Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

A thoughtful, philosophical, intelligent and sensitive Sci-Fi film

Directed by Jack Arnold
Produced by Albert Zugsmith
Written by Richard Matheson
Screenplay by Richard Matheson, Richard Alan Simmons
Based on The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
Music by Irving Getz, Hans J. Salter, Herman Stein
Cinematography: Ellis W. Carter
Edited by Albrecht Joseph
Distributed by Universal-International
Running time: 81 minutes
Budget: $750,000
Box office: $(US)1.43 million


Grant Williams as Scott Carey
Randy Stuart as Louise Carey
April Kent as Clarice
Paul Langton as Charlie Carey
Raymond Bailey as Doctor Thomas Silver
William Schallert as Doctor Arthur Bramson
Frank J. Scannell as Barker
Helene Marshall as Nurse
Diana Darrin as Nurse
Billy Curtis as Midget 
Orangey as Butch the cat

The Incredible Shrinking Man is a 1957 American black-and-white science fiction film from Universal-International and was adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson from his novel, The Shrinking Man.

This film together with 20 Million Miles to EarthKronos and The Monolith Monsters, all from the same year, left an indelible impression on me for almost six decades. 


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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A Tribute To John Agar

(January 31, 1921 – April 7, 2002)

“…. if I give anybody any enjoyment, I'm doing my job, and that's what counts."

Early Life

John Agar was born in Chicago, Illinois into a wealthy Chicago meat packing family as the oldest of 4 children on Jan 31, 1921. He was educated at the Harvard School for Boys in Chicago and Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois. He graduated from Trinity-Pawling Preparatory School in Pawling, New York, but did not attend college.

After the death of his father, John and his family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1942. 

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Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Deadly Mantis (1957)

An entertaining low budget sci-film with lots of action

Directed by Nathan H. Juran
Produced by William Alland
Written by William Alland, Martin Berkeley
Music by Irving Gerts, William Lava
Cinematography: Ellis W. Carter
Edited by Chester Schaeffer
Distributed by Universal-International
Running time: 79 min


Craig Stevens: Col. Joe Parkman
William Hopper: Dr. Nedrick Jackson
Alix Talton: Marge Blaine
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: Lt. Fred Pizar
Helen Jay: Mrs. Farley

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” 

The Deadly Mantis opens with a camera zoom-in on a map showing the North Atlantic Ocean followed by a small island in the Weddell Sea close to the Antarctic Circle. A huge volcanic eruption then occurs after which the camera tracks across the map to Greenland and then on to a point close to the North Pole.

For those of us today who are accustomed to experiencing the increasing effects of global warning, we witness with somewhat less surprise than what might be expected huge areas of ice breaking up.

What is surprising is that the breakup and melting of the ice reveals the body of a giant praying mantis!


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Friday, 16 September 2016

A Tribute to Willis O'Brien

Pioneering motion picture special effects artist who pioneered the technique of stop motion animation and created "the most startling and intriguing monsters who have ever invaded screenland."

King Kong vs T-Rex

Early Life

Willis O'brien was born on 2 March 1886 in Oakland, California. His father, William O'Brien was self-educated and was a noted etymologist. He also spent 15 years as assistant district attorney for Oakland. Poor investments coupled with some bad luck forced the O’Brien family into poverty when Willis was just 11 years old.

Before he began working in film, Willis O’Brien worked short stints as a cowboy, professional boxer. farmhand, factory worker, fur trapper, bartender, draftsman in an architect's office, railroad brakeman and surveyor. He then went on to become a cartoonist for the San Francisco Daily News, and worked as a professional marble sculptor.

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Friday, 9 September 2016

The Brain from Planet Arous (1957)

A rather ludicrous but strangely ridiculously entertaining sci-fi film

Directed by Nathan H. Juran
Produced by Jacques R. Marquette
Written by Ray Buffum
Music by Walter Greene
Cinematography Jacques R. Marquette
Distributed by Howco International
Running time: 70 min.
Budget: $58,000 approx.


John Agar: Steve March
Joyce Meadows: Sally Fallon
Robert Fuller: Dan Murphy
Thomas Browne Henry: John Fallon
Ken Terrell: Colonel in Conference Room
Henry Travis: Colonel Frogley
E. Leslie Thomas: General Brown
Tim Graham: Sheriff Wiley Pane
Bill Giorgio: Russian

A powerful alien disembodied brain from the planet Arous, by the name of Gor invades and takes control of the body of scientist, Steve March. Gor uses March as part of his nefarious plan to control the world by threatening to destroy any nation that challenges his total domination.


How can this new threat to Humanity be thwarted? 

Read on to find out….

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Black Scorpion (1957)

An undemanding but entertaining sci-fi / horror film

Directed by Edward Ludwig
Produced by Jack Dietz, Frank Melford
Written by Robert Blees, David Duncan
Music by Paul Sawtell
Cinematography: Lionel Lindon
Stop motion animation special effects: Willis O'Brien.
Edited by Richard L. Van Enger
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Running time: 88 minutes


Richard Denning as Dr. Hank Scott
Mara Corday as Teresa Alvarez
Carlos Rivas as Dr. Arturo Ramos
Mario Navarro as Juanito
Carlos Múzquiz as Dr. Velasco
Pascual García Peña as Dr. Delacruz
Pedro Galván as Father Delgado
Arturo Martínez as Major Cosio
Fanny Schiller as Florentina

The Black Scorpion is the kind of film that tends to grow on you the more you watch it. This low budget film delivers with whatever resources it has as its disposal. The end result is an enjoyable and entertaining 88 minutes of escapism.


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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)

An entertaining sci-fi movie despite the low budget and ordinary special effects

The Amazing Colossal Man, an adaptation of the 1928 Homer Eon Flint short novel, The Nth Man, is a 1957 science fiction film, directed by Bert I. Gordon and starring Glenn Langan. The film involves a man who grows to over 60 feet tall due to an atomic explosion.

Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Written by Mark Hanna (screenplay); Bert I. Gordon (screenplay) & George Worthing Yates
Produced by Bert I. Gordon (producer); Samuel Z. Arkoff (executive producer); James H. Nicholson (executive producer)
Music by Albert Glasser
Cinematography by Joseph F. Biroc
Film Editing by Ronald Sinclair
Released by American International Pictures


Glenn Langan: Lt. Col. Glenn Manning
Cathy Downs: Carol Forrest
William Hudson: Dr. Paul Linstrom
Larry Thor: Maj. Eric Coulter, MD
James Seay: Col. Hallock
Frank Jenks: Truck Driver
Russ Bender: Richard Kingman
Hank Patterson: Henry
Jimmy Cross: Sergeant at reception desk
June Jocelyn: Nurse Wilson
Stanley Lachman: Lt. Cline
Harry Raybould: MP at Main Gate
Jean Moorhead: Woman in Bathtub
Scott Peters: Sgt. Lee Carter
Myron Cook: Capt. Thomas
Michael Harris: Police Lt. Keller
Bill Cassady: Lt. Peterson
Dick Nelson: Sgt. Hansen
Edmund Cobb: Dr. McDermott
Paul Hahn: Attendant
Diana Darrin : Hospital Receptionist
Lyn Osborn Sgt. Taylor
Jack Kosslyn: Lieutenant in briefing room
William Hughes: Bombsite Control Officer
Keith Hetherington: Newscaster
John Daheim: Soldier
Judd Holdren: Robert Allen
Harold Miller: Official




Time: 2.45 am
Place: Desert Rock Nevada
Event: Test of a new plutonium bomb
Purpose: Soldiers to experience an explosion “under simulated combat conditions.”

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