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Movie Review: It Came from Outer Space.

From the 1950s Science Fiction Podcast.

By Edward GermanPublished 12 months ago 10 min read
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Hello, and welcome to my podcast show on 50s sci-fi. I hope that you are enjoying my podcasts and will continue to listen to my show. I now have over 25 episodes published and continue to record new shows. Today's topic is the classic 1953 science fiction/horror movie: It Came from Outer Space. This movie is a favorite of mine and holds a special place in my fandom. This movie was the first sci-fi movie I watch on the late-night Saturday horror host show. I will talk more about that later, now on the show.

The Movie.

It came from outer space and was produced by William Alland, directed by Jack Arnold, and released by Universal Pictures. The movie was based on a script by Ray Bradbury however, the screenplay was written by Harry Essex. The run time is 80 minutes and was made in black-and-white. The movie was released to the public on June 5, 1953. The movie is also presented in 3-D at selected theaters. The two principal players are Richard Carlson as John Putnam, an amateur astronomer, Barbara Rush as Ellen Fields who is Putman's girlfriend, and one supporting cast member is Russle Jonshon, who plays a telephone lineman George. Johnson is best known for playing the professor on the Giligains Island TV show from the 60s. I had mentioned him in a previous podcast on the movie This Island Earth.

It starts with a meteor falling to Earth.

A meator passes very close.

The movie begins with what appears to be a meteor impacting the Earth and leaving a crater in the Arizona desert. The event is witnessed by Putman and his girlfriend Ellen Fields, who just had a romantic dinner and started stargazing just as the object became visible. After watching the object cash, they both travel out to the creator and look at the meteor. Once there, Putman sees an aperture or opening of some kind, but a rockslide covers that side of the crater. The next morning the site is swamped with the local sheriff and the media. Putman tells the Sherriff what he saw but he can't prove it, he starts to realize that the object could be an alien spaceship.

Alien ship.

Strange things start happing around town.

Aliens? Frank and George?

Putman is convinced that an alien ship of some kind has fallen to Earth and sets out to find evidence. While John and Ellen were headed home, Jon's car nearly hits a strange-looking object. John serves and misses it then stops to check the road. Puttum doesn't see anything blocking the road. He and Ellen are sure they saw something but don't know what to make of it.

The next day after visiting the crater, John and Ellen stop to chat with two telephone linemen; one of which is played by Russel Johnson. They know both of them and John asks the lead lineman, Frank, if they and seen anything unusual. They both say no but; Frank tells John that they hear a strange noise coming over the lines. John is allowed to listen to the noise, Frank tells him it is the strangest thing he has ever heard and that someone is taping into the lines from either direction.

Both John and Ellen leave the lineman and go back to town. On the way they decide to stop and head back to talk with the lineman to see if they had seen anything. As John pulls up to their truck, he notices that everything appears to be quite ordinary. However, upon closer inspection, he realizes that something might be amiss. The linemen are nowhere to be found and they become concerned. Eileen becomes startled by a hand touching her back and it turns out to be George, Russel Johson's, he assures them that everything is ok. When they ask about Frank, he tells them he is fine. John and Ellen notice that George is behaving very strangely, talking unusually, and even looking up at the sun without blinking.

While conversing with George, John notices a hand on the ground behind a nearby rock. Concerned it might belong to the murdered Frank, John cuts their conversation short and they head back to town. They stop by the sheriff's office to report their experience and take him to the spot where they found the linemen. However, upon arrival, they discover that the truck is gone and there is no evidence of a crime. Despite their explanation, the sheriff remains skeptical and they return to town. Ellen expresses her worry about George's odd behavior, particularly his unblinking stare at the sun.

Are You OK?

After dropping off the Sheriff at his office, John spots Frank and George in town. He approaches them and offers his assistance. Frank assures John that his friends are safe and that no one will be harmed unless they get involved. Although John wants to stop them, he ultimately allows them to continue.

Why won't you belive us?

Ellen has been kidnapped.

John and Ellen were asked to go to the Sheriff's office that evening. Upon arriving, they met the wife and girlfriend of the lineman who had been talking to the Sheriff. The women reported that the linemen's behavior was strange, as they refused to eat and claimed they would be working on a new project overnight, which would cause them to be away most of the time. After the women left with Ellen, Puttun stayed behind to discuss his beliefs about extraterrestrial visitors with the Sheriff. Despite Puttun's claims that aliens can disguise themselves as humans, the Sheriff remained skeptical until he received reports of theft from hardware stores and a missing scientist at the crash site. The Sheriff and Puttun then went to investigate.

As Ellen was driving home from her meeting with the Sheriff, she encountered Frank standing in the middle of the road. He got into the car and Ellen asked where he had been since he had been sought after. Ellen offered to take him home, but Frank declined and instead requested that she drive to the mine entrance. It was then that Ellen realized something was amiss, as Frank suddenly transformed into an alien.

Oh NO!

The Sheriff and Putum came back to the office empty-handed after searching for the missing scientist. They only found his vehicle and had no clue about his whereabouts. Suddenly, the phone rings, and the Sheriff hands it over to Puttum. The caller informs Puttum that they have Ellen and want to meet him alone at the abandoned mine.

The Sheriff and Putman go to the desert and find themselves near the mine. John stays in the desert until he sees Ellen, who takes Putman to the mine entrance and then disappears. John hears an alien's voice from the mine entrance and talks to it. The alien explains that they accidentally landed on Earth and are trying to fix their ship before leaving. Although the alien assures John that Ellen is safe and is being held hostage to ensure repairs are made, John remains suspicious. Putman distrusts the alien and wants to see it, but when it appears from the mine shaft, he is terrified by its appearance.

After encountering an alien being, John reunites with the sheriff and shares that the aliens accidentally crash-landed on Earth and are planning to leave soon. However, the sheriff is skeptical and wants to take immediate action, but John persuades him that it would put Ellen and others in danger. Eventually, the sheriff agrees to follow John's advice and wait it out.

Puttman returned to the Sheriff's office the next morning to report a break-in at his home. When he arrived, he discovered that the door had been forced open and there was a trail of dust leading up to his closet. He soon realized that the aliens had visited his house and stolen some of his clothing. Although the Sheriff was patient, he was agitated about the situation. While the Sheriff saw Frank walking down the street and wanted to detain him, Puttman objected to having him questioned, leading to an argument. Amid the argument, Jonn stole the Sheriff's gun, allowing Frank to escape.

Is it Ellen?

The Aliens leave in a hurry.

John hastily exits the Sheriff's office, taking both the gun and patrol car. Puttum rushes to the mine shaft to alert Ellen and the Aliens. Meanwhile, the Sheriff forms a posse, enlisting men from the street, and equips them with rifles to locate Frank. Roadblocks are set up to prevent Frank from reaching the mine. Eventually, Frank is spotted and attempts to bypass the roadblock, resulting in a fatal truck crash.

As John reaches the mine entrance, he encounters an Alien posing as Ellen. The Alien accuses John of betraying their trust and failing to protect them. John explains that he tried to stop the Sheriff and had come to the mine to warn them of the approaching posse. Ellen reveals that they had to resort to violence and demonstrates the power of her wand by firing a beam of light that destroys the surrounding rock. John takes cover and shoots back, killing the Alien posing as Ellen.

Duck!

While searching for the real Ellen, John hears some noise coming from a tunnel. When he investigates, he discovers the rest of the aliens working on their spaceship. They are in human form and are shocked and amazed that he found their location. John approaches the leader, who has taken on the form of John Puttums. The leader tells John that they have been working for over 1000 years to make space travel possible for their beings. He would rather destroy themselves and the ship than fall into the hands of the sheriff's posse, who are waiting just outside the mine entrance for any signs of the aliens to emerge.

Puttum successfully convinces the alien leader to maintain hope and assures them that he can prevent any attacks from the angry mob. He secures the release of the hostages and escorts them out of the ship, starting with Ellen. Puttum ensures that all those who were captured are safely led out of the mine. As they exit, he has the mine entrance destroyed to prevent any further entries or exits. The group reunites with the Sheieffs and witnesses the alien ship take off from the crater with a large explosion. Ellen inquires if they will return, to which John responds that it would be a while before they do, as humanity is not yet prepared to face them.

It does seem strnge talking to yourself.

My Thoughts.

This science fiction movie from the 1950s is one of the best. I believe it deserves a grade A rating if not an A minus. The movie has an excellent storyline and touches on social issues of the time through its dialogue. One of the reasons why it's appealing is because it plays on the fear of Communist invasion and foreign agents posing as regular citizens. These types of sci-fi movies were popular during the Cold War, much like how zombie stories are popular today.

lets go!

As a child, I enjoyed watching this movie on late-night television. The visual and audio effects were particularly impressive to me. Although I have not watched it in 3-D, I have heard that the ship crash sequence utilizes this technology. The producers also used more simple effects creatively, such as the Theremin to add a creepy vibe whenever the aliens appeared, and a camera effect to show things from the aliens' point of view. However, the scene that stands out the most to me is when the linemen discuss the noise in the phone lines. It made me, at just 10 years old, believe that monsters were lurking somewhere in the desert - which, as it turns out, there were.

As I mentioned earlier in the show, Shock Theater was a locally produced program from a TV station that I used to watch. It was common for TV stations to create their shows between network programs in the 60s and 70s. The show was hosted by Dr. Shock, played by Tommy Reynolds, who worked for WTVC Ch9 broadcasting from Chattanooga TN. Dr. Shock played a vampire in a black cape, and a white shirt, and carried a scepter with a skull on it. He interacted with his sidekick, a vampire bat named Dingbat, who was a puppet. Before introducing a movie, Dr. Shock would speak in an otherworldly voice while Dingbat provided comic relief. Through Shock Theater, I discovered classic sci-fi/horror movies such as The Blob, It! The Terror from Beyond Space, and The Quatermas Experiment. Watching these movies late on a Saturday evening with low lights and when my parents were asleep was a lot of fun.

As we reach the end of today's program, I'd like to give a special shoutout to Tennessee Macabre. This streaming TV show pays homage to the classic horror host shows of the past but with a modern twist of internet streaming. The show is hosted by Deke and Grim, who add their own unique humor to the program. They feature some fantastic sci-fi and horror movies from the 50s, including The House on Haunted Hill, The Giant Gila Monster, and The Tingler. Although it's been some time since I last watched their show, I still believe it's excellent and highly recommend checking it out. If you're interested in learning more about Deke and Grim, please visit their website tennesseemacabre.com, and follow them on Twitter @TennesseeMacab1. They would be delighted to hear from you.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode. I hope you found it enjoyable. I will be back with a new episode soon. Your feedback and support would be greatly appreciated. For updates on my social media, please visit my Linktree profile at eg/1985. You can also email me at [email protected].

movie review
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About the Creator

Edward German

A long-time sci-fi fan who loves the internet. I am also writing on subjects other than sci-fi.

you can follow me on "X" @EdwardGerman3 Listen to my podcast The 1950s Science Fiction Podcast on Spotify for Podcasters.

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