THIS ISLAND EARTH
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Prepare to blast off from planet Earth in one of the most popular classic sci-fi films of all time! When atomic scientist Dr. Meacham (Rex Reason) is chosen to take part in a top-secret research experiment in a remote lab, he quickly discovers that he is really involved in an evil scheme by alien Metalunans to take over Earth. After he and the gorgeous Dr. Adams (Faith Domergue) make their escape shortly before the lab explodes, they are whisked away in a flying saucer to Metaluna, where they are blamed for the destruction. Will interstellar negotiation save the day or will the scientists be forced to take part in a treacherous battle to the death? Featuring incredible special effects that were 2 1/2 years in the making, this is one adventure that you have to see to believe!
A mysterious, pilotless plane carries scientist Rex Reason to a colony of America's best and brightest minds. They've been kidnapped by a dying alien race, the Metalunians, to repair their defense shield before their enemies destroy their world completely, toiling under their spying eyes and futuristic security cameras (two-way TVs that dominate every room). Jeff Morrow, under a raised forehead, bronze tan, and snow-white hair, philosophizes as Exeter, the thoughtful Metalunian torn between his duty and his morals as he forces the plucky humans to labor in his race's defense. The moody mystery of the first half turns to pure pulp adventure when the humans are transported across the galaxy to the battle-scarred world of Metaluna, under the threatening watch of a monstrous bug-eyed monster with a giant brain for a head and massive claws for hands. There's a genuine sense of wonder to Joseph Newman's intergalactic adventure, one of the most ambitious science fiction films of the 1950s. The story is simple space opera, but the futuristic designs of glass and metal, the marvelous alien makeup, and grandstanding special effects invest the film with a Technicolor splendor. Faith Domergue co-stars as a nuclear physicist and Gilligan's Island's Russell Johnson makes his first professorial appearance as a scientist. Science fiction auteur Jack Arnold was an unbilled codirector. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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A physicist working on new power from uranium and the transmutation of elements to create more uranium, gets involved in a project of a far grander scale. Replacement parts are ordered for the lab but the parts that arrive seem far superior to anything that should be available. Then a catalogue of other equipment arrives and soon the lab is set on building a strange device.
The device is a communications console which puts the scientist in contact with a white-haired man seeking out talented scientists to tackle the issue of world-wide peace. The scientist joins a small think-tank of top researchers who are working on increasing the energy available from nuclear reactions. But it soon becomes apparent that all is not what it seems. The head of the project, and his assistant, are actually aliens. They are hoping that the human scientists can come up with a way to save their home planet.
The story then escalates to include the alien world and their plight at the hands of a second, and vicious, race of aliens. We learn of motives, deceits, and how far the peaceful will go to save their own home. Distrust and compassion struggle against one another until the film's conclusion.
This is not a typical B-movie of alien invasion. Unlike most of that type this film was not a quick project. Two and a half years were spent in the making so that the film is pretty well consistent within itself. The pacing of the plot's revelations is well handled and almost resembles a classic tale of A.E. van Vogt. This is definitely a film for fans of the great black and white science fiction films.
Second, I see someone complaining about the effects. They're incredible! They would stand up to many current movies. The makeup job on the injured insect slave is incredible, and the scenes of the ship entering the atmospheres could not look more realistic.
The bottom line is movies like this fall into the shadow of todays billion dollar budgeted, 90% computer animated, brainless, meaningless explosion packed films that a retarded kindergartner could write, and thus go unappreciated for their true creativity.
Luckily, every part of the movie's fabric is strong enough to act as a support beam to hold the immense weight of its storyline. For 1955, the special effects are state of the art and heavily invested in. These hold up impeccably today because the team had crafted something miles beyond sticking sparklers in the tail pipes of die-cast models or messing about with thirty-nine cent wire devices.
Makeup is first rate also, even that of the much-assailed crustaceoid guard. Interestingly (but hardly surprisingly), Jack Arnold (the Godfather of monster makeup) was the one who directed the climactic scenes involving this hostile being. Comprised of the fruits of some very hard work (SFX were two years in the making), 'This Island Earth' looks almost too good to be true. Consequently, it shouldn't take much to appreciate that there is no fair way to make fun of this film or any aspect of its appearance without seriously scrutinising the work in very fine detail.
PLOT - Essentially friendly aliens make contact with top notch Earth scientists to aid in the defence of their home planet Metaluna. However, by the time Exeter (the alien Earth expedition leader) manages to transport two of these nuclear boffins back to Metaluna, it's too late: Metaluna is being destroyed by an enemy civilisation. Exeter and his superiors formulate a last ditch plan - to colonise Earth and make Mankind docile to their orders.Read more ›
It's also a film with a fair bit to interest movie history buffs [feel free to skip the next three paragraphs if you have no interest in this kind of stuff - oh, and thank you to the IMDb, which formed the basis for much of my research]. The female lead is played by Faith Domergue, who apparently got her start in movies largely as a result of being Howard Hughes' mistress - from the age of fifteen. On a note that is perhaps then ironic, but certainly less disturbing, her character in this film is actually portrayed as a highly accomplished scientist in her own right. She's hardly a protagonist of stature equal to the male lead, and yes, she does do her share of screaming, but she is there on her own merit. She doesn't get to be where the action is just because she's someone's daughter or nice or wife; unlike so many other female characters from the science fiction of the day.
To me, the most interesting thing about the male lead actor is that "Rex Reason" is actually his real name: the one he was born with. Seriously, who could have come up with anything better for an atomic age science fiction star? He seems to have enjoyed quite a successful career as a character actor and B-movie lead, and is still alive and kicking today at the age of 81.
And finally of course we come to Jeff Morrow. While not playing what would normally be considered the leading man of the piece, he does get top billing. He is also generally accepted as having given the most compelling performance of the movie. By contrast with "Rex Reason", "Jeff Morrow" is actually a stage name.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is the type of movie I used to watch when I was very young. It still has its appealPublished 23 months ago by Gordon Rickards
I can remember seeing this in a theatre when I was about ten years old. Enjoy it just as much now.Published on April 25 2013 by Weirdmum
I remember seeing this movie when I was a kid and being blown away by it. Of course, that was forty years ago and special effects and so on have come a long way in the meantime,... Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2013 by Captain Canada
Let's see -- hole-filled plot, cold war hysteria, wooden actors, and a plot that turns out to be completely pointless. Read morePublished on May 1 2011 by EA Solinas
This film is a really lame duck, mainly because it had so much potential, but the makers obviously ran out of money and couldn't finish it properly. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2009 by Hale & Hardy
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