Beginning of the End (1957) Poster

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6/10
scarieee movieee (at least when I was nine)
CarlNaamanBrown27 October 2005
Beginning of the End was one of the scariest movies I ever saw. I saw it at the age of nine at our local first-time A-flick theater, the State. When it ran at the second-run B-flick theater, the Rialto, I dragged my little brother Jeff to see it. He watched it from between the seats. We used to sit up and watch Shock Theater and we knew scary when we saw it.

What a lot of people miss today, is that the popular science magazines at the time "Beginning..." came out were full of speculation about using radiation to enhance crops and livestock, just like the experiments in Peter Grave's agricultural station in the movie. I also remember that Bert Gordon's earlier movie, King Dinosaur, came out after a close approach to earth by an asteroid was in the news. These movies were ripped fresh from the headlines.

Yes, the low budget values are low. There's the ponderous pseudoWagnerian Albert Glasser music Da-DUM-da-da-da-DA-DUM motif for reporter-driving-down-road, cop-driving-down-road, reporter-stopping-at-road-block, etc. We see the mountains of Illinois that look suspiciously like southern California (at least they did not use Bronson Canyon in this one (they didn't did they?).)

Yes, they do use the same stock footage three times for rear projection behind characters "driving" down the road, but, hey, they DO tint the stock footage for the nighttime driving scene.

But the woman reporter, Peggy Castle, is not only a good looker, but a strong woman who is treated as a equal by most of the men, who show her respect. She is a tough cookie like Beverly Garland in It Conquered the World. Not a typical 1950s bimbo or weak sister. I always thought Peggy Castle's character taught Peter Grave's character how to be a man.

And when Morris Ankrum is in uniform, you know however dicey the situation, right and good will triumph in the end. Even in the Beginning of the End.

This movie does have a message: if you park on a lonely road and engage in illicit teenage necking, you will be eaten by giant mutant grasshoppers.
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Big Bug Classic
Tommy-522 May 2005
This is one of the most enjoyable of the 1950s "big bug" movies. Filmed in 1957, in the middle of my favorite sci-fi era, this film enjoys a better than average cast than you would expect for B science fiction.

People begin to disappear in the surrounding communities outside Chicago. Photographer/journalist Audrey Aimes, portrayed by the lovely Peggy Castle, stops to visit Dr. Wainwright, the Dept. of Agriculture scientist who has used radiation on his plants to make them larger, only to discover that grasshoppers have feasted on them, thus making an army of giant sized locusts. This sounds pretty lame by today's standards but this was standard fare for 1950s science fiction, in the days when we were scared to death of having a nuclear weapon dropped on us and being taken over "from within."

After the discovery of what has happened and why, the rest of the story deals with what to do before the grasshoppers destroy Chicago. Fortunately for all, this did not happen. I won't give the ending away be will provide a hint: View 1963's Day of the Triffids.

Reviewers have not been kind to this film and perhaps rightfully so. However, within the context of the preposterous story and extremely limited budget, its not so bad. Beginning of the End starred Peter Graves, a sci-fi regular of that time in his pre-Mission: Impossible days and whose brother, James Arness, was riding high as Marshall Dillon in television's Gunsmoke. (You may recall that Arness starred in 1954's Them!, about huge ants terrorizing Los Angeles. This was the film that started the big bug craze). Peggy Castle was cool and calm as the female lead and was a forerunner of sorts to today's' strong woman in action films. And, this was yet another film of many whereas Morris Ankrum played a military general.

Special effects were not too good even for that era and are downright atrocious by the standards of today. We see grasshoppers walking upon photos of various places in Chicago and the super imposed shots are of very poor quality. The storyline stretches even the keenest imagination, as we are led to believe that Chicago can be 100% evacuated within 24 hours, and this with thousands of homeless refugees from the outlying communities camping out in the inner city!

Even so, Beginning of the End possesses the low budget charm that subsequent eras have not been able to duplicate. This is one of those films that is fun to watch and is the sole reason one should do so. Saturday night late is the best time. I like to view it alone and recall a far simpler time in my life and our world at large. At least, the times seemed simpler. Perhaps they were not and that may be what films such as these were all about.
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Gotta' Love It!
Bucs19605 August 2002
Bert I Gordon.....you gotta love this man. He was the maven of cheapo science fiction films in the 50's and gave us a lot of laughs and fun from his efforts. Don't get me wrong....I think his films are worth watching. There was always a message of some kind, albeit ludicrous and his "special effects" were of the superimposed, see-through type.....but still you get a kick out of viewing people running from oversized insects, amazing colossal men, etc. This film, like most during the 50's deals with mutation of some life form (here it's grasshoppers) into giant beasts who wreak havoc on the world.....in this case Chicago or postcards of Chicago as in the building climbing sequence at the finale. Peter Graves, who seemed to be stuck in this type of film for several years, does a serviceable job as the hero but probably wished he could be someplace else. Peggy Castle plays it straight as the gal pal and some other faces that we all know pop up in supporting roles. But it's the grasshoppers who steal the show.....crawling around on pictures, flying through the air and apparently eating people alive. We salute you, Bert I. Gordon!!! You made late night TV viewing worthwhile!
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7/10
Decent giant bug film
vtcavuoto6 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Beginning of the End" isn't at the top of the "giant something or other" films of it's time but has a certain charm. This time the giants are grasshoppers who are munching their way through the state of Illinois. The movie has an impressive list of great B-movie actors such as Morris Ankrum, Thomas Henry, Hank Patterson, Peter Graves and Peggy Castle. The grasshoppers ate some radioactive food by accident and started growing. They are drowned at the end by a sort of "Pied Piper" lure. The acting carries the film and the pace moves along nicely. The grasshoppers are a bit corny but still the film is enjoyable. If you're a fan of 1950s Sci-Fi/Horror films,it's one to check out.
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3/10
(you may be...) Begging for the End
mstomaso14 September 2006
Thank you Bert I Gordon for making films which nobody else (except maybe Roger Corman) would dare to make, and for making them so definitively that no one would ever dare to remake them.

The Beginning of the End actually has a promising beginning. It follows Audrey Aimes (Castle) a young woman reporter who runs into a military roadblock and begins snooping around by introducing herself to the operation's CO, who happens to have read some of her wartime coverage and is willing to cooperate to a point. Weird and inexplicable happenings have been reported in a nearby town (site of the roadblock). In fact, we discover, the entire town has been wiped out. When Audrey finally gets to briefly tour the site, we are shown some footage of tornado devastation which is supposed to be the result. Then she meets Peter Graves (playing Peter Graves playing an entomologist working with radioactive plants). there is a decent enough amount of back-story, and the characters are all likable and interesting, but then theatrical disaster strikes - in the form of a totally ludicrous plot.

Two words - giant grasshoppers. And they are split-screened (poorly) into stock footage or scraps from some heavily edited war movie. I .... just can't go ... on.

As the absurdities continue to unfold, you will be impressed by the absolute seriousness with which the cast portrays their characters, and positively blown away by the enormously long cinematographic (un)dramatic pauses as we watch hordes of soldiers marching by in different directions with nothing going on around them, giant out-of-focus grasshoppers climbing up postcards of skyscrapers and sometimes slipping on the glossy surface, and 1-2 minute-long fixed frame shots of cars approaching from miles away.

I love giant monster movies, but this is definitely not one of the better ones. Still, it's harmless, more intelligent than the average sex comedy and more relevant than the usual political campaign.
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5/10
Buggy
ctomvelu115 September 2012
The film that helped usher in Hollywood's giant bug craze, this isn't half-bad. Special effects are pathetic even for the time, but the story is gripping enough and the acting first-rate. Peter Graves plays a scientist working on food growth via radiation. Grasshoppers get at these plants and grow to the size of a bus. They find humans much tastier than their usual fare. They invade Chicago after tearing up the countryside, and it's a race to the finish to see whether anything can be done to stop them before the Army nukes Chicago. Morris "Colonel Fielding" Ankrum is a grumpy general, and Peggie Castle is a reporter investigating the story. Lots of fun. We never see the monsters actually come into contact with any of the humans they devour, but the closeup facial shots of various actors about to be eaten are priceless.
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7/10
Reporter finds true love and saves the world all in one day!
pei814718 January 2005
Beginning of the End (1957) When better to meet your new man than while saving the world from GIANT radioactive grasshoppers! That's what happened to Audrey Ames in "Beginning of the End". Audrey is a persistent reporter who is trying to get the scoop on a new story discovered on her way to a lackluster flying demonstration. On her way to the flying demo, she is stopped at a roadblock to a town that's been mysteriously destroyed! On a hunch, she visits a handsome entomologist named Dr Ed Wainwright. Little does she know that Dr Wainwright is the source of all the trouble in town! After much research, the Dr Ed and Audrey find the first attack site of the killer locust! A little too late for poor Frank Johnson, Dr Wainwright's assistant. Escaping from the locust appetite, the pair try move quickly to convince the army of the problem at hand. After several mistakes and delays, the army is preparing a final assault on the grasshoppers outside and in Chicago! The dilemma: an Atom bomb or a sketchy pied piper routine, which will save the day...

Beginning of the End is an amusing movie to watch! The acting is traditional of the sci fi movies of the era. The special effects are mediocre, but the humor in retrospect is delightful. After some research, I discovered this movie is a B movie attempt at recreating the success of "Them". The studio tried to save some money by using some special effect footage several times and didn't build miniatures to imitate the city. Apparently, the director even went as far as to hire the star of "Them"s brother to fulfill the lead roll of Beginning of the End. The science behind the story line is patchy at best. Several key mistakes were quoted by the scientist and army officers. If you are a fan of cheesy sci fi suspense movies, give this flick a try! You will not be disappointed. Who knows maybe you'll learn something that could save the world the next time we are attacked by radioactive BUGS!
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The Beginning of the End...already?
Oosterhartbabe29 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
(spoilers) One of the things that struck me about this stock stock footage-a-thon was the female reporter. She was at least ten steps up from the screaming bimbos who proliferated these films and only existed to lean helplessly against the big chested hero guys. True, she did end up doing some leaning on Graves, but she showed a lot more back bone and brains than say the reporter in The Giant Mantis. It was her idea for Graves to find a way to drive the badly rear projected 'giant' grasshoppers into Lake Michigan and thus save Chicago. It was she who discovered Graves and his lab in the first place, and thus made him realize that he'd unleashed a race of giant mutant grasshoppers on the world with his experiments in irradiated vegetation. She had been a photojournalist through two wars, and she stayed to the bitter end with Graves(even though she must have been terrified when the normal size grasshoppers started climbing a post card of the building in Chicago that she was actually in). Not once did I see her scream shrilly, even when the grasshoppers appeared and started eating soldiers. She remained cool under fire, and she got her story. And because Graves can't quite pull off the smug smarminess of John Agar and his ilk, their romance wasn't nearly so vomit inducing as usual. I think my favorite part of the movie is when Graves' scientist character tells the General that he feels at least 'partly' responsible for the giant people-eating grasshoppers. Hello! Earth to Mr. Graves! You are WHOLLY responsible, idiot! My second favorite part is the post card climbing scene, and the tiny pool that the normal size grasshoppers are swimming in that's supposed to be Lake Michigan. Gee..Somehow I got the impression that the Lake is a little bit bigger than that. But then, there are mountains in Illinois, right? Bert I. sure knew what he was doin', all right.
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4/10
Good, Cheap Fun
gavin694223 March 2014
Audrey Ames (Peggie Castle), an enterprising journalist, tries to get the scoop on giant grasshoppers accidentally created at the Illinois State experimental farm. She endeavors to save Chicago, despite a military cover-up.

Whether or not you will enjoy this film comes down to whether or not you are ready for good, cheap fun. Yes, the effects are not that amazing and in some cases are incredibly fake. The acting is nothing special, and there are some scenes that are most likely stock footage. But this is a fun, popcorn-eating film! Director Bert Gordon (a Wisconsin native) had his special niche, and he deserves more credit than he usually gets. Maybe some day we will see a nice box set of his work...
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9/10
Hopping Good Fun
ClassixFan31 July 2002
Bert I Gordon has given the classic sci-fi and horror community plenty to enjoy and that doesn't mean that Mr BIG's films are going to win any Academy awards, but they certainly entertain and isn't that why most of us watch films? Stars Peter Graves, Peggie Castle amd Morris Ankrum take a back seat to mutated grasshoppers in this classic from 1957. Personally, I skip the MST3K version of the film, the original version is much more fun and entertaining on it's own.
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Another Them Ripoff
Sargebri22 October 2002
This is another in the long line of movies that dared to make a fast buck by ripping off a classic. This was made by the master of cheap giant monster movies, Burt I. Gordon. Instead of ants, the basic premise of this film is what would happen if grasshoppers were irradiated. Also, the scene where the locusts climb the tall buildings is probably the most pathetic thing about this junk. If you look closely, you will see the the "buildings" are actually pictures of buildings. Apparently, Gordon was too cheep to hire someone to build miniatures, which probably would have made it look at least a little better. This film is so much of a imitation of "Them" it's pathetic. Gordon wanted to copy that classic so much that he even went and hired Peter Graves, whose brother James Arness starred in "Them". I only look at this movie to laugh at the cheap effects and the bad acting.
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8/10
Fiction is Stranger than Truth
twanurit3 April 2003
Peggie Castle portrays a Brenda Starr-style reporter investigating the wipe-out of a small suburban town outside Chicago. The military won't reveal information, so she winds up at an entomologist's compound, headed by Peter Graves. His nutrients have created super vegetables, for world hunger, but with horrific repercussions. The first appearance of a gigantic locust is frightening, aided by excellent Albert Glasser music, shrill insect sounds and competent special effects (real bugs magnified via rear projection and/or mattes). The acting is all polished by Graves, Castle, perennial favorite Morris Ankrum (as a general, again), others. Military stock footage is seamlessly interwoven into the battle scenes. The Special Edition DVD print is beautiful (skip the shoddy Mystery Science Theater version - I HATE MST, they ridicule good pictures), looking like a new film, shimmering black and white photography, properly framed at 1:66 to 1, eliminating any grasshoppers crawling outside a skyscraper into the sky. 73 minute running time works wonders, without bloated padding and gratuitous violence. It moves efficiently and competently, thanks to director Bert I. Gordon and the rest of the crew.
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2/10
Beginning of a boring movie.
Aaron13751 October 2001
This movie starts slow, goes at a slow pace, and finally ends slow. This movie is about giant locast that are overrunning Chicago. As interesting as this sounds, it isn't. Most of the film is watching grasshoppers that are super imposed on the background just run around. I don't mind using this technique, and I understand why they do back in the 50's, but couldn't they build something. A pincher, anything. Never is a person near one of these killer grasshoppers, at least build part of one and show someone being scooped up. And they are not very consistent on how easy this things are killed. In some scenes the grasshoppers die from regular machine gun fire, the next they can withstand tanks. The only saving grace to the film is actor Peter Graves.
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6/10
BEGINNING OF THE END (Bert I. Gordon, 1957) **1/2
Bunuel197623 January 2010
This was much better than Leonard Maltin's *1/2 rating would suggest: in fact, the unflattering comments in his book (where it is described as "awful"!) pretty much kept me from acquiring the now-OOP Image DVD (complete with Audio Commentary track). Also, watching this hot on the heels of Gordon's other giant insect flick EARTH VS THE SPIDER (1958), I realize he was not always aiming squarely at the exploitation market – for this is as intelligent, indeed persuasive, as they come (knowing the devastation left in the wake of locust plagues, imagine just what would happen if it were to be magnified). Pity, then, that the evident low-budget cramped the overall effort: this is especially true during the climax, where it is obvious the grasshoppers are only normal size and the tall buildings either models or, worse, no more than blown-up photographs! Likewise, the monsters' come-uppance is somewhat rushed: hell, even my mother who came in halfway through and stayed to watch (often commenting aloud on the action as is her amiably irritating habit!) expected the film to end on a shot of the river covered with dead insects so as to stress their annihilation…but there was none!! The small cast is led by likable Peter Graves and lovely Peggie Castle (overcoming the annoying connotations of the obligatory intrepid female reporter part); the most notable supporting characters, then, are Graves' assistant – rendered a deaf-mute by radiation and who naturally is soon made to expire at the hands of the grasshoppers – and the elderly General who, in a desperate attempt to stall the insects' march, is even willing to throw an A-bomb over Chicago!
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A nice little gem from Mr B.I.G.
chris_gaskin1233 July 2002
Bert I Gordon (Mr B.I.G.) had already enlarged people and lizards before making Beginning of the End. Here, he enlarged real grasshoppers for the special effects instead of models or stop-motion.

Atomic testing on plants results in giant grasshoppers making for Chicago and the army trying to stop them. After going on the rampage in the country, killing several people in the process, they set their sites on the 'Windy City'. They climb buildings before drowning as a result of a high pitched sound which was invented to attract them.

This movie stars 50's sci-fi regulars Peter Graves (It Conquered the World) and Morris Ankrum (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Flight To Mars). Peggie Castle plays the main female lead and love interest. All play good parts and the score in this movie is quite good.

I found this movie enjoyable despite the low budget. Watch it if you get the chance.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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What?... WHAT???
Mike Sh.11 August 2000
Sorry, it's a bit hard to hear myself think over that loud blaring music.

Another opus from Bert I. Gordon (of "Amazing Colossal Man" fame), this was one pretty much cut from the same bolt: huge creatures mutated by atomic radiation, really cheesy special effects (even by '50's sci-fi movie standards), loud pompous music, handsome dashing hero, pert, perky blonde heroine, etc.

This movie may not have Glenn Langan (or even William Hudson for that matter), it does have Peter Graves, which more than makes up for any Glennlessness. (Both movies have Hank Patterson, by the way).

Overall, this is an OK movie, given its time and genre; the really bad special effects previously alluded to will make you smile, and the mellow take-charge presence of Peter Graves will leave you feeling warm and secure - sort like you used to when you fel asleep in the back seat of you parents' car on long trips while Mom and Dad sat up front, taking care of everything.

Aaaahhhhh, now if they'd only turn down that music.
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6/10
A Plague Upon You!
rmax3048231 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There's a scene near the beginning in which reporter Peggy Castle visits Army headquarters. We watch her drive up to an office building, park the convertible, step out of it, walk up the steps, open the door, and walk through it. Cut.

Ordinary, yes, but what makes it interesting is that this is a B movie shot on a small budget and coming towards the end of the Big Bug cycle. A typical B director wouldn't bother shooting the scene. Suppose Peggy Castle tripped getting out of the car? Suppose she showed too much leg? Suppose the door to the building was stuck? They'd have to do a retake and that costs money. No, in a really cheap B movie, Peggy Castle would tell someone that she's going to Army headquarters, there would be a dissolve, and she'd be talking to a general.

By a commodius vicus of recirculation, all blockbusting A-budget action movies have reached the same tiptoptoloftical ergonomic peak as the cheap features of yesteryear. Somebody directing a thirty-million-dollar movie today wouldn't shoot that transitional scene either. Not because of budget constraints but because the fourteen-year-old brains in the audience might be bored by it, their attention span being limited to two seconds. They might squirm and fidget and throw JuJuBees at each other, and they might tell their friends the movie was dull. There are shekels involved at both ends of the business -- making and marketing.

I now step down off this orator's platform. Please keep the cameras rolling. Somebody give me a hand; I'm suffering from a crippling case of nostalgia. Thank you.

The movie itself follows such a familiar path that it's hardly worth detailing. An incident at an agricultural station involving locusts eating some radioactive material leads to the expected results. Giant bugs. Entomologist Peter Graves and his soon-to-be girlfriend, Peggy Castle, who lends an enchanting whistle to her sibilants, discover a horde of mammoth locusts who make loud noises like the giant ants in "Them". Naturally no one believes them. The National Guard slough their stories off with a chuckle. The doubtful general investigates and the locusts attack him and his men. He gets away with his life but it was a close call, I can tell you.

These gargantuan grasshoppers are interesting creatures. They're always shown in blown-up rear projection or other trickery because I suppose the budget might have allowed Peggy Castle to park her car but there wasn't room for both the car and even a disembodied locust head of the proper giant size. Peter Graves shows the military a movie of locusts while he describes how terrible they are. I didn't know they could be carnivorous, but I guess I can believe it because I've watched crickets eat flies, and a more disgusting sight you've never seen. I had no idea they could grow to the size of an earth mover though. I guess my high school biology teacher was lying when he taught us about book lungs.

Peter Graves, like his brother, James Arness, is likable enough -- tall and handsome. Peggy Castle is alluring but those 1957 hair styles did nobody any favors. I'm not sure Morris Ankrum ever missed a science-fiction movie. You'll recognize him at once. The director must have spent all his energy on that car-parking scene because the rest of the movie lacks any distinction. Oh, except for Graves' entomologist. The credits list him as "Doctor Ed Wainwright. That's apposite enough but everyone calls him "Mister Wainwright", a departure from the norm. Usually PhDs call each other "doctor" in these movies.

Does Dr. Wainwright manage to save Chicago from the plague of locusts, or does the Air Force have to bomb the city flat? The answer is they have to use the atomic bomb and destroy Chicago but it doesn't work and they have to go on to bomb New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, St. Louis, London, Moscow, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and East Quoddy, Maine.
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When a Can of Raid Just Won't Do
dougdoepke18 July 2013
Hordes of mutant grasshoppers menace photographs of downtown Chicago.

Now if termites had been the menace instead of garden variety grasshoppers, my rear-end might not have ached at the end. Okay, this drive-in special was never intended as Oscar bait. In fact, it hardly makes it as camp, what with all the needless travel time padding the 70-minutes. But you've got to hand it to Graves and Castle who give it their Z-movie all. Then there're those two lordly icons of 50's sci-fi together at last—Ankrum and Browne. No matter how bad the material, they always keep a straight face and stay employed. But come on producer-director Gordon, couldn't you have shown one of those awful scary grasshoppers devouring at least one guy. That way, we could at least have had an 'ick' factor. Otherwise, I kept wondering where the army kept their cans of Raid. As I recall, I was in the back of my teenage Chevy with a six-pack when I first sat through this special. On second viewing, I should have gotten a twelve-pack.
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6/10
Will Chicago Be Saved?
bkoganbing18 August 2012
In the Fifties before he got into Fury and then Mission Impossible Peter Graves was the king of science fiction. Some good, some incredibly bad. He did four films that could be classified in that genre, Red Planet Mars, It Conquered The Earth, Killers From Space, and the last one The Beginning Of The End. The last might arguably be regarded as the best of them.

The town of Ludlow, Illinois overnight has its population vanish and its population disappears. A big security blanket is tossed over the situation, but Peggie Castle who is a Lois Lane type reporter discovers the source of the story. Castle is actually the best one in the cast besides those overdeveloped grasshoppers. She's beautiful, determined, and incredibly smart in pursuing her investigative reporting.

Her trail leads to a Department of Agriculture station where Peter Graves is a scientist trying to grow big fruit and vegetables not unlike Captain Nemo in Mysterious Island. And like Mysterious Island, some of the animal life get big too. In this case it's some grasshoppers who feast on some atomic isotopes and develop like the ants in Them.

The Beginning Of The End is a cheaply made science fiction film, but I rather like it. Mankind is really at a loss to stop these things unless Graves finds a way. Otherwise the locusts who have overrun Chicago may have Chicago blown up with them if Ike gives the OK for a nuclear bomb on an evacuated city.

Will Chicago be saved? You have to watch The Beginning Of The End to find out
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1/10
Giant Grasshoppers Attack, and They're Hopping Mad!!! :=8o
MooCowMo14 December 1999
Yes, tired of being covered in chocolate, or turned into snooty mixed drinks, and aided by RADIATION, a swarm (well, 5 or 6) of grasshoppers, thirsting for revenge, becomes the latest giant bug moovie of the 50's. Director Bert I. Gordon seems to have a fixation on giant things - he also directed such feeble classics as "The Amazing Colossal Man", "Villlage of the Giants", and "Empire of the Ants". "Beginning of the End" was his first real BIG moovie, and it serves as a harbinger for all things Gordon to come. Peter Graves("Killers from Space", "It Conquered the World", Mission Impossible tv series) is a bug scientist who discovers that giant critters are ettin' up the local population, and figures out a sex call to drive them all into Lake Michigan. First, cowever, the giant hoppers get to swarm all over Chicago, or at least photographs of buildings. Yes, as expected, the poor fx are pretty laughable: they're just regular grasshoppers superimposed against photographs to make them LOOK giant(sort of...). Sometimes the grasshoppers, not known for their method acting, would wander off the building photographs, thus spoiling the effect. It is fun to watch soldiers machine-gunning the giant locusts off the fake buildings. Schlock-fans will also notice Peggy Castle("Invasion USA", "Cow Country")as Audrey Aimes, the erstwhile Brenda Starr-type female reporter with a nose for giant bug news. The always-present Morris Ankrum("Red Planet Mars","Invaders from Mars", "The Giant Claw") plays the overwhelmed General, who has to look serious as he fights a bunch of bugs. Ironically, Ankrum want to nuke the bugs when it was RADIATION that made the bugs in the first place. :=8/ Yes, mankind has tampered where he should not yet again, but there's always one last resourceful hero to save the day - this is the sort of easy formulaic theme that was literally beaten to death during the 50's, 60's, and even into the 70's & 80's. Of course, even though there is tons of leafy green material around, the grasshoppers immediately want to munch on humans(or else there'd be no film), hence the revenge factor. Cud The giant tomatoes in Peter Graves' lab be a foreshadow for giant tomatoes to come?? ;=8) The herd loved the car-phone Peggy Castle uses - were such things available in the 50's?? The MooCow says this 50's classic monster-fest is mooost-viewing for all horror fans because there are sooo many chuckles within. Munch on a huge salad and enjoy! ;=8)
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Chicago, Chicago...That Toddlin..I mean Hoppin Town!
BaronBl00d30 May 2001
Dateline: Ludlow, Illinois is ravaged by a swarm of giant mutant, radio-active locusts who kill, devour, and eliminate plant and animal life (yep, that includes humans) on their way to Chicago and then the world. What can stop them? Only scientist Peter Graves, busty reporter Peggy Castle, and that military man of so many sci-fi films of the 50's, Morris Ankrum. This film was directed by Bert I Gordon, and as far as giant mutant creatures go it is definitely one of the lesser efforts. The film has no special effects at all to boast about as the grasshoppers are real and magnified and projected into scenes. Although it has some suitable moments, this technology(for lack of a better word) really suffers in the film's finale and makes the film look like what it is...a very cheaply-made film. The film follows the format of other giant insect films like Them! and Tarantula, but is not in the same class of either of them. The script is leaden, the acting mediocre at best, and the music annoying. Notwithstanding all of this, the film does have its moments and was overall entertaining. Some highlights are moments that are so ridiculous as to be funny, such as when deaf scientist Frank is killed. A real hoot of a scene! If you are looking for intelligent sci-fi, you might want to stay away from this film or it might make you "hoppin" mad.
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10/10
THIS FILM WAS SHOT IN "the valley", NOT IN ILL.!!
generalz-11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
May I proceed!!?? If you review the "image Entertainment"/"Peter Rogers Organization" -"Special Edition, in the "commentary format of the movie; one of the daughters, of "Bert I Gordon", states that the movie was shot in "the valley"!! Do you really care what "Leonard" thinks??? I really enjoyed the movie then, and when I view it, from time to time, I still enjoy it!! "imdb", DO YOU AGREE?? In the commentary format of the movie, i enjoyed the "quirky" sense of humor, of the commentator! In the beginning, I rebelled against "commentaries", I saw them as an "intrusion", to be avoided!! Now my attitude is completely different. I look for them!! This is a damn good!! movie!!
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7/10
Two Words Peter Graves
juliankennedy2321 November 2018
Beginning of the End: 7 out of 10: Giant Grasshoppers threaten Chicago as a lady photographer and a scientist who specializes in giant radioactive vegetables try to convince the army of the threat.

The Good: Good lord this movie is great. Is it as good as Them? Well no of course not. That is a legitimately scary movie. Beginning of the End would have a hard time scaring anyone who has figured out object permanence.

Okay, so this isn't scary. The action scenes consist mostly of stock footage and grasshoppers crawling over postcards (No I am not exaggerating nor making that up). The key to this film is two words. Peter Graves.

This simply would fall apart without Mr. Graves at the helm. The other acting is actually quite solid but Peter brings it to a new level. He and the script are so serious while giant grasshoppers wander down Wacker street and climb the buildings it is incredible. This movie is all about seriousness and science. It plays such a ridiculous story so straight that it simply becomes entertaining in its own right.

Also bonus points for the lady photographer having an honest to goodness car phone in the middle of a black and white fifties film.

The Bad: Did I mention the grasshoppers crawling over actual postcards?

The Ugly: The filmmakers started out with over two hundred grasshoppers. Due to rampant cannibalism amoung the insect actors, they were left with only eight for the big finale.

Despite looking every inch of a man that was about to lead the Wehrmacht into Leningrad Peter Graves really carries this movie. A guilty pleasure and a delight of that super serious science-based sci-fi that the fifties did so well.
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10/10
Great Special Effects indeed ...
dweilermg-15 July 2018
* Back in 1950s there was no CGI or other computer technology for special effects so producers had to be creative. The scene where giant grasshoppers are crawling up the Wrigley Building was done by have real grasshoppers walk across an 8 by 10 photograph of Wrigley Building lying on a table and photographed close-up. Brilliant indeed.
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6/10
A Hopping Good Time!
Hitchcoc23 June 2015
The movie starts out with a couple of "out of control" teenagers necking in a car. Of course, for their horrid behavior (by 1950's standards), they end up being eaten by a grasshopper. Don't you hate when that happens. We find out that an entire town has been decimated and all the residents nowhere to be seen. Peter Graves has been experimenting with a radio-active plant supplement (like in "Tarantula") and is growing tomatoes and strawberries to enormous sizes. For the time being, they are inedible. For the time being, no one puts two and two together. An attractive reporter talks Peter and his deaf/mute assistant (done in by radioactivity) to the scene of a destroyed warehouse where tons of grain was stored. Well, the poor disabled guy gets eaten by a grasshopper. Now they need to convince the army guys that these bugs are around and find a way to stop them. This is a nicely set up monster movie. What pretty much diminishes it are the lousy special effects. The grasshoppers are nothing like the backgrounds, so they are obviously superimposed. At times we can actually see through them. It's also hard to figure out how big they are. Anyway, when they appear it begins to be laughable. Also, a lot of soldiers must have gone home after the war because the guys in this movie are utterly incompetent. Graves also runs the gamut of emotions from A to B. I get a kick out of this movie, but my standards aren't that high.
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