25
May
13

it came from outer space, the 60th anniversarry.


poster

poster

Return of the Jedi is not the only movie celebrating an Anniversary today.. Lets go back 60 years to the date of May the 25th 1953. Universal releases one of it’s first big sci-fi films. “It Came from Outer Space”  The film is directed by the incredible Jack Arnold who brought us the creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954, Tarantula in 1955, and Was a big contributor to the early episodes of Gilligan’s Island. This movie is very unique in the fact that it was based on a Ray Bradbury story and is played off very seriously in it’s tone and visual style. The monster a hideous ethereal creature that we both see as it terrorizes it’s victims as well as from it’s liquidy point of view. This is an early alien invasion masterpiece that set the stage for more of it’s kind to follow. Lots of fun and I highly recommend it if you have not already.. below are some plot and production notes from Wikipedia.

PLOT

An Author and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Carlson) and schoolteacher Ellen Fields (Rush) watch a meteorite crash near the small town of Sand Rock, Arizona. After visiting the crash site, John notices a strange object in the crater and believes that it wasn’t a meteorite that crashed after all, but an alien spaceship. After a landslide covers the mysterious craft, John’s story is ridiculed by the townspeople, sheriff (Drake), and local media.

Even Ellen is unsure of what to believe, but agrees to assist John in his investigation. Over the next several days, a number of local people disappear. A few return but they seem distant and dazed. Eventually, Sheriff Warren becomes convinced that a meteorite wasn’t involved and he organizes a posse to hunt down the invaders. Alone, John hopes to reach a peaceful solution, so he goes into a mine which he hopes will lead him to the buried spacecraft and its occupants.

It transpires that the aliens are benign beings whose spacecraft crashed because of malfunctioning components. They planned to stay on Earth just long enough to replace the parts, and then to continue their voyage. Whilst the aliens true appearance resembles a large one-eyed jelly-like being that glides over the ground, leaving a glistening trail, they are also able to shape shift. To allow themselves to move freely in human society to collect the parts they need to repair their ship, they subsequently kidnap and take the form of some of the local townspeople. However, they are unable to reproduce the townspeople’s personalities, leading to suspicion, and eventually the deaths of two of the alien crew members. After John Putnam manages to seal them off in an abandoned mine to protect them from the advancing posse, and to give them time to repair their ship, they do so and leave, but not before releasing all of the missing townspeople unharmed.

production

The screenplay was by Harry Essex, with input by Jack Arnold, and was derived from an original screen treatment by Ray Bradbury (although it is said Ray Bradbury wrote the original screenplay and Harry Essex merely changed the dialogue and took the credit).[2] Unusual among sci-fi films of the day, the alien “invaders” were portrayed as creatures without malicious intent. The film has been interpreted[who?] as a metaphorical refutation of supposedly xenophobic attitudes and ideology of the Cold War.

“I wanted to treat the invaders as beings who were not dangerous, and that was very unusual”, Bradbury said. He offered two outlines to the studio, one with malicious aliens, the other with benign aliens. “The studio picked the right concept, and I stayed on.”[3] He has called the movie “a good film. Some parts of it are quite nice.”[4]

In 2004, Bradbury published four versions of his screen treatment for the movie as a single volume, It Came From Outer Space.

The uncredited music in the film was by Irving Gertz, Henry Mancini, and Herman Stein.

The Universal make-up department submitted two alien designs for consideration by the studio executives. The design that was rejected was saved and then later used as the Metaluna Mutant in Universal’s This Island Earth (1955). The special effects created for the spacecraft in flight consisted of a wire-mounted iron ball, with hollowed out ‘windows’, and ignited magnesium inside. The Arizona setting and the telephone lineman occupation of two of the characters are elements from Bradbury’s younger life, when his father moved the family to Tucson.

Urban legend has it that an extra in an army corporal’s uniform at the “meteor” crash site is comedy writer-performer Morey Amsterdam. While the briefly glimpsed man does indeed resemble Amsterdam, no hard evidence (e.g., cast call bureau records, interviews with Amsterdam) has ever confirmed it is actually him. The most recent of Universal’s 2002 DVD release of the movie comes with a documentary, “The Universe According to Universal,” written and directed by David J. Skal, and an audio commentary by Tom Weaver, in which Weaver also notes the similarity of Morey Amsterdam.

the discovery of the space ship

the discovery of the space ship

the creature

the creature

when in trouble with aliens, call the cowboys

when in trouble with aliens, call the cowboys

it's the professor,,, Russell Johnson in one of his early roles

it’s the professor,,, Russell Johnson in one of his early roles

 

 

 

 

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5 Responses to “it came from outer space, the 60th anniversarry.”


  1. May 26, 2013 at 1:09 am

    Never seen this one. Although the plot makes a nice change from the alien invaders stories of those cold war times.

    Might have to look this one up.

    • 2 johneaves
      May 26, 2013 at 7:02 am

      it’s a hoot you’ll enjoy it for sure. the DVD with the running commentary is really cool to listen to as well.

  2. May 26, 2013 at 4:21 am

    I too have not seen this one.
    Even to day you don’t get many films about aliens not trying to Invade us. (unless it a kids film.)
    Been a while since I last saw a B-Movie. I’ll have to check this out.

  3. May 26, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Great film, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen it twice, years ago and just a few weeks ago on TCM. They were running a series of Richard Carlson films, so I recorded and watched a few of his Sci-Fi films from back in the day. :)

    I like the benign “we’re just trying to fix our ship and go home” plot of the aliens and how it’s misconstrued by the people living in the nearby town, because it’s true. This is how you’d expect people to react to an alien landing, especially one where the aliens are copying people and nobody knows what happened to the originals. Of course, it’s just camouflage so that they can walk in the town in plain sight and get supplies to fix their ship, but nobody knows that. So, the humans react the only way they know how to a situation like that, violently. It’s a study in human behavior and how people would likely react to an alien “invasion,” no matter the intent of the aliens. Plus, the aliens are cool and creepy looking. I didn’t know that a rejected alien design for this film was used for This Island Earth. Coincidentally, I saw that one recently too, for the first time. (loved it too)

    Fun fact: This film was Universal’s first film to be filmed in 3D. I know, some people are probably thinking: “3D back in the 50s? No way.” But, it’s true. In fact, 3D is something that has been tried many times over the past 60 or so years, but it’s typically a fad that only lasts a few years. But, even without seeing it in 3D, the effects are still fantastic.

    It’s good to see you’ve got some time to post again, John. I really enjoy these film anniversaries. (and the rest of your posts too) Sometimes, it’s a film I know and like and other times it’s something I haven’t ever seen and may want to try. Either way, it’s an enjoyable experience. :D


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