In JohnJosMiller by JohnJosMiller9 Comments

About Half Way There

So, I took most of the summer off. Not sure how that happened. I’ve decided to blame Jillie, the silver-striped tabby kitten we acquired early on in the season. One of Gail’s co-workers found her wandering on the street, about six weeks old and all of a pound and a half. We were a little concerned about bringing her into a house with several large males. But, not to worry. As it turned out, Nero (aka: Big Black Kitty) the 16 pound pure bred Persian we found seven years ago, really wanted a kitten. They became best friends immediately. All we had to do was feed her, he took care of the rest. Jillie apparently has a hollow leg. When we got her she ate at least twice as much as any of our full grown cats, and still does, but somehow she’s kept her long, lean figure. I wish I knew her secret. Anyway, she and Nero are still best buddies and everyone else has come around, even Skippy, the Halloween Chihuahua, who was quite skeptical at first.

But enough chit-chat. Let’s talk about movies. As long-time readers know, it’s been my ambition for the past two years to watch every sf movie from the 1950’s as listed by Bill Warren in his massive tome, KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. Well, the other day I reached a milestone and have seen 101 of the 214 or so films. Here’s a list, with capsule reviews of the top ten
If there’s a clamor (like, two comments) I’ll go on to review the dogs next time. Since this is going to be pretty long, It’ll be all text. Illustrations next time, maybe.

10+ Gojira (Japan)
The first and probably best Godzilla movie. A great achievement for its time, especially considering the devastation Japan had undergone a mere nine years previously. Not only is it technically superior to most sf movies of the 1950s, it combines giant monster destruction with telling social commentary. The first green sf film? Maybe.
10 Forbidden Planet
Beautiful setting. I grew up watching this film in black and white; seeing it in color was a revelation. Superior acting, great script which is a retelling of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST, a cautionary tale of a man unaware of his own limitations. Top-notch effects for its time, it also introduced one of the classic characters of 1950s sf cinema: Robby the Robot.
It Came From Outer Space
Superior script (not credited to, but largely written by Ray Bradbury) sets this first alien contact film above most others. It defies many of the conventions of 1950s sf cinema. Stars the very dependable Richard Carlson.
The CITIZEN KANE of Big-Bug Movies. The first (I think) and probably the best BBM, it set the template for all the rest. Superior script, superior acting by James Whitmore and James Arness. And watch for a brief appearance by a very young Leonard Nimoy.
Thing From Another World, The
Great claustrophobic alien let loose in house movie. Terrific script, direction, acting. Stars the always dependable Kenneth Tobey and James Arness as the alien carrot.
9+ Enemy From Space/Quartermass 2 (UK)
An (allegedly) booze soaked Brian Dunlevy grumps his way through the Quartermass role (easily the most cantankerous protagonist of a 1950’s sf film), taking on a hive-mind creature and its human zombie minions hellbent on turning the world into a giant slime pit. Excellent early Hammer and best of the 50’s Blob movies.
9 Crawling Eye, The/Trollenberg Terror, The (UK)
Superior, spooky alien invasion flick, let down only somewhat by its limited budget and sometime primitive special effects. Still, the aliens (apart from that taking over their minds to kill people thing) are adorable.
Creature from the Black Lagoon, The
First and by far the best of the Creature movies, with Florida standing in for the Amazon. The underwater scenes shot at Silver Springs are great. Not to mention the luscious Julie Adams. Also stars the ubiquitous Richards (Denning and Carlson).
Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers
Superior effort with a good script, good acting, and some great Harryhausen saucers. Co-stars one of my favorite character actors: Morris Ankrum (you know, the guy who always plays the general).
Mysterians, The (Japan)
One of the great alien invasion flicks of the 1950s. This one’s got everything. Giant killer robot. Creepy aliens who want our women. Flying saucers. A last-ditch battle which pits a newly-developed super weapon against the alien’s secret (initially, anyway) base. Fast-moving fun.
Rodan (Japan)
One of the classic giant monster movies. Starts out with big bugs attacking a coal mine, segues into really big flying reptiles devastating Japan. When I was a kid there was a program called Million Dollar Movie on WOR where they played the same movie like twice a day for an entire week. I probably watched this thing like ten times when it was on. The ending is sadly moving in its own way.
This Island Earth
Unfairly crucified by the MST 3000 movie (especially when there were plenty of much more deserving films out there). After all, who wouldn’t want their own interociter? An imaginative and colorful first contact movie ending on Metaluna (an extra-solar planet) that was much too short of a sequence.
8+ Caltiki, The Immortal Monster
H-Man, The
Invaders From Mars
World Without End
X The Unknown
8 Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man
Black Scorpion, The
Brain From Planet Arous, The
Deadly Mantis, The
First Man In Space, The
Godzilla Raids Again/Gigantis, The Fire Monster
It Conquered the World
Magnetic Monster, The
Monster That Challenged The World
3/ Plan Nine From Outer Space
3/ Teenagers From Outer Space
Vampire, The
Wasp Woman, The
Werewolf, The
7+ Alligator People, The
Man Who Turned To Stone
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea
War of the Satellites
7 Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman
4/ Cat-Women of the Moon
Blob, The
Blood of the Vampire
Brain Eaters, The
Cosmic Monster
Destination Moon
Earth vs. the Spider
From Hell It Came
Giant Claw, The
It Came From Beneath The Sea
Land Unknown, The
Man From Planet X
Monster on Campus
Target Earth
Twenty Million Miles To Earth
Creature With The Atom Brain, The
Man Who Could Cheat Death, The
Terror From The Year 500
6 27TH Day, The
Beginning of The End, The
Fury of the Congo
Hold That Line
Night of the Blood Beast
Queen of Outer Space
Rocket Ship X-M
When Worlds Collide
5+ Mole People, The
Unknown Terror, The
5 Day The World Ended, The
Flight to Mars
Riders to the Stars
Superman and the Mole Men
Tingler, The
Two Lost Worlds
4+ Abbott and Costello Go To Mars
Cosmic Man
Horrors of the Black Museum
Invisible Boy, The
Project Moonbase
Stranger From Venus
4 Beast With A Million Eyes
Bride of the Monster
Giant Gila Monster, The
Man Beast
Missile to the Moon
Phantom From 10,000 Leagues, The
Satellite in the Sky
3+ Bride of the Monster 3+
Lost Missile, The
Snow Creature
Space Master X-7
3 Prehistoric Women
Unknown World, The
War of the Colossal Beast
2+ Flying Saucer, The
2 Lost Continent
Mesa of Lost Women
1+ Astounding She-Monster, The
Fire Maidens of/from Outer Space
Incredible Petrified World
Phantom From Space
1 King Dinosaur
Teenage Monster


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