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Working for O.S.I., the Office of Scientific Investigation, A-Man agent Jeffrey Stewart and his partner Dan Forbes are sent to a local hardware store where they find a strong magnetic field has magnetized every metal item in the store. Investigating further, they eventually trace the source of the magnetism to an airborn flight carrying scientist Howard Denker, now dying of radiation poisoning, who has carted on board with him a new radioactive element which he has bombarded with alpha particles for 200 hours. The element, dubbed 'serranium' grows geometrically by creating matter out of energy which it absorbs from metallic objects surrounding it. Stewart calculates that if the substance is not destroyed soon that within 24 hours or so it will have grown large enough to throw Earth out of its orbit.Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The jet fighter shown as transporting the "magnetic monster" was a Lockheed "Shooting Star" T-33 two-seat pilot training aircraft. See more »
In the early scene in the hardware store, when the scientists toss washers up to the ceiling to determine a magnetic source, the the washers roll and spin before settling on the ceiling, just as some coins would do so if dropped on the floor. A magnetic force strong enough to magnetize much heavier objects in the store would have pulled the washers directly to the ceiling without the extraneous movement. See more »
It's hungry! It has to be fed constantly - or it will reach out its magnetic arm and grab at anything within its reach and kill it. It's monstrous, Stewart, monstrous. It grows bigger and bigger!
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Something a little different for devotees of 1950s science fiction.
Our heroes in this yarn work for the O.S.I. That's the Office of Scientific Investigation. And their latest case is pretty staggering: looking into the incident of magnetized items in a hardware store, they discover something unexpected upstairs. It's a laboratory, in which a mad scientist, Dr. Denker (Leonard Mudie), had developed a radioactive element. Of course, now this element is unstable and could cause problems for many Americans if guys like Jeffrey Stewart (Richard Carlson) and his associate Dan Forbes (King Donovan) don't do something about it.
"The Magnetic Monster" won't be to everyones' taste. This is due to depending more on talk than action for its impact, and relatively little spectacle. (Even a key explosion is only mentioned rather than shown.) It IS pretty intelligent, offering a scenario (concocted by producer Ivan Tors and director Curt Siodmak) with an unusual and interesting "monster". The screenplay does offer convincing dialogue centered around science fact more than fantastical science fiction. Siodmak directs in a matter of fact, no nonsense style that helps to sell the realism of the story. There are some scenes of domestic bliss with Stewart and his pregnant wife Connie (Jean Byron) that do interrupt the flow of things, but there aren't an excessive amount of them. The big action climax actually consists of stock footage lifted from a 1930s German sci-fi feature titled "Gold".
There's a fair amount of recognizable actors in this earnest and rock solid cast. Good work by Carlson and Donovan is supplemented by fine performances by people like Harry Ellerbe, Leo Britt, Byron Foulger, Roy Engel, Frank Gerstle, William 'Billy' Benedict, Kathleen Freeman, and Strother Martin.
Fairly enjoyable overall. Tors' O.S.I. trilogy also consists of "Riders to the Star" and "Gog".
Six out of 10.
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