And there are those films which maybe didn’t achieve cinematic greatness, but through their inexhaustible watchability became genre touchstones, lesser classics but classics nonetheless, like The War of the Worlds (1953), Godzilla (1954), Them! (1954), The Time Machine (1960).
In the realm of science fiction cinema, those are the cream (and below that, maybe the half and half). But sci fi is one of those genres which has often too readily leant itself to – not to torture an analogy — producing nonfat dairy substitute.
During the first, great wave of sci fi movies in the 1950s, the target audience was kids and teens. There wasn’t a lot in the way of “serious” sci fi. Most of it was churned out quick and cheap; drive-in fodder, grist for the Saturday matinee mill.
By the early 1960s,