colonel.
Col. Joe Parkman: Well, we have a little joke up here. The boys say there's a girl behind every tree. Only try and find a tree.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

I Like This Movie!
18 May 2002 | by (Hollywood) – See all my reviews

Say you like this movie if you thought it wasn't a complete waste of your time. Seriously, folks, movies are largely just an assemblage of lies (including documentaries and biographies) strung together by some type of formulaic narrative strategy.

As Giant Monster Movies usually go, I've only two personal favorites: Japan's "War of the Gargantuas" and this one served up in the late '50s by America's Universal Studios.

This lie (In real life, even prehistoric dragonflies didn't get half as large as this cinematic 'creation') is told effectively enough; for its time, it must have seemed infinitely impressive.

So if you felt you had to say anything about DM, say enough good things about it as well...

Serviceable special effects, especially when we get close-ups of the titular Praying Mantis, peeping in windows and a roar to match its size and density. The monster has a special aversion to planes, trains and automobiles (all the miniature vehicles and sets met with my own personal 'satisfaction' standards).

The overall production is marred slightly by the film's initial 'public service message,' warning us that atomic energy is bad (Duh!), and its piddling knowledge about North American ground control (yadda, yadda, so what!), the story's most interesting moments are repeatedly slowed down by long stretches of non-activity (through the use of time filling dialog and scenes that take you 'nowhere' in particular).

In short, this would have made a fascinating half-hour production, with non-stop original thrills (Case in Point: the filmmakers in this one resisted showing a hyper-destructive opportunity when, as the flying monster alights on the Washington Monument, it doesn't destroy it; my guess is, it needed to rest its wings).

I must point out one error in DM: Although Mantis is supposed to be migrating due south, why is he heading north, from Washington, D.C. to New York City?

I found the ending satisfactory (Watch for the modest, yet interesting false alarm!).


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

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