This Island Earth

This Island Earth

3.7 4
Director: Jack Arnold, Joseph Newman

Cast: Jack Arnold, Joseph Newman, Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue

     
 

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For reasons that defy logic, the excellent This Island Earth was held up for ridicule as an allegedly bad movie in the film version of TV's Mystery Science Theater. If not the best science-fiction film of the 1950s, Earth is certainly one of the most intelligent and elaborate. The story begins when the image of Exeter (Jeff Morrow), a huge-domed

Overview

For reasons that defy logic, the excellent This Island Earth was held up for ridicule as an allegedly bad movie in the film version of TV's Mystery Science Theater. If not the best science-fiction film of the 1950s, Earth is certainly one of the most intelligent and elaborate. The story begins when the image of Exeter (Jeff Morrow), a huge-domed scientific genius from the planet Metaluna, appears on an experimental 3D television screen. Exeter invites several noted scientists from around the world to work on a top-secret project at Exeter's earthly mansion. Among those accepting the invitation are Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) and his ex-fiancee Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue). Soon, Cal and Ruth learn Exeter's true motives; to use the Earth's atomic knowhow in building a defense shield to protect Metaluna against the enemy planet Zahgon. Eventually, Exeter boards his high-tech flying saucer and whisks Cal and Ruth off to his dying planet, where, among other perils, they are menaced by a hideous mutant. Based on a novel by Raymond F. Jones, This Island Earth is one of those rare 1950s speculative films that holds up as well today as it did when first released, despite the comparative quaintness of the special effects and high-tech paraphernalia. Incidentally, the climactic Metalunan scenes were directed by Universal's resident sci-fi specialist, Jack Arnold.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
One of the most beloved sci-fi movies of the '50s (and deservedly so), This Island Earth spins a thoroughly satisfying tale from the usual atomic-age tropes (alien invaders! giant mutants!). Plot motivation derives from the frantic efforts of humanoid aliens from Metaluna to develop new sources of atomic energy to defend their imperiled planet. To this end, Earth's finest scientists are recruited by a Metalunan named Exeter (Jeff Morrow), who ultimately transports Drs. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) and Rita Adams (Faith Domergue) to his dying world. The special effects sequences -- which include a dandy when Exeter's rocket ship is buffeted by meteors while en route to Metaluna -- are primitive when compared to today's computer-generated imagery, and the makeup designed for a half-human, half-insect mutant is positively laughable in comparison to today's sophisticated latex applications. Despite Joseph M. Newman's relatively sober direction of a script, faithfully adapted from Raymond Jones's famous pulp yarn, This Island Earth may come off to today's viewers as hopelessly cornball, and oft-reproduced scenes of the statuesque Domergue being menaced by the mutant have become part of camp iconography. But at the time of its theatrical release in 1954, this film was considered less sensational and more forward-looking than most of its contemporaries, and even today its sobriety and sincerity shine through. Highly entertaining.
All Movie Guide - Steven E. McDonald
Just keep in mind that while you're doing whatever you're doing, big-headed creatures from space are watching you and making plans. Well, at least they are in this better-than-average science fiction movie. The big-headed creatures are Metalunans, one of whom has set out to seek help from Earth. Metaluna is under attack, and help is needed from Earth -- help that Exeter, in human disguise or otherwise, has been sent to gather. The film is not just about the special effects or the plot line; this is a polemic rather than a tale, warning against the expansion of atomic energy concerns and the misuse of resources. By way of telling about the Metalunan disaster, it warns against the hubris of the age and the consequences of this hubris. The Metalunans descend into tragedy on the scale of grand opera, warning the human cast to walk the narrow way -- never forgetting the Metalunans in the meantime. Disaster, whether atomic, military, or ecological, is only a mistake or two away. This Island Earth, sometimes unfairly picked on, is well worth seeing, especially if a video triple bill with Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still can be arranged.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/22/2006
UPC:
0025192013621
Original Release:
1955
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:26:00
Sales rank:
4,137

Special Features

Closed Caption

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeff Morrow Exeter
Faith Domergue Dr. Ruth Adams
Rex Reason Cal Meacham
Lance Fuller Brack
Russell Johnson Steve Carlson
Douglas Spencer Monitor
Robert Nichols Joe Wilson
Karl Ludwig Lindt Dr. Adolph Engelborger
Richard Deacon Pilot
Coleman Francis Expressman
Edward Hearn Actor
Regis Parton Mutant
Eddie Parker Mutant
Olan Soule First Reporter
Robert B. Williams Webb
Jack Byron Photographer
Spencer Chan Scientist
Mark Hamilton Metatunan
Edward Ingram Photographer

Technical Credits
Jack Arnold Director
Joseph Newman Director
Alexander Golitzen Art Director
William Alland Producer
Leslie I. Carey Sound/Sound Designer
Franklin Coen Screenwriter
Fred Frank Asst. Director
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Joseph E. Gershenson Musical Direction/Supervision
Julia Heron Set Decoration/Design
David S. Horsley Special Effects
Henry Mancini Score Composer
Edward G. O'Callaghan Screenwriter
Rosemary Odell Costumes/Costume Designer
Millicent Patrick Makeup
Robert Pritchard Sound/Sound Designer
Richard H. Riedel Art Director
Hans J. Salter Score Composer
Herman Stein Score Composer
Clifford Stine Cinematographer,Special Effects
Virgil Vogel Editor
Bud Westmore Makeup

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This Island Earth 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
AlchemystAZ More than 1 year ago
A delightful movie and certainly a black eye for Mystery Science Theater's sawed-off shotgun of juvenile satire. Don't pay any attention to Anonymous and No Text reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago