Monday, March 25, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958) *½

NR, 65 min.
Director: Nathan Juran
Writer: Mark Hanna
Starring: Allison Hayes, William Hudson, Yvette Vickers, Roy Gordon, George Douglas, Ken Terrell, Otto Waldis, Eileene Stevens, Michael Ross, Frank Chase

“Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” is a B-movie classic, and it’s about as good as most B-movie classics are, which isn’t a shining endorsement of its quality. It takes the notion of many an Atomic Age movie of an alien presence invading (after passing over some Far Eastern regions) and creating a monster mutation upon an iconically American community. In this case the attacked is a rich wife of a philandering weasel.

The events take place in a very small western town. Small so the production could shoot cheaply on a Hollywood backlot. Western so the landscape surrounding Los Angeles could fill the location shooting for any western area. The special effects are a pretty good example of just how cheap this film’s budget was. In 1958, film trickery had come much further than this film would evidence. Notice how the giant characters are transparent. Not an artistic choice.

The film does have its charms. I particularly liked the deputy played by Frank Chase who acts as the movie’s comic relief. Also take notice of the prospector—well out of place time period wise—who is prospecting for uranium. Ha! Little nudges in the ribs like that can make a film like this enjoyable to people who like dissecting the genre, but there is little here for the sophistication of the modern filmgoer.

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