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zeker427

Best SciFi Film of the 1950's ???

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Everyone always overlooks "Them!" --- the first movie I remember ever seeing. It scared the ***** out of me.

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Come on now, It's just got to be "THIS ISLAND EARTH". Doesn't everyone want to build their own interrociter?

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I know your post is a bit old but I more recently became familiar with the Arch Oboler classic "FIVE." I am a student filmmaker and was speaking with a lady friend of mine... (Her husband was Charles Lampkin). I was in the process of researching a documentary on him and his life as an actor... Come to find out... It's the same actor that played Charles in FIVE. I've spoken to her recently and she says she has a ton of his studio footage... I'm crossing my fingers as mentioned before, the movie's not on vhs or dvd... I've yet to see the movie but hope to get an opportunity...

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tuff call on this best 50's Sci Fi but This Island Earth, Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still... would all get my vote.

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Yes, I love Them" and always watch it whenever it comes on tv. I have it on VHS

but want it on DVD. Those giant ants trip me out! The movie has a message as

well------Don't mess with the UNKNOWN! There might be terrible consequences.

Have you ever seen or heard of another scifi 50s movie-----"The Giant Claw?"

Another favorite of mine. Who can leave out "The Thing?"

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Hello, I just joined TCM Message Boards today; my first viewing of "THEM" was around 1959-1961. I totally agree with you about the "fright" factor; as a child of 5 to 6 years old at that time, how was I to know that the huge ants were mechanical?

 

During that era, I grew up watching most of the classic sci-fi flicks(mostly in reruns). I was trying to remember the name of this film; it was about these aliens who landed on Earth, and had a ray gun, when fired at someone, it would leave the skeletal remains. I found it, and the title is "TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE". The weapon in question is described by one of the aliens as a "focusing-distinegrating ray".

 

Message was edited by:

TheQuietMan

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1: FORBIDDEN PLANET - I think this is the best science fiction movie ever made, for any decade. Walter Pidgeon is almost as dark as he was in Dark Command- But in the end, he had humanity. Leslie Nielsen, has a little bit of humour in his character... I first saw this when I was a kid, and he was a great "Captain." -Warren, ah, Stevens? The "Doc"... Earl Holliman! Haha! this film had all of the elements, including a plot based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest"- As well as having great Principals, fantastic, for the time made? Sets and special effects, Wardrobe, Gadgets: The metal walls that klang shut. The Krell Door, the IQ Machine, the huge power plant, the SCOPE of the size of the Krell Machine, and they way we are allowed to see how tiny men are as they walk across a bridge of a shaft that contains power units for miles. That film stands side by side with any star trek of star wars, and is a much better film than any of those.

 

2: They Day the Earth Stood Still: If any race of intelligent tool-making beings that has a penchant for self destruction WERE to have such an ultimatum aimed at it, that race would have to shape up. That film brought this question out in the open: "Now that we have all this technology, what are we going to do with it... And if there is any galactic community, we certainly do not have the right to invade it, unless we can reign in things like hate, bigotry, slavery, caste systems, political squabbling ending in WAR". But also, the look of the film, I really like the look of films from that era, and this was set right into it. The 1950's begat two forms of propaganda film: The Anti-Communist film aka "The Patriotic Film" and the Anti-Mccarthy film aka the "Human Rights Film" - These two types of film were at odds with each other throughout the 50's and even in the 60's, 70's and 80's, up until the time The Berlin Wall was taken down.

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still did not talk for or against any form of government, religion, race of people, country of origin, flavor of ethnic style, no: It was a straight warning against the abuse of technologies, and therefore prophetic in a sense.

 

3: "I Married a Monster from Outer Space" - Anyone see that one? Nick Clooney, the former host of AMC said that "This film is better than it's name" And it is, it is a pretty good flick. Watch it, and check it out, it is pretty good for what it is. There was a remake in 1998 starring Richard Burgi of The Sentinel. This film is very high on my list because when you start watching it, you think that one thing is happening, and it ends up "The Reverse is True"

 

4: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." - As opposed to The Day the Earth Stood Still: THIS film is making a huge political statement, which can either be "Those damn Commies are taking over" OR, "McCarthy has stirred the poop-pot so much that we do not know who we can trust, we may be tagged as Commies in a moments notice"

 

And as such, it is a frightening film. I understand, that this film had a "Benign" beginning and end tagged on to it. The 1978 version With Donald Sutherland has no such "Hopeful ending" tagged on to it. The thing about this film, is the same thing that makes it almost non-believable: That these seed-pods, can generate a perfect duplicate of you SANS emotional feelings- And all you need to lose your humanity is fall asleep for just a moment... And this in fact happens to Dana Wynter when she falls asleep for less than a second.

 

Films like this, which did not really show much, actually gave you a lot to think about.

 

 

5: WAR of The Worlds: For the year it was made, and the knowledge we had back then, we did not KNOW if there were Aliens on Mars. It COULD have happened, it still could happen like that, perhaps the soil of mars has NO microbes, just like our probes have found out: But let us say the Martians live underground, and they have no microbes, at least not what we got on Earth. So, they need out water and other resources so the invade.

 

War of the worlds is a totally enjoyable experience, it starts like many 50's films start, a small town, a meteor, a scientist, a beautiful girl. The Army, lots of bombs and explosions and then, the martian "Tripod" ships, and the force fields. The atom bomb, the flying wing! They actually HAD a real flying wing back then, but it never got developed, until the Stealth Bomber got built. So, WOTW is speculative fiction at it's best. And it is Hollywood at it's very best!

 

6: "It Came from Outer Space" - One of the better Ray Bradbury novels/stories rendered to the screen. Kind of cheesy special effects, but the story is what we have here. Do people realise than his whole life, Ray Bradbury never received a Hugo ot a Nebula award for his works? Maybe he has received some kind of lifetime achievement award. Bradbury had a lot to do with the genre coming to Hollywood. A meteor falls and John Putman, an astronomer, sees it fall and goes out to look at the crater, where he sees some strange things but nobody believes him, and everyone makes fun of him, except for a girl. They see some things that make it appear that these aliens are hostile murderers. This film is a flurry of MacGuffins as Hitchcock used to use: The film is not about aliens, it is not abut glittering snail trails, meteors, Fake People, huge eyes walking around, or even the threat of an atomic powered space engine poised to blast a whole in the Earth: It is rather a film about how things can be misunderstood, unless we really TRY to find out what "The Other Preson is Up to" - It MAY be nothing like what we THINK is going on, and in this film that is the case. The Sci Fi Elements are just the tools used to tell the tale, and it is a good tale.

 

I have here a modest list of most of the Scientifiction Films from 1950 to 1960:

 

1950

 

Destination Moon

Rocket Ship X-M

 

 

 

1951

 

Day the Earth Stood Still, The

Flight to Mars

Lost Continent, The

Thing (From Another World), The

When Worlds Collide

 

 

 

1952

 

Red Planet Mars

 

 

 

1953

 

Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, The

City Beneath the Sea

It Came From Outer Space

Invaders From Mars

Magnetic Monster, The

Phantom from Space

Spaceways

War of the Worlds

 

 

 

1954

 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Creature From the Black Lagoon

Gog

Cat Women of the Moon

Riders to the Stars

Them!

This Island Earth

Tobor the Great

 

 

 

1955

 

Conquest of Space

Fire Maidens of Outer Space

It Came From Beneath the Sea

Revenge of the Creature

Tarantula!

 

 

 

1956

 

1984

Atomic Man,The

Creature Walks Among Us, The

Day the World Ended, The

Earth vs. the Flying Saucer

Forbidden Planet

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Mole People, The

Satellite in the Sky

World Without End

X The Unknown

 

 

 

1957

 

20 Million Miles to Earth

27th Day, The

Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, The

Amazing Colossal Man, The

Attack of the Crab Monster

Black Scorpion, The

Deadly Mantis, The

Giant Claw, The

Incredible Shrinking Man, The

Invisible Boy, The

Monster That Challenged the World, The

Monolith Monsters, The

Kronos

 

 

 

1958

 

Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman

Blob, The

Colossus of New York, The

Crawling Eye, The

Flame Barrier, The

Fly, The

From the Earth to the Moon

I Married a Monster from Outer Space

It! The Terror from Beyond Space

Lost Missile, The

Monster on the Campus

Queen of Outer Space

Space Children, The

 

 

 

1959

 

4D Man

Alligator People, The

Angry Red Planet, The

Atomic Submarine, The

First Man Into Space

Invisible Invaders

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Missile to the Moon

Mouse That Roared, The

On the Beach

Plane 9 From Outer Space

World, the Flesh, and the Devil, The

 

Which ones are good? Which ones are Stinkers?

 

This barrage of woids was totally re-written by the jerkie known as:

weApon X

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I agree, "Forbidden Planet" is the best SciFi film ever made, at least pre "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters". I don't understand why it has never been re-made in today's cgi idiom, considering that it's on every director's list of top five best SciFi movies ever made. You'd think someone would attempt it, a la Spielberg's "War of the Worlds". Granted there are plot problems if they did, but nothing insuperable. And the moral of the story still holds true today.

 

Also, I loved, and was terrified by "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". What a great period piece! Although I found an incontinuity in Dana Wynter's 'conversion' in the mine tunnel since there was NO pod placed nearby while she slept. lol!

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One of the best sci-fi films from the 1950s has been shamefully neglected for almost fifty years. It has rarely been shown on TV, and it has never been released on VHS or DVD.

 

And yet, Steven Spielberg praised it highly in the TCM special called "Keep Watching the Skies", just prior to the release of the recent "War of the Worlds".

 

The movie is Jack Arnold's lost gem called The Space Children. As you can see from many of the user comments on IMDB (see link below), there seems to be a growing number of people who feel compelled to speak out in favor of this neglected film.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052227/usercomments

 

I've submitted a request to TCM to have The Space Children put on their schedule. If you've seen it and want to see it again (or if you've never seen it and would like to) please submit your own request.

 

Bruce

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Glad that you mentioned Invaders from Mars, weAponX. This is a movie that haunted me for years. It's frightening in a manner similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers: that the people among us have changed before our eyes. It's an insidious situation. It helps that I saw it as a child, and that the movie is seen through a little boy's eyes.

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Fifties sci-fi horror of the first rank: Thing from Another world, Them!, Invasion of the Body snatchers, Incredible Shrinking Man.

 

Second rank: Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, Tarantula, it Came from Outer space, and The Creeping Unknown.

 

The "New Twilight Zone" of the mid-80s had an episode, "A Day in Beaumont" that is a fine, loving parody of/tribute to Fifties sci-fi horror.

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>

> Also, I loved, and was terrified by "Invasion of the

> Body Snatchers". What a great period piece! Although

> I found an incontinuity in Dana Wynter's 'conversion'

> in the mine tunnel since there was NO pod placed

> nearby while she slept. lol!

 

 

I noticed that too, but hey, why ruin a good flick with consistency and logic.

Cool movie anyway.

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Number one for me is "Destination Moon".....so many sci-fi films have stolen the ending to this movie, I can't even remember, but two that come to mind are Space Cowboys and Armageddon.

Number two is "The Blob".

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Good choices but for me the BEST of all was the War of the Worlds. Story, acting(for a scifi), special effects were top notch. I suspect even the studio was surprised as to how well is was done and even more how well it has held up over the years. My second choice is Them. I still watch when it comes on and will some day buy a copy. I recently purchased the original Thing. I had the remake on tape. I think the remake was a good movie but something about the original still makes me vote for the original.

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Great movie and Dana Wynter alone is enough to vote for this movie. But it was a very good movie and since I live only a few miles from the town that was used for the city center I find it even more interesting to view.

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> Great movie and Dana Wynter alone is enough to vote

> for this movie. But it was a very good movie and

> since I live only a few miles from the town that was

> used for the city center I find it even more

> interesting to view.

 

Dana makes me give the nod to Body Snatchers, The thing, and The War of the Worlds. Can you believe Dana Wynter real first name is.......DAGMAR !

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They have been mentioned before but I have to add 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' for it's message. The other is 'Them', That sound was in my head for weeks afterward, and I think that's when I started to dislike crickets.

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"They have been mentioned before but I have to add 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' for it's message. The other is 'Them', That sound was in my head for weeks afterward, and I think that's when I started to dislike crickets.

 

Crickets? I wonder if you intended to mention The Beginning of the End, the 1957 Sci-Fi wherein giant grasshoppers take over? Them! preceded this one by a few years, but it involved giant ants that took over. I can hear the pitch meeting at AB-PT Pictures: "It'll be just like Them! but better -- it'll have locusts!"

 

You are so right: The Day the Earth Stood Still is a terrific picture. Patricia Neal, Billy Grey, the stalwart Michael Rennie, and that hunk of steel, Gort! Though it is such a reflection of its time, I think it still works today. And Bernard Herrmann's score is a knock-out!

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Yes Jack my dear, I know they were ants, but if you listen to the sound, it sounds like a whole slew of crickets on a warm summer night.

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I second mrsl's motion, Jack. They certainly sounded like giant crickets to me, too. After all, how could we know what ants might sound like? The cricket noise let us identify the source as something insect-ish, Ugh. I can hear it now.

 

Another distinctive and memorable sound was the noise the of the Martian death-rays in the original War of the Worlds. Every time I used my elecric pencil sharpener, I think of it.

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How interesting. I wonder if crickets were what the sound f/x person used for the film... The only sound that I remember from Them! was of the child screaming "Them!" at the beginning of the film.

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Wow, now I got two new moovies to watch, The Space Children and Invaders from Mars.

 

Anyone notice, images and props from sci-fi moovies of the 50's were used in 60's TV shows, like Star Treck and Loused up in Space. The saucer from Forbidden Planet was also used in an hour long episode of The Twilight Sone (starring Jack Klugman). That same saucer was in another episode of The Twilight Zone where a similar looking spaceship lands in Agnes Moorehead's hovel: She destroys it woth her broom. Film of V-2 rockets being launched were used in several sci fi films. These things were probably just sitting around the studios, depending on the studio the prop was used in more than one film. I had thought I saw a moon-bus from 2001: A Space Odysey in Space 1999, even though all the sets were striken and the props destroyed. A lot of the 50's films, the production designers were more used to working on Westerns or Melodramas or Romatic Comedies.

 

But in 1966 a guy named Pato Guzman designed some stuff for the first pilot of a show, and I think the stuff that was created for the original Pilot of Star Trek looked mroe like things that were designed for This Island Earth, later a guy named Matt Jeffries re-designed thew whole look of that show, and I don't think it was as good.

 

But the 50's were great cos these guys were learing how to make stuff that we could halfway believe did what they were supposed to do: In I Married A Monster: the alien has a little hand held device that is a weapon/etc. It is just a piece of wood, with some wires coming out of it, and it looks great!

 

I guess the reason why I liked Forbidden Planet was because it reached further into the future, and the writer specuilated that there would be propulsion systems that did not use rocket engines. Same thing with War of the Worlds: But those were not really space ships, they were more like Martian Tanks.

 

Now, also we talk about War of the Worlds and Stephen Spielberg's Sqequel, which bears no storyline resemblamce to the 1953 and before that the Mercury Theatre spoof, and prior to that, the HG Welles book, which was one of the first works of actual speculative fiction ever written: A scientific "What If"- Well, the Mercury Theatre took the HG Weles book and turned it into a Radio Script, that was so beliavable people reacted like crazy. In 1953, the basic story from Welles is wrapped up in a country package. I love the beginning if the film, it shows our idyllic counrty, and the destruction thereof.

 

Then, in, 1997? Independence Day. I did not consider it a remake of War of the Worlds when I first saw it: Actually it did nto occur to me that it was a deliberate remake. And so, that story was modernised, perhaps we don;t believe that a guy with an old Powerbook running OS 7 can hack into the mainframe of a huge Mothership? Well, maybe, there are people doing it to the government and banks all the time. But, it was a good play on the "Germs" angle.

 

Between the two recent remakes of War of The Worlds, I enjoyed ID4 more: Cos the imagery was better. I liked it, because it was an ensemble cast that worked very well. I liked it cos "Data" was in it (And shocked the crap out of me that he had gray hair). I liked the hugeness of it, which matched the hugeness of the original- That "Mother Ship" was a quarter the size of the moon!

 

I found Spielbergs War of the Worlds, the only thing I really liked was Morgan Freeman's VO. And Miranda Otto. I found myself not believing the machines: That these things could be undergound for so many thousands/millions of years, and they would escape detection especially in NYC, where there are so many sewer systems and undergound tube systems. SOMEONE would have found a machine. Those things were just too big to have been missed while New York City was populated and grown? Rediculous!

 

Of course when all hades breaks loose, well, the story was so different than any previous version, you might as well have called the moovie: "Aliens come down via lightning and use huge machiens to turn Human beings into red guck, but then germs get them ands they die so we win"- But please don't call such a thing War of the Worlds. The 53 film was more like an actual military action.

 

And his kid? How did hos kid bet to Boston? Huh? Maybe Speileberg needs to make a sequel just to explain that, heh?

 

MODERN day sci fi flicks that have been decent:

 

The Forgotten. Great film, the extended version has a better ending.

The Island - Kinda a sci fi thing

Underworld and Underworld Evolution: Great combo of Monsters and Sci Fi.

Star Trek: Nemesis: The reason why Star Treck fans hate this was because it was a GREAT film. Watch it, it is very well directed. And written. The images are so non-trek.

I would not include any of the Star Wars films as Sci Fi: The last one, you know, the colour of the film is great? And it is a compleatly digital medium, unlike all of the other Star Wars moovies.

 

You know? With the de-aging tech that was used in X-Men III, we can de-age harry Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Luke Skywalker. Yah, then we can make a new star wars film with them. Did anyone see X-III? oh yes, the deaging worked really well on Picard and Gandalf! Hehe.

 

This post is too long I'll stop now ahaha. Just had to get a few things off my chest.

 

Some great films are being discussed in this thread. More please!

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"I found [in] Spielberg's 'War of the Worlds', the only thing I really liked was Morgan Freeman's VO. And Miranda Otto. I found myself not believing the machines: That these things could be undergound for so many thousands/millions of years, and they would escape detection especially in NYC, where there are so many sewer systems and undergound tube systems. SOMEONE would have found a machine. Those things were just too big to have been missed while New York City was populated and grown? Ridiculous!

 

Of course when all hades breaks loose, well, the story was so different than any previous version, you might as well have called the moovie: 'Aliens come down via lightning and use huge machiens to turn Human beings into red guck, but then germs get them ands they die so we win'- But please don't call such a thing 'War of the Worlds'. The '53 film was more like an actual military action.

 

And his kid? How did those kid get to Boston? Huh? Maybe Speileberg needs to make a sequel just to explain that, heh?"

 

I was surprised that I really enjoyed the Spielberg War of the Worlds -- except for the last 30 seconds. There were inconsistencies; how some things worked but others didn't (cars, electronics, etc.) that called for suspension of disbelief. But I loved the irony of Scientologist Tom Cruise being chased by space aliens, and I enjoyed the thought that L. Ron Hubbard might be on one of those ships. ;)

 

I came to this movie expecting it to be about Tom Cruise's character becoming the hero by battling and winning over the aliens. To my surprise, his character was completely at a loss throughout. It was all so much bigger than him; he was completely fallible and ill prepared for anything of this magnitude. I found this refreshing. Tim Robbins was terrificly creepy as Harlan Ogilvy, the countryman gone mad. The F/X were awing; the art direction beautiful. I would have gone back to see this again, if I could have. Now about those final thirty seconds [spoiler alert]: How preposterous! He arrives at the parental homestead to find it unscathed. Gene Barry and Ann Robinson (great cameo choices) answer the door as if nothing had happened. It absolutely made no sense, and almost ruined the entire precedings for me. It was far too pat and easy.

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