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THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD


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Just got thru watching this terrific thriller. Terrific because of the well-conceived creature. One of the best! So good is the horrific appearance of the creature that it compensates for alotta the film's weaknesses. Love this film. I first saw it around 1970 at a late nite hour on WOR-TV Channel 9 out of NYC. Back then TV Guide would classify these low-budget monster flicks as melodrama. These unforgettable prehistoric mollusk monsters deserve a lot more attention then they have been given by critics and film historians. For instance, we know all about the creature from the black lagoon. In the water he was played by Ricou Browning and on land by Ben Chapman. But what do we know about these wonderfully conceptionalized horrific-looking prehistoric mollusks? Near nothing. All these low-budget Arthur Gardner-Jules V. Levy efforts deserve tremendous respect and more than a modicum of film research. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3273/5875455281_c5fb7a6438_z.jpg http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lgy7vc4LNE1qa70eyo1_500.jpg http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-a8l5maZSYhE/UJX-0oWuf7I/AAAAAAAAHLc/97xjUdzrozA/s1600/cheesecake.jpg http://www.moviemonstermuseum.com/autographs/monsterThatChallTheWorld.jpg

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Yeah well, it was low-budget items like this that most true american lifelong couch potatoes slash space cadets like myself were cutting our teeth on and not Dr. Strangelove or 2001: a space odyssey. I thrilled to George Pal's War of the Worlds back in 1969 when it debuted on abc. A couple of you sound like you're mocking this. Why? Of course the effects and creature were limited. It was 1957. But to just dismiss the well-designed monster. Take the design of the shell. These creatures are suppose to be prehistoric gastropods and the design of the creatures' shell is very much in accordance with the appearance of fossils. What about the animatronic mock-up constructed for this movie. Why isn't that historically significant cinematically speaking given the popularitry of this movie and 1950s sci-fi movies in general?

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> {quote:title=FlyBackTransformer wrote:}{quote} I thrilled to George Pal's War of the Worlds back in 1969 when it debuted on abc.

 

Just for the record, it premiered on NBC on February 21, 1967.

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To be sure, the film has a problem or two here and there. Somebody intimated it should have been called The Monster That Caused a Ruckus in The Imperial Valley. :D Doctor Rogers' (Hans Conried) assertion that the "kraken" as he calls them bears some resemblance to some snail footage is silly as there is none. And the stuff about the kraken being an ancestor to modern snails makes no sense. Fossilized snail shells do bear a strong resemblance to the monsters shell in this movie. From early on Twillinger, Rogers' and all associated party's focus does seem to be on the complete destruction of these lethal mollusks but what is missing here is any paleontogic interest in the prehistoric origins of the monsters. Some admiral enquires of Rogers "What caused them, doctor? Where did they come from?" to which Rogers answers "We don't know. We can only guess" then Rogers refers to the Life magazine article on dormant shrimp. Alotta weaknesses overcome by the horrific looking thing. Also of note is Rogers' lead diver Johns played by Casey Adams who would go on to become Max Showalter. I always thought he was suitably Jack Webb-ish and tough as nails as a cop in Jack Pollexfen's The Indestructible Man with Lon Chaney Jr.

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It's possible that ABC played it later, but I can clearly recall the dates of NBC's two airings. The first one in February of 1967 occurred on a friend's birthday, so since his father was working the night shift, we had our first beer party (he was only 16) and watched the film on his color TV. He was one of the few in our circle that had one.

 

The next time it aired, was on August 22, 1967. Back to the same friend's house, but this time while we partied, we watched the movie on his color set, and on his little B&W set, we watched the first half of the final episode of THE FUGITIVE.

 

I guess that we would have been called nerds if that word had entered the language at the time.

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