Tuesday, 12 January 2010
DVD: CLASSIC SCI-FI
Seven Science Fiction movies from the 50's which, I would like to say, greatly influenced my early love of SF, but it wouldn't be true. I only saw one of these at the cinema and that was The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) which probably saw in 1958 when I was around ten. The rest I saw some years later on tv. With the exception of Tarantula! (1955) and, to an extent, Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954), they can all be considered early classics, or landmarks, in SF cinema and this, for the price I paid (less than a tenner), is good value to have this collection in its individual slimline cases.
I excepted Tarantula! and Creature on the ground that they're creature-features rather than genuine SF. The former is bog-standard stuff (you can see the real tarantula's legs partly disappearing from time to time), the latter is very good of its type (the monster not being completely unsympathetic) and both were directed by Jack Arnold.
Arnold also directed the terrific Shrinking Man which holds up really well and It Came From Outer Space (Jack Arnold, 1953)which probably looked much better in its original 3-D, at least to judge from the comments in the accompanying documentary. The latter is unusual in that aliens look totally alien and aren't bad guys. This can't , of course, be said for Invasion of the Body Snatchers (directed by the great Don Siegel, 1956) which still holds up as a masterpiece of paranoia and as the best version of the story, even with the studio-imposed happy ending.
That leaves The Thing From Another World (1951) and the only film in the set to get a 12 rating as opposed to PG. Debate still goes on over whether or not Christian Nyby directed it or producer Howard Hawks. Oddly, I like it better than when I first saw it, though I love John Carpenter's body-popping remake. Lastly is This Island Earth (1955) an early space-opera which is rather overshadowed by its contemporary Forbidden Planet but is still one of the influences on Star Wars. It's also the only colour movie in the set, though there is also a colourised version of Body Snatchers to choose from -but don't.
Apart from It Came and Creature which both have decent documentaries and other stuff, these are very much bare bones editions -trailer and subtitles and that's it. Still, it's a nice set for an sf movie fan.