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It Came From Outer Space
Starring Barbara Rush, Charles Drake

Based on a story by acclaimed writer Ray Bradbury, It Came From Outer Space is a science fiction classic that is as thought-provoking and tantalizing today as it was when it first landed on the silver screen.

Director Jack Arnold lets the story unfold deliberately, and infuses the desert locale with all the unearthly mystery of an alien landscape and an eerie theremin score, helping to make this one of the best science fiction films of the 1950's.


The New York Times review noted “the adventure…is merely mildly diverting, not stupendous. The space ship and its improbable crew, which keep the citizens of Sand Rock, Ariz., befuddled and terrified, should have the same effect on customers who are passionately devoted to king-sized flying saucers and gremlins."

"Brog" in Variety opined that "Direction by Jack Arnold whips up an air of suspense in putting the Harry Essex screenplay on film, and there is considerable atmosphere of reality created, which stands up well enough if the logic of it all is not examined too closely…story proves to be good science-fiction for the legion of film fans who like scare entertainment, well done."


Since its original release, the critical response to the film has become mostly positive. Bill Warren has written that “Arnold’s vigorous direction and Bradbury’s intriguing ideas meld to produce a genuine classic in its limited field.”

Jonathan Rosenbaum described the film as “A scary black-and-white SF effort from 1953.” Phil Hardy’s The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction observed “Dark desert roads and sudden moments of fear underline Arnold’s ability as a director of Science Fiction films, and Essex’s/Bradbury’s lines match his images superbly.”


Of the reviews included on Rotten Tomatoes regarding It Came from Outer Space, 81% of critics liked the film. In one of the negative reviews, FilmCritic.com opines that the film “moves terribly slowly (despite an 80 minute running time) because the plot is overly simplistic with absolutely no surprises."


Click to play video

It Came From Outer Space Trailer


Introducing It Came from Outer Space (Famous Movie Monsters)

All about the sci-fi classic monster with detailed synopsis, facts about the film, plenty of photos, and more.



Invaders From Mars (1953) Color
Starring Arthur Franz, Helena Carter, Jimmy Hunt, Leif Erickson, Morris Ankrum, Hillary Brooke

USA Today: Packed with eerie backyard scenes that anticipate the early parts of Close Encounters of the Third Kind with an effective underlying fear of loss of personality, and of the unknown.

Late one night, young David MacLean (Jimmy Hunt) is awakened by a thunderstorm. From his bedroom window he sees a large flying saucer descend and disappear into the sandpit area behind his home. After rushing to tell his parents, his scientist father (Leif Erickson) goes to investigate David's claim.

When his father returns much later in the morning, David notices an unusual red puncture along the hairline on the back of his father's neck; his father is now behaving in a cold and hostile manner. David soon begins to realize something is very wrong: one-by-one he notices certain townsfolk are acting in exactly the same way.

Through his telescope, David sees child neighbor Kathy Wilson walking in the sandpit, when suddenly she disappears underground. David flees to the police station for help, and he is eventually placed under the protection of health-department physician Dr. Pat Blake (Helena Carter), who slowly begins to believe his crazy story.

With the help of local astronomer Dr. Stuart Kelston (Arthur Franz) and Dr. Blake, David soon realizes the flying saucer is likely the vanguard of an invasion from the planet Mars, now in close orbital proximity to Earth. Dr. Kelston contacts the army and convinces them to immediately investigate: an important government rocket research plant is located nearby.

In short order the Pentagon marshals its forces and sends troops and tanks under the command of Colonel Fielding (Morris Ankrum). An alien sabotage plot at the plant is soon uncovered, leading back to the sandpit, and the army surrounds the saucer landing site. Standing well away from the army search, Dr. Blake and young David are suddenly sucked underground.

They are captured by two tall, slit-eyed green humanoids and taken through underground tunnels to the flying saucer. Army troops locate and blow open an entrance to the tunnels, and Colonel Fielding and a small detachment make their way to the saucer entrance.


Invaders From Mars Trailer

Inside they confront the Martian Mastermind: it has a giant green head with a humanoid face atop a small, green partial torso with several green arm-tentacles, and is encased in a transparent sphere. The Martian Mastermind is served by the tall, green, silent mutants (oddly pronounced "mu-tants" in dialog).

Under their master's mental commands, the mute humanoids have implanted mind-control crystals at the base of the skull of their kidnapped victims, forcing them through mind control to attempt sabotage at an atomic rocket project being built at a military plant near the town; if they are caught the mind control devices implode, causing a fatal cerebral hemorrhage.

The troops and Colonel Fielding, with Dr.Blake and young David in tow, open fire on the pursuing mutants as their group escapes the saucer. After a short running battle in the tunnels they climb their ladder back to the surface.

Orders are given for everyone to quickly leave the sandpit area: Fielding's troops have planted timed explosive charges aboard the saucer. In an extended montage, David runs downhill (towards the camera), away from the sandpit. As he does so, flashbacks of the film's important events are superimposed over a close-up of his face, including several scenes played backwards for surreal effect.

These are inter-cut with alternating shots of the army artillery opening fire on the sandpit or close-ups on the ticking timer slowly approaching zero. Over this climactic montage plays the wavering, ethereal choral score that has punctuated prior scenes, now indicating the saucer's drive is powering up to depart.

Following a large explosion, David is suddenly back in his bed. Thunder and lighting are heard again, as in the beginning of the film. His runs into his parents bedroom confused and frightened; they reassure him he was just having a bad dream, telling him to go back to sleep.

Having returned to his bed, more wind and loud thunder is heard. David then climbs out of bed again, goes to his window, and witnesses the very same flying saucer of his dream slowly descending into the sandpit; the screen then holds on young David and dissolves to the film's "The End" title card.




References and Excerpts:
wikipedia.org, imdb.com






It Came From Outer Space - 1953

A fireball streaks across the desert sky and crashes. We see an aerial view of Sand Rock, Arizona in the late evening in the early spring. Inside an isolated ranch house outside of town we meet John Putnam (Richard Carlson) and his girlfriend Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush). He is an amateur astronomer, she the local school teacher. They sit in front of a fire in his partially completed home enjoying a cup of coffee.


They walk outside to take in the night air when they spot the "meteor" from the opening shot. From inside the crater, by the old Excelsior Mine, we see a sphere partially exposed that looks like a soccer ball. A hexagonal shaped "door" opens and we see some weird machinery and in shadow one of the occupants--a single eyed blob of a creature.

It exits the ship and explores the desert leaving in its wake a shimmery trail. John and Ellen charter Pete Davis (Dave Willock) to take them to the crater in his helicopter. They circle the crater and land near the rim. The three climb to the top and peer inside. John walks down to the floor of the newly formed crater insisting that Ellen and Pete stay up on the rim.


John sees the ship partially buried in the side of the mine, and also notices the shimmery substance near the exit of the ship. He stretches his hand out to touch the glowing material, but hesitates when he notices something inside the ship and stands up to face it. The door closes and slams shut triggering an avalanche of loose debris, burying the ship and almost killing John.

John climbs back out of the crater and explains what he saw, but Ellen and Pete do not believe him. Two cars approach the crater. Pete and Ellen beg John not to discuss what he saw--they think he was imagining it. Sheriff Matt Warren (Charles Drake) and Dave Loring (Alan Dexter), who runs the local newspaper, arrive on the scene. John starts to relay his story and the disbelief and ridicule starts.


Three more cars arrive at the crater. John, Ellen, and Pete fly back to the airport. John and Ellen drive back to his house. Along the way they are being observed. They encounter the creature on the highway as it appears to block their path on the road. John pulls to the side of the road thinking they hit it. Finding nothing they continue down the road.

The next morning the crater is a buzz of activity. A KLTV television news van pulls up. The Sheriff's office has set up a cordon around the crater admitting only authorized personnel. The military has sent a small group out to explore. John and Ellen arrive only to be hounded by the press.

John is there to meet with Dr. Snell. Dugan (Robert Carson) from American Press, and Lober (Dick Pinner) from Press Dispatch want to question John about the Sand Rock Star newspaper headline, "Star Gazer Sees Martians". They get no answers and turn their attention to Ellen, who is equally reluctant to talk to the press. John walks down into the crater to talk to Dr. Snell (George Eldredge).


His assistant, Bob (Bradford Jackson) is taking radioactivity measurements, but finds none. Snell is convinced it was just a meteor, and refuses Johns request to dig it out. As John heads back to his car, where Ellen was patiently waiting, he is confronted by Matt. He has known Ellen a long time and is concerned about her involvement with John. He is jealous. John and Ellen drive off.

As they are driving the see the county telephone linemen, George (Russell Johnson), and his boss, Frank (Joe Sawyer). John asks them if they've seen anything. Frank tells them he's hearing something very strange on the wires. Frank and George head down the road and encounter the creature. As he exits the truck, George is attacked and "globbed" or absorbed.


John and Ellen suspect something is wrong and turn around and head back in the same direction that George and Frank took. They find the empty telephone truck on the side of the road. John retrieves his gun from the car and they begin their search, starting with the truck. John notices blood on the truck door and the shimmery trail, a telltale sign of the xenomorph.


George appears to them, but is behaving very strangely. John notices Frank's arm on the ground, unmoving, the rest of his body is hidden behind a boulder. John and Ellen head back to town to get the Sheriff. John states his conclusion that Frank is dead, and it appears that George was the perpetrator. The xenomorph, now masquerading as George explains things to the human George and Frank.


The Sheriff reluctantly agrees to accompany John and Ellen back out to where they encountered George and Frank, but when they arrive the truck and any evidence is gone. The three drive back to town. The Sheriff returns to his office, but John notices George and Frank walking through town. John follows and confronts them. They warn John not to interfere.

Back at the Excelsior Mine, miners Sam (Edgar Dearing) and Toby (Warren MacGregor) are building a fire just outside the mine opening. They are waiting for Tom (George Selk) to return with food. Tom and his mule are just about back to the mine when the mule is spooked, and runs off. Tom turns around and is confronted by the xenomorph and is "globbed" or absorbed.

Sam and Toby think they hear something in the mine and enter it. As they exit the mine they are met by the creature and are also globbed. John and Ellen are summoned to see the Sheriff that evening. Frank's wife (Virginia Mullen) and George's girlfriend Jane Dean (Kathleen Hughes) have reported them acting strangely and now missing. Their clothes are also missing.

The sheriff questions John because he appears to be the last one to have spoken to either of them. Ellen takes Mrs. Daylon and Jane home in John's car. John stays with Matt to discuss the situation; he tells Matt that Frank and George are in fact the creatures from the space craft stuck in the crater.


The sheriff tells John that electrical equipment has been stolen from the hardware store and that Dr. Snell and his assistant, Bob, have been reported missing. John and Matt go out to the crater and find Dr. Snell's car, but no trace of Snell or Bob. Ellen is driving alone on the highway when she encounters Frank standing in the middle of the highway. She stops and he gets into the car.


Frank instructs Ellen to take him to the mine. Back at the Sheriff's office, the phone rings. It is for John, and he is informed that the xenomorphs have Ellen. The Sheriff and John drive out into the desert. John exits the car and searches for Ellen. He sees what appears to be Ellen on a ridgeline in a cocktail dress. He follows her. She leads him to the opening to the mine shaft.


A voice from inside the mine tells John that they are repairing their ship and will be leaving that night. The missing townsfolk are being held hostage. John begs to see the creature as it really is. It shows itself and John is horrified and repelled. He returns to see Matt who has been waiting by the car. Matt drops John off at his house. John notices the door unlocked and a shimmering trail leading back to an empty closet.

All of his clothes are missing. The Sheriff gives orders to clear everyone away from the crater. John tells Matt that he got a visit and his clothes are missing. Frank appears in town just outside the Sheriff's office. Matt is spoiling for a confrontation with the creature impersonating the lineman, but John restrains him. They fight. Frank drives off in his telephone truck.

The Sheriff forms an impromptu posse as John steals his police car and heads off to the crater. The Sheriff intends to confront Frank on the highway. Taking a shortcut through the desert, he forms a vehicle barricade across the highway. As Frank approaches, the posse opens fire. The truck careens off the highway and hits a boulder and bursts into flame.


Meanwhile John arrives at the mine entrance and enters. He finds alien Ellen. She tells John they only need a few more hours. She then attacks him with a wand that emits a beam that cuts through rock, but misses. He shoots her with his gun and she falls into a lake below and dissolves.


The posse arrives outside as John continues his exploration of the old mine. He hears machinery and finds the aliens in their human form making repairs to their ship. The head xenomorph has assumed John's identity. He explains their mission and the equipment's power. John demands Ellen's release as a sign of good faith.

Alien John reciprocates by ordering all the hostages released. As they depart the mine, alien John resumes his alien form. John seals the mine entrance with dynamite to keep the posse away from the aliens. The ground begins to rumble and the ship departs, streaking across the sky.




50's SCI-FI - 1953 / OTHER > > >




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1953

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1959



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