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Best SciFi Film of the 1950's ???


zeker427

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My vote goes to The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) as one of the most intelligent, well-thought out films of this decade. Does anyone agree or possibly offer up other choices that may deserving of this status? This was truly a landmark film, but there were many other good ones as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes I too love TDTESS. I don't know if some of the younger watchers know that the film made extensive use of actual reporters,such as Gabriel Heater and Drew Pearson, thus adding to the realism of the film. Note the symbolic name Klatuu took. : "Mr Carpenter". A clear reference to a certain fellow from Galilee. Another great one is "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" directed by Don Siegel who later gained fame by directing the "Dirty Harry" films. In the film , Dr. Miles Bennel treats a large number of people from his little town of Santa Mira Ca. who claim that " My uncle's not my uncle." We also see a little boy who is terrified of his mother. When Miles gets a call from a freind he finds that the man has discovered a seed pod that has a "blank" human growing inside it, he examines it and it gradually starts to take on the freinds physical attributes and the fun begins. It's hard to watch this film and not be very creeped out. Another goodie is George Pal's "War of the Worlds" about a Martian invasion. I've seen this a dozen times but just recently caught something that I somehow missed before. After L.A. has been evacuated in the wake of the invaders there is looting and fighting as the town is being destroyed by the Martians. In a shot taken from behind , we see 2 looters crash thru the shop window and I noticed they are carring rolls of FABRIC!!! Were they 2 interior designers who couldn't resist taking some free sofa covering?! When I realized who ludicrous this idea was plus the fact I had never caugt it before I just roared till I was wiping my eyes!

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No question my favorite is "War of the Worlds". Maybe the effects are a little dated today, but it was state of the art back then it still holds up today. Interesting comment about the two looters stealing rolls of fabric. I'll have to get out the DVD and have a look.

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While the word "best" doesn't describe my feelings about "This Island Earth" starring Rex Reason and Jeff Morrow it is nonetheless a real hoot. This film which inspired the SNL sketch "The Coneheads", has "The Heroic Young Scientist" played by Reason being recruited by a mysterious group of researchers. While Rex and a few others are suspiciuos of the group's motives, no one seems to notice that the leaders all are over six feet tall, have enormous bulging foreheads, silver hair, and names like "Brak" and "Exeter". I keep expecting Exeter to explain "Yes, we are from Remulak, a small town in France".Also noteworthy is Russel Johnson's appearance as-what else?.... a professor.

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One of my all-time favorite delights is to curl up in bed on a rainy afternoon and watch a doubleheader that consists of the origianal, "The Thing" (1950) and the John Carpenter l984 remake, "The Thing." Both are equally good in their own way. The old one has great atmosphere while the new one is gloriously gory and scary. The same goes for both versions of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." The Carpenter DVD, by the way, has fantastic extras--a "Making of..." interviews with much of the cast, story-boards, deleted scenes, etc. You can watch it for hours.

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Paty: while both films are based on John Cambell's novella; "Who goes there?", neither one embraces the whole story. But, they complement each other so well as you have found, because taken TOGETHER they faithfully tell the complete tale. In the novella,the "Thing" who rampages thru camp as shown in the first version, is later found, after his apparent death, to be a shape-shifter and telepathic: the second film.

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I sure learned a few things about these films thanks to the quality content of the replies. I'd like to make mention of another first-rate film called Them (1954). The fact that our own atomic tests in the desert produced a giant species of ant was a great premise. This film's success spawned many imitations like Tarantula (1955), The Deadly Mantis (1957), The Black Scorpion (1959), and The Beginning of the End (1957). However, Them remains a cut above the rest.

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"Them" yet another favorite. Note Edmund Gwenn "Miracle on 34th St's" Santa as the senior Dr, Medford and a pre- "Davy Crockett" Fess Parker as Crotty, the pilot who crash lands after seeing a giant flying ant. And check out Leonard Nimoy's one-line appearance as the soldier who says "When bigger tales are told Texans will tell 'em." I love it when the old drunk thinks he is being drafted and sings: "Make me a sgt in charge of the booze!" But, my favorite line is when the manager of a rail depot who has been asked questions about the destruction of a box car full of sugar asks James Whitmore about why FBI agent Graham (James Arness)is so interested in the theft of sugar. Whitmore dead pans him: " He's got a sweet tooth."

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Also from the 50's: "Forbidden Planet" with a pre-silly Leslie Nielson, Anne Francis, Earl Holleman, and Walter Pigeon who perform Shakespear's "The Tempest" on the Planet Altair4. Top notch! And "When World's Collide", another Geo. Pal film. (which beat "Armageddon" to the punch by 50 yrs). And catch "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" on TCM's Harryhausen fest. The destruction of Washington D.C. alone is worth the price of admission.

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  • 1 year later...

great pix ! also see the ultra campy "Attack of the Mole People", remember the eye of Ishtar?

and the sparlly fringed headdress?

 

very cool

class struggle etc...with heavenly but largely untalented Mr shirley temple,....uh... John Agar,

bless his soul

what a cool film...

let me know if you see it

 

ps i like armageddon alot so now i have to review

when worlds collide....

is that the one with the folks in the brown sweatshirt

spacesuits? and the 30 degree angle launch pad?

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> My vote goes to The Day the Earth Stood Still

> (1951) as one of the most intelligent, well-thought

> out films of this decade. Does anyone agree or

> possibly offer up other choices that may deserving of

> this status? This was truly a landmark film, but

> there were many other good ones as well.

 

 

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i get the the Mr Carpenter reference and the resurrection to boot...

catch me up on the

connection between

miles b, my uncle's not my uncle, and dirty harry?

what am i missing?

 

what do you think about the green mile, JC (john coffey?)

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  • 5 weeks later...

I'd have to vote for TDTEST as best overall, but with honorable mention to WOTW (first movie I ever saw, bout 5 years old, theatre was packed, so I had to sit in the first or second row, got sick when I got home), original The Thing (sorry, the remake just doesn't do it for me), and the orignal Body Snatchers (ditto).

 

To me IOTBS has the most horrifying ending of any movie I've ever seen. I don't generally like horror films, but in the category "sci fi and horror in same movie" I'd have to put IOTBS first, hands down.

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  • 5 months later...

Here are some titles I saw in NY at film gatherings and I still love em

 

WORLD WITHOUT END Allied Artists Widescreen with Hugh Marlowe and Rod Taylor

RIDERS TO THE STARS with Richard Carlson

MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR Roger Corman 1954

ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS Allied Artists 1957

FIVE Arch Obler film 1951

GOG in 3D United Artists 1953

and many more. Hope TCM decides to run them.

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I have just recently been reading some very interesting reviews on Arch Obler's film "Five". It doesn't appear to be available on VHS or DVD. How did the film look to at the festival? Do you know of any other venues it may be playing at anytime soon?

 

Thanks

 

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Not really. Of course there are the usual pirate sources that used old high contrast 16mm prints.

The best thing to do is suggest it to TCM for screening

(check out my Suggestion List under "FAVORITES" here).

This is a very intelligent little film and a great credit to Arch Obler.

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I got to know Jeff Morrow and told me he got hurt while falling into the boat in CREATURE WALKS AMONG US by mistake. While in the studio pond, waiting between takes, everyone had a few shots of hootch-including the creature (everyone it seems had a big laugh watching the gill-man upending a bottle).

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My favorite is

THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYA

Forest Tucker Peter Cushing

Directed by Val Guest

Screenplay by Nigel Kneale from his own teleplay for BBC

A HAMMER FILM PRODUCTION

RELEASED BY 20th CENTURY FOX

 

Available WS from Anchor Bay

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