This Island Earth

( 4 )

Overview

This Island Earth has led something of a charmed life in the decades since its conception. One of a handful of 1950s science fiction films made in color, it benefited from a superb original story by Raymond F. Jones, excellent photography and special effects, and fine supporting performances behind some sincere, if stiff leads. The tale of scientists who encounter a super-advanced technology (which proves to be of extraterrestrial origin) is well executed once viewers gets past some flaws in the script, such as ...
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Overview

This Island Earth has led something of a charmed life in the decades since its conception. One of a handful of 1950s science fiction films made in color, it benefited from a superb original story by Raymond F. Jones, excellent photography and special effects, and fine supporting performances behind some sincere, if stiff leads. The tale of scientists who encounter a super-advanced technology (which proves to be of extraterrestrial origin) is well executed once viewers gets past some flaws in the script, such as the fact that the aliens, for all of their super-intellects, have waited until it is almost too late to begin their plans, whether they involve seeking help from Earth's scientists or invading the planet. The special effects are some of the most impressive and convincing in a feature film of any era, rivaling those of Forbidden Planet. The Image/MCA DVD is a straight transfer of the film with no extras except a chapter breakdown. Luckily, the film elements on this movie were so good to start with -- a reflection of the relative respect with which MCA-Universal treats this movie -- that the DVD is something special to look at and hear. Clean, bright, and crisp, with all the details plainly visible (even the rivets and lettering on the skin of the jet in front of which Jeff Morrow is standing in the opening shot), one only wishes that there were an extra or two, such as a trailer.
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/8/1998
  • UPC: 014381426823
  • Original Release: 1955
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:26:00
  • Format: DVD

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
Jack Byron Photographer
Spencer Chan Scientist
Richard Deacon Pilot
Coleman Francis Expressman
Mark Hamilton Metatunan
Edward Hearn
Edward Ingram Photographer
Eddie Parker Mutant
Regis Parton Mutant
Olan Soule First Reporter
Robert B. Williams Webb
Technical Credits
Jack Arnold Director
Joseph Newman 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
Alexander Golitzen Art Director
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 Salter Score Composer
Herman Stein Score Composer
Clifford Stine Cinematographer, Special Effects
Virgil Vogel Editor
Bud Westmore Makeup
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Scene Index

Side #1
0. Chapters
1. Main title; Washington D.C. [4:19]
2. The green glow. [3:54]
3. The bead condensers. [5:19]
4. Assembling the interociter. [8:10]
5. Welcome aboard. [3:35]
6. Reunion with Ruth. [3:28]
7. Arrival at the club. [9:53]
8. The conspirators. [7:55]
9. Nowhere to run. [3:53]
10. A strange journey. [7:42]
11. Into the tubes. [6:15]
12. On approach. [2:41]
13. Metaluna. [2:16]
14. The monitor and the mutants. [5:59]
15. Narrow escape. [6:06]
16. Back to earth. [4:26]
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Menu

Side #1
   Feature Start
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A delightful movie and certainly a black eye for Mystery Science

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews