Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Unearthly (1957)


A rather predictable, low-budget but strangely watchable film



Directed by Boris Petroff
Produced by Boris Petroff, Robert A. Terry
Screenplay by John D.F. Black, Jane Mann
Story by Jane Mann
Music by Henry Vars
Cinematography: W. Merie Connell
Production company: AB-PT Pictures
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Running time: 73 minutes


Cast


John Carradine: Dr. Charles Conway
Myron Healey: Mark Houston
Allison Hayes: Grace Thomas
Marilyn Buferd: Dr. Sharon Gilchrist
Arthur Batanides: Danny Green
Sally Todd: Natalie Andries
Tor Johnson: Lobo
Roy Gordon: Dr. Loren Wright
Guy Prescott: Police Captain George Reagan
Raymond Guth: Police Officer Miller
Harry Fleer: Harry Jedrow
Gloria Petroff: Screaming Woman
Paul McWilliams: Police Officer Ed


With the start of a new year (2017) we now complete our look at science fiction films from the year 1957 with the 60 year-old sci-fi / horror gem, The Unearthly.


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Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)


A somewhat predictable and formulaic sci-fi film which has enough action to hold audience interest for much of the 83 minutes viewing time.


Directed by Arnold Laven
Produced by Arthur Gardner, Jules V. Levy
Screenplay by Pat Fielder
Story by David Duncan
Music by Heinz Eric Roemheld
Cinematography: John D. Faure
Edited by Lester White
Production company: Gramercy Pictures, Inc.
Distributed by United Artists
Running time: 83 minutes
Budget: $200,000


Cast


Tim Holt as Lt. Cmdr. John "Twill" Twillinger
Audrey Dalton as Gail MacKenzie
Hans Conried as Dr. Jess Rogers
Harlan Warde as Lt. Robert "Clem" Clemens
Max Showalter as Dr. Tad Johns
Mimi Gibson as Sandy MacKenzie
Gordon Jones as Sheriff Josh Peters
Marjorie Stapp as Connie Blake
Dennis McCarthy as George Blake
Barbara Darrow as Jody Simms
Robert Beneveds as Seaman Morty Beatty
Charles Herbert as Boy with Morty's Cap
Jody McCrea as Seaman Fred Johnson
Wallace Earl as Sally as Eileen Harvey


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Classic Sci-Fi Film Stew

Also known as The Monster That Challenged the World and in some quarters as The Jagged Edge and The Kraken. (“Release the Kraken!” Sorry, I had to say it!)

Read on for more.....

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Monolith Monsters (1957)

A low-budget well-paced sci-fi film with an interesting concept but doesn’t quite meet expectations


Directed by John Sherwood
Produced by Howard Christie
Screenplay by Norman Jolley, Robert M. Fresco
Story by Jack Arnold, Robert M. Fresco
Music by Henry Mancini, Irving Getz, Herman Stein
Cinematography: Ellis W. Carter
Edited by Patrick McCormack
Production company: Universal-International
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Running time: 77 minutes


Cast



Grant Williams: Dave Miller
Lola Albright: Cathy Barrett
Les Tremayne: Martin Cochrane
Trevor Bardette: Professor Arthur Flanders
Phil Harvey as Ben Gilbert
William Flaherty: Police Chief Dan Corey
Harry Jackson: Dr. Steve Hendricks
Richard H. Cutting: Dr. E. J. Reynolds
Linda Scheley : Ginny Simpson
Claudia Bryar: Mrs. Simpson
Dean Cromer: Lead Highway Patrolman
Steve Darrell: Rancher Joe Higgins
William Schallert: Meteorologist
Troy Donahue! : Hank Jackson the Dynamite Expert
Paul Petersen: Bobby the Newsboy
Opening narration: Paul Frees


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SAN FRANCISCO CALL-BULLETIN
             10 cents                                                               November 10, 1957

This feature report is reproduced here with kind permission from Martin Cochrane, reporter and publisher of the San Angelo Sentinel. [Photos used are a combination of later reconstructions of events and pictures taken at the time of the incident in question.]

Martin Cochrane tells the story of how a strange meteorite crashed into the Southern California desert in July of this year and exploded into a multitude of black fragments. 

The strange part of this story is how those fragments when exposed to water, grew to gigantic proportions. Not only that, but the fragments caused some of the inhabitants of a small town to gradually petrify and die.

The story that you are about to read will show just how close humanity came to having its very existence threatened by a seemingly unstoppable malevolent monstrous monolithic force visited upon our planet from the mysterious limitless reaches of outer space……


Read on for more….

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Man Who Turned to Stone (1957)


An interesting and well-paced film hampered by low-budget constraints



Directed by László Kardos
Produced by Sam Katzman
Written by Bernard Gordon
Music by Ross DiMaggio, George Duning
Cinematography: Benjamin H. Kline
Edited by Charles Nelson
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Running time: 71 minutes


Cast


Victor Jory: Dr. Murdock
William Hudson: Dr. Jess Rogers
Charlotte Austin: Carol Adams
Jean Willes: Tracy
Ann Doran: Mrs. Ford
Paul Cavanagh: Cooper
George Lynn: Dr. Freneau
Victor Varconi: Dr. Myer
Friedrich von Ledebur: Eric
Tina Carver: Big Marge Collins
Barbara Wilson: Anna Sherman


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Read on for more....

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Land Unknown (1957)


A rather simplistic sci-fi adventure film


Directed by Virgil W. Vogel
Produced by William Alland
Written by Charles Palmer, William N. Robson, László Görög
Music by Henry Mancini, Hans J. Salter, Herman Stein
Cineatography: Ellis W. Carter
Edited by Fred MacDowell
Distributed by Universal-International
Running time: 78 minutes


Cast


Jock Mahoney: Cmndr. Harold 'Hal' Roberts
Shirley Patterson: Margaret 'Maggie' Hathaway
William Reynolds: Lt. Jack Carmen
Henry Brandon: Dr. Carl Hunter
Douglas Kennedy: Capt. Burnham 
Phil Harvey: Machinist's Mate, Steve Mill


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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


Cast


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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Read on for more….

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. 

Read on for more.....