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
This was one of the few American movies from the 1950s to place its credits at the end rather than at the beginning. See more »
When John, Ellen, and Pete return to the airfield in the helicopter, they have a brief conversation with rotor noise in the background; yet neither the main rotor shaft (behind them) nor the tail rotor are moving. See more »
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.
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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 »
Sci-Fit Thriller With Style, Good Acting and a Thoughtful Script
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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