Attack of the 50-Foot Woman

Attack of the 50-Foot Woman

3.0 1
Director: Nathan Juran

Cast: Allison Hayes, William Hudson, Yvette Vickers

     
 

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Attack of the 50 Foot Woman may well be one of the worst science-fiction films of all time, but that's not to say that it isn't thoroughly enjoyable. Allison Hayes achieved screen immortality as Nancy Archer, the wealthy, dipsomaniac wife of shameless philanderer Harry Archer (See more details below

Overview

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman may well be one of the worst science-fiction films of all time, but that's not to say that it isn't thoroughly enjoyable. Allison Hayes achieved screen immortality as Nancy Archer, the wealthy, dipsomaniac wife of shameless philanderer Harry Archer (William Hudson). When she witnesses the crash landing of a alien spaceship -- whose occupant is a 30-foot giant, dressed in the manner of a medieval Frenchmen! -- Nancy goes to the local sheriff (George Douglas) with her story, only to be laughed off as a drunken crank. Even the local TV anchorman makes cruel fun of Nancy on his nightly newscast. Meanwhile, hubby Harry is making whoopee at a roadhouse with his latest tootsie, Honey Parker (Yvette Vickers). Not long afterward, Nancy, who's been exposed to the radiation of the spaceship, begins to feel queasy. Within a few days, she has grown to the height of 50 feet and is lumbering around the countryside clad only in a gigantic towel, smashing houses and trees in search of her faithless husband ("HARRY-HARRY!!!") Hilarious in its ineptitude (the special effects are particularly shoddy), Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is impossible to dislike, which cannot be said of its slicker but less entertaining 1993 cable-TV remake (with Darryl Hannah in the title role).

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Nathan Juran's Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is an astonishingly enduring piece of cinema from the low-budget end of its genre and decade. Shot in less than two weeks, on a budget of under $100,000, the movie has been laughed at as a title and ridiculed as a film for more than 40 years, and not even the made-for-cable remake in 1993, starring Darryl Hannah, has done much to raise the reputation of the original. Yet Juran's movie, with all of its flaws, has managed to keep its place in the hearts of cineastes and 1950s pop-culture enthusiasts for close to a half-century. The reason may lie in the currents that run through the fabric of its script and images, revealing aspects of the era in which it was produced that give it a power over viewers far greater than the cheap special effects. Those seeking an explanation must arrive at the conclusion -- unfathomable at the outset -- that Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is a far more thoughtful film on a subliminal level than its script or plot summary would lead one to believe. Its script is steeped in concerns that were the stuff of article and newspaper headlines in 1958: unfair divorce laws in a hypocritically puritanical 1950s United States; a fascination with unidentified flying objects and the early phase of the "space race" ("Everybody's seeing satellites these days," William Hudson's Harry Archer remarks derisively, a reference to the real-life existence of and panic over the Soviet Union's Sputnik and its successors); and, in Harry Archer's philandering, Yvette Vickers' sluttish Honey Parker, and the sleazy tavern where their affair is carried out (with the neglectful sheriff and the admiring deputy as onlookers), an admission that there were fatal rips running through the social fabric of American life. The pitiful special effects aren't entirely as ineffective as one thinks -- the obvious use of a doll to replace William Hudson at the denouement of Nancy Archer's murderous attack on her unfaithful husband, and the inadequacy of the alien giant's one lengthy appearance, are almost made up for by former art director (and architect) Juran's effective use of smoke, metal conduit, sound effects, and a few oversized magnifiers in the brief vignette aboard the alien ship; and Ronald Stein's larger-than-life scoring patches a lot of other holes that the budget and the resulting tight shooting schedule left onscreen. As entertainment, the movie ends up being far more potent than its makers could have hoped, leavening its sci-fi and horror elements with a certain degree of humor, both as depicted on screen in the guise of the inept deputy (Frank Chase, in a role that stands midway between Dennis Weaver's Chester on Gunsmoke and Don Knotts' Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show), and arcing over the preposterous story. Allison Hayes is sympathetic as the heroine, William Hudson is convincingly smarmy as her homicidal husband, and George Douglas is believable as the sheriff. If Nancy Archer's home doesn't look like it's worthy of someone with $50 million, the tavern where much of the action takes place is nicely sleazy and realistic, down to Stein's solid rock & roll dance music. And somewhere in there is the kernel of a proto-feminist message in the overall story arc.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/20/2011
UPC:
0883316397053
Original Release:
1958
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:06:00
Sales rank:
25,243

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Allison Hayes Nancy Fowler Archer
William Hudson Harry Archer
Yvette Vickers Honey Parker
Roy Gordon Dr. Cushing
George Douglas Sheriff Dubbitt
Ken Terrell Jessup Stout
Otto Waldis Dr. Von Loeb
Eileen Stevens Nurse
Mike Ross Tony (& Space Giant)
Frank Chase Charlie
Michael Ross Tony

Technical Credits
Nathan Juran Director
Mark Hanna Screenwriter
Edward Mann Editor
Jacques Marquette Cinematographer,Executive Producer
Philip Mitchell Sound/Sound Designer
Ronald Stein Score Composer
Carlie Taylor Makeup
Bernard Woolner Producer

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