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The Deadly Mantis (1957)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 26 May 1957 (USA)
Trailer
2:00 | Trailer
A giant prehistoric praying mantis, recently freed from the Arctic ice, voraciously preys on American military at the DEW Line and works its way south.

Director:

Nathan Juran

Writers:

Martin Berkeley (screenplay), William Alland (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Craig Stevens ... Col. Joe Parkman
William Hopper ... Dr. Nedrick Jackson
Alix Talton ... Marge Blaine
Donald Randolph Donald Randolph ... Maj. Gen. Mark Ford
Pat Conway ... Sgt. Pete Allen
Florenz Ames ... Prof. Anton Gunther
Paul Smith ... Corporal
Phil Harvey ... Lou
Floyd Simmons ... Army Sergeant
Paul Campbell Paul Campbell ... Lt. Fred Pizar
Helen Jay Helen Jay ... Mrs. Farley
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Storyline

The calving of an Arctic iceberg releases a giant praying mantis, trapped in suspended animation since prehistoric times. It first attacks military outposts to eat their occupants, then makes its way to the warmer latitudes of Washington and New York. A paleontologist works together with military units to try to kill it. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Out of a million years ago ... a thousand tons of horror! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 1:00 there is a sign reading: ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE ANACOSTIA, D.C. In reality Andrews Air Force Base is in Prince George's County, Maryland. See more »

Goofs

It is impossible for any creature the size of the mantis portrayed here to be capable of flying of it's own power for any distance at any speed, let alone for over 1000 miles at 200 miles an hour. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Ned Jackson: In all the kingdom of the living, there is no more deadly or voracious creature than the Preying Mantis.
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Connections

Featured in Svengoolie: The Deadly Mantis (2008) See more »

User Reviews

I Like This Movie!
18 May 2002 | by sampleman411-1See all my reviews

Say you like this movie if you thought it wasn't a complete waste of your time. Seriously, folks, movies are largely just an assemblage of lies (including documentaries and biographies) strung together by some type of formulaic narrative strategy.

As Giant Monster Movies usually go, I've only two personal favorites: Japan's "War of the Gargantuas" and this one served up in the late '50s by America's Universal Studios.

This lie (In real life, even prehistoric dragonflies didn't get half as large as this cinematic 'creation') is told effectively enough; for its time, it must have seemed infinitely impressive.

So if you felt you had to say anything about DM, say enough good things about it as well...

Serviceable special effects, especially when we get close-ups of the titular Praying Mantis, peeping in windows and a roar to match its size and density. The monster has a special aversion to planes, trains and automobiles (all the miniature vehicles and sets met with my own personal 'satisfaction' standards).

The overall production is marred slightly by the film's initial 'public service message,' warning us that atomic energy is bad (Duh!), and its piddling knowledge about North American ground control (yadda, yadda, so what!), the story's most interesting moments are repeatedly slowed down by long stretches of non-activity (through the use of time filling dialog and scenes that take you 'nowhere' in particular).

In short, this would have made a fascinating half-hour production, with non-stop original thrills (Case in Point: the filmmakers in this one resisted showing a hyper-destructive opportunity when, as the flying monster alights on the Washington Monument, it doesn't destroy it; my guess is, it needed to rest its wings).

I must point out one error in DM: Although Mantis is supposed to be migrating due south, why is he heading north, from Washington, D.C. to New York City?

I found the ending satisfactory (Watch for the modest, yet interesting false alarm!).


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 May 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Deadly Mantis See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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