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4.6 3
Director: Kurt Neumann

Cast: Jeff Morrow, Barbara Lawrence, John Emery

Kronos was one of the better independently made sci-fi films of the 1950s, and an unusual one in that it was shot in an anamorphic (i.e. "scope") widescreen process. Directed and produced by Kurt Neumann, whose credits also include Rocketship X-M and The Fly, it also featured an unexpectedly good cast and a genuinely imaginative and unusual plot.


Kronos was one of the better independently made sci-fi films of the 1950s, and an unusual one in that it was shot in an anamorphic (i.e. "scope") widescreen process. Directed and produced by Kurt Neumann, whose credits also include Rocketship X-M and The Fly, it also featured an unexpectedly good cast and a genuinely imaginative and unusual plot. An alien creature comes to earth and occupies the body of a renowned scientist (John Emery), using his position to assist the creature's weapon, a huge metal robot that absorbs any form of energy, growing larger and more dangerous as it rampages across the country. A trio of scientists (Jeff Morrow, Barbara Lawrence, George O'Hanlon) who first tracked the device to Earth must find a way to stop it before the surface of the planet is laid waste. The Image Entertainment DVD is the first high-quality release of Kronos in any video format, all prior versions having been made from 16 mm pan-and-scan prints, which were not only missing half the image of the original film but also blurry and washed out. The picture here, mastered off of a restored 35 mm negative, is generally bright, sharp, and thoroughly detailed, with only a few signs of damage to the source material, all of which is momentary or minimal. The widescreen image gives one the chance to appreciate the wraparound nature of the computer-room set and the full detail and visual impact of the giant robot (given the name "Kronos" by one observer, hence the movie's title) as it rampages across the Mexican and California countrysides, particularly in one scene in where a helicopter lands on the metallic invader. The sound is also a significant improvement over earlier editions of the film, including the old Image Entertainment laserdisc. The dialogue is surprisingly clever at times, so the audio enhancement is a help there, but Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter's musical score is also given more impact. The music's worth can be attested by the fact that the main title music and principal action theme were later tracked into other science fiction films. One wishes for more of a supplement than just the film's trailer -- a narration would have been nice. But barring that effort, bios of the players wouldn't have hurt; how many sci-fi buffs remember, after all, that scientist hero George O'Hanlon, who provides some comic relief in the plot of Kronos, was later the voice of George Jetson? Or that John Emery, who plays the stricken Dr. Eliot, was a highly distinguished stage actor who had once been married to Tallulah Bankhead?

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Kurt Neumann's 1957 feature Kronos came near the tail-end of a science fiction cycle that had kicked off the decade with classy independent "B" productions such as Destination Moon and Rocketship X-M (the latter also directed by Neumann), before getting elevated by such "A" features as Howard Hawks' The Thing (1951), Robert Wise's The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), Joseph Newman's This Island Earth (1955), and Fred McLeod Wilcox's Forbidden Planet (1956) -- Neumann's The Fly, shot in color as well as CinemaScope and released the same year as Kronos, would mark the start of the closing phase of the "A" movie end of the science-fiction cycle, capped off with Ranald MacDougall's The World, The Flesh And The Devil (1959) and Wolf Rilla's Village of the Damned (1960), and from here until Hammer's Quatermass And The Pit and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in the second half of the 1960's, most of the sci-fi films produced would be of the "B" movie variety. Kronos was also a B-picture, but it was an unusually handsome one, shot in CinemaScope and released by 20th Century-Fox, with a cast featuring a Broadway veteran with a Shakespearean background (John Emery) in a key role; and displaying special effects that, if not always first-rate, were never less than fascinating in their design, detail, and execution. As with all but the best movies in this genre, the acting -- apart from Emery in the role of the elder scientist taken over by the invading aliens -- is uneven and the script could have used another pass or two by a good editor; but despite these flaws, and action that includes such odd moments as the rather nonchalant removal of a dead body from a crime scene before the police have even been called, Kronos never sinks too far into a juvenile level for it to be appreciated by adults. The unexpectedly compelling giant robot (it impact enhanced by a superb score from Bert Schefter and Paul Sawtell) held the attention of kids and their parents alike, and there was just enough real science mixed in with the pseudo-science gobbledygook that usually afflicts these movies ("omega particles," indeed!) to allow adults to follow along on a different level from the juvenile audience at its core. And just for another ace up the sleeve of the makers, there was legendary cinematographer Karl Struss shooting this mix of strange, moody futuristic scenes at Lab Central, bleak desert and beach scenes, and the animated/life action mix attending when the robot of the title rampages across Mexico and California. Even cast members Rex Reason and George O'Hanlon, and fetching Barbara Lawrence, manage to rise to the occasion, despite the scripts occasional lapses into weak dialogue, unclear motivations, and absurd leaps of logic, though it was clear that Morrow was having more fun in The Giant Claw.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Image Entertainment
Region Code:
[B&W, Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital, monaural]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeff Morrow Dr. Leslie Gaskell
Barbara Lawrence Vera Hunter
John Emery Dr. Eliot
George O'Hanlon Dr. Arnie Culver
Morris Ankrum Dr. Albert R. Stern
Ken Alton McCrary
John Parrish Gen. Perry
Richard Harrison Pilot
Marjorie Stapp Nurse
Robert Shayne General
Don Eitner Weather Operator
Gordon Mills Sergeant
John Halloran Guard
Jose Gonzales-Gonzales Manuel

Technical Credits
Kurt Neumann Director,Producer
Chester L. Bayhi Set Decoration/Design
Irving A. Block Original Story,Producer,Special Effects
Jodie Copelan Editor
Louis de Witt Producer,Special Effects
Block de Witt Special Effects
Lawrence Louis Goldman Screenwriter
Theobold Holsopple Production Designer
Menrad von Mulldorfer Special Effects
Jack R. Rabin Producer,Special Effects
William Rheinhold Special Effects
Paul Sawtell Score Composer
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Bert Shefter Score Composer
Karl Struss Cinematographer
Gene Warren Special Effects

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Index
1. Main Title; The Asteroid [4:30]
2. Labcentral [7:04]
3. Susie's Temperament [4:35]
4. Collision Course [6:20]
5. Splashdown [3:59]
6. Mystery in Mexico [6:28]
7. Up from the Depths [4:37]
8. Kronos [3:57]
9. Too Close [5:14]
10. Power Mad [9:18]
11. A Thermonuclear Threat [3:09]
12. The Energy Eater [3:17]
13. Bomb Run [5:14]
14. The Plan [2:12]
15. On the Rampage [2:46]
16. Self-Destruction [5:31]

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Kronos 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
AlchemystAZ More than 1 year ago
OMG the thing is stomping undocumented workers in the field! OMG the boss has mercury in his head and dreams come from under flasks of dry ice! OMG the Palomar Telescope ground floor has a great echo and looks like a painted backdrop. And, surprise surprise, Mexican food is HOT. I love this movie, and especially its ending, which is similar to the buried ship in 5 MILLION YEARS TO EARTH. Glow those wicked veins, outer space invaders. I wish someone would invent a way of shorting out real atomic weapons, like sucking them up as K.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This great Sci-Fi indie still looks and feels grand today. It's got the typical stalwart hero who's always got more on his mind than his beautiful girlfriend..the wacky scientists with the female names for their computers..those fun-stereotypical-(for the day) Mexican villagers..and that great movie title. I love the moody melodramatics in the beginning of the film, the fine CGIless special effects throughout and the almost Jaws-like what's -below-the -surface scenes in Mexico..all played out in glorious black and white..with a few color sequences as a bonus. This is a Giant movie with a most unusual giant that goes up against the Army and Air Force, where we get to see actual footage of those early aircraft of the day. Who cares if it's all unbelievable..that's what we all like about these films. The action has a nice pace to it...starts slow and menacing and builds to a big climactic battle...the dialog is rich in 50's metaphors..and has that nice innocent romance between the male/female leads. You can't help but go nuts about this flick.
Guest More than 1 year ago