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X the Unknown (1956)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | May 1957 (USA)
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0:31 | Trailer
A radioactive, mud-like creature terrorizes a Scottish village.

Directors:

Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey (uncredited)

Writers:

Jimmy Sangster (story), Jimmy Sangster (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dean Jagger ... Dr. Adam Royston
Edward Chapman ... John Elliott
Leo McKern ... Insp. 'Mac' McGill
Anthony Newley ... LCpl. 'Spider' Webb
Jameson Clark Jameson Clark ... Jack Harding
William Lucas ... Peter Elliott
Peter Hammond ... Lt. Bannerman
Marianne Brauns Marianne Brauns ... Zena, the Nurse
Ian MacNaughton Ian MacNaughton ... Haggis (as Ian McNaughton)
Michael Ripper ... Sgt. Harry Grimsdyke
John Harvey John Harvey ... Maj. Cartwright
Edwin Richfield ... Soldier Burned on Back
Jane Aird Jane Aird ... Vi Harding
Norman MacOwan Norman MacOwan ... Old Tom (as Norman Macowan)
Neil Hallett ... Unwin (as Neil Hallet)
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Storyline

British Army radiation drills at a remote Scottish base attract a subterranean, radioactive entity of unknown nature that vanishes, leaving two severely radiation-burned soldiers... and a "bottomless" crack in the earth. Others who meet the thing in the night suffer likewise, and with increasing severity; it seems to be able to "absorb" radiation from any source, growing bigger and bigger. What is it?? How do you destroy a thing that "feeds" on energy? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Can anything escape its terror? See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La incógnita X See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie began under the direction of Joseph Losey (working as Joseph Walton), exiled to England because of the Hollywood blacklist; however, when Dean Jagger arrived, he refused to work with a director he thought of as a Communist sympathizer, and Losey was replaced by Leslie Norman before shooting began. Losey's departure was publicly attributed to "illness". It has also been reported that Losey simply didn't want to make the film and left the project, to be replaced by Norman, who also didn't want to make the movie, but did anyway for the sake of work. See more »

Goofs

Lansing watches the stick sinking in a pool of liquid, but in a later long shot the stick in seen firmly standing in dry ground. See more »

Quotes

Peter Elliott: Is it safe?
Dr. Adam Royston: Unfortunately yes.
See more »

Connections

Featured in TJ and the All Night Theatre: X the Unknown (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 22: V. Finale: Allegro vivace
(uncredited)
Written by Antonín Dvorák
See more »

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User Reviews

Hard SF classic creepy from start to finish
24 December 2002 | by telepinus1525See all my reviews

Back in the days when "Prince Valiant" still covered most of a page in the Sunday funnies, I first saw this wonderfully creepy SF sleeper. From the opening scenes of a stretch of the Scottish moors opening up under a British soldier's feet, I was hooked. I was very lucky that my parents didn't send me to bed then(although they did right in the middle of "From Hell It Came", but that's another story); I was resolved to catch it again just to get that creepy feeling! The ominous P.O.V. shots of the "X" monster shambling through the barren woods at night, the outrageous "melting" death by hard radiation of the medical tech in the X-ray room, Dean Jagger as Dr. Royston, describing his new invention that can (theoretically) speed up decay of radioactive materials without causing flare-ups(!) simply by leeching away its' energy, and the film's creepy, near-ambiguous ending ("We did destroy it...didn't we?") showed just what you could--and can!--still do with a small budget and respect for the material.


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