Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties, The 21st Century Edition / Edition 21

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Long recognized as the definitive reference work on the hundreds of science fiction movies that from 1950 through 1962 terrified and fascinated a generation with zombified teenagers, robots, invading aliens and monsters of every kind, Bill Warren's Keep Watching the Skies! is greatly expanded in this 21st Century Edition. With new entries on several films, it also revisits, revises and expands the commentary on every film in the 1982 and 1986 two-volume edition.

In addition to a detailed plot synopsis, cast and credit listings, and an overview of each film's critical reception, Warren delivers richly informative assessments of the films and a wealth of insights and anecdotes about their making, often drawing on remarks by the filmmakers that have emerged in the quarter century since the original edition. The book is arranged by film title, contains 273 photographs (many rare, some in color), has seven useful appendices, and concludes with an enormous index.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
film history students and science fiction buffs alike will enjoy this impressive work...highly recommended
very well indexed and cross referenced...recommended
handsomely produced new edition is the premier reference for this subject...all of the essays are newly revised...highly recommended
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—This long-overdue revision of the magisterial original (volume one, 1982; volume two, 1986) offers lengthy, richly informative, and extensively revised essays on hundreds of films, packing the entries into one hefty volume and rearranging them from chronological to a more accessible alphabetical order. Film scholar Warren opens with perceptive reflections on the history, common motifs, and enduring appeal of the era's science-fiction movies, then in an unfailingly lively style goes on to examine releases from the renowned The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Manchurian Candidate to the likes of Teenagers from Outer Space and Attack of the Crab Monsters. While limiting his purview to feature films (not serials) with at least perfunctory scientific content released theatrically in the U.S. from 1950 to 1962, Warren includes within extensive back matter a long list of excluded films from the period, with explanations as to why they were left out. Other extras include a release-date index, a list of announced-but-never-made titles, and a huge multimedia resource list. Enhanced by hundreds of black-and-white stills, plus two arresting sections of posters in color, this opinionated but clear-eyed and authoritative labor of love will not only draw scuttling hordes of researchers but also turn even casual browsers into rabid fans. It is a significant addition to any pop-culture collection, even those including such broader but far shallower guides as C. J. Henderson's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Movies (Facts On File, 2001) or Phil Hardy's The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction (Overlook, 1995).—John Peters, New York Public Library
Library Journal
In Warren's own words, this is "a revision, correction, addition, and expansion" of an earlier edition published over 20 years ago. It covers hundreds of films released in the United States between 1950 and 1962 that contained an element of science fiction, defined here as a fantasy "in which the fantastic element is rationalized as being explicable in scientific terms." Entries include scholarship and trivia about each film, as well as film history and pop culture from the perspective of the author, who first viewed them as a child. The themes explored encompass the changing role of women in these films, the move from movie to television, standard plots and gimmicks (e.g., Communists and radiation), the visual style, and the change in intended audience from adults to teens. The extensive preface is well worth reading, as it provides a broad explanation of the historical and popular culture in the United States during the time the films were made. BOTTOM LINE Film history students and science fiction buffs alike will enjoy this impressive work and find it relevant to their needs, be they entertainment or scholarly. —Sarah Sutton, Texas A&M Univ., Corpus Christi
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786442300
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/16/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 21
  • Pages: 1040
  • Sales rank: 702,676
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Writer Bill Warren lives in Los Angeles, California. Research associate Bill Thomas is a lead reference librarian and lives in Lancaster, California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Howard Waldrop Waldrop, Howard 1

Preface 5

Source Abbreviations 20

The Films 21

Appendix I Films in Order of Release 921

Appendix II Oh, Yes, They're the Great Pretenders 923

Appendix III Announced Titles 929

Appendix IV The Bowery Boys 931

Appendix V 1950s Movies That Have Been Remade 932

Appendix VI Science Fiction Serials of the 1950s 932

Appendix VII Notable Posters of the Period 933

Appendix VIII One More Film 935

Appendix IX Farewell to the Birdman of South El Monte 937

Bibliography 939

Index 943

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    A real treat for 50's sci-fi movie buffs

    This books has everything - cast & crew lists, plot summaries, commentaries, stills, posters, fun facts - for great films, bad films, childhood favorites, and some films I had never even hear of before. Wonderfully entertaining.

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  • Posted December 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The best book on the subject ever... and possibly forever

    I've been reading the original edition for years and I've always said to myself "this book would benefit from an update" because even though it was comprehensive and complete, it was released in 1984 and data (specially about actors and directors) was largely outdated. And now it's here, an updated and extended edition. Entries are now alphabetically ordered (I don't know if this is better or not, I did like a lot the year-by-year order of the original), it includes more pictures (some posters in color), the book is hardcover and (at last) all entries are updated. It's a bit sad because now you can see almost everyone related to the making of these movies are gone, but at least is information included on the book. Some aditional info about DVD editions and newly discovered backgroud information is also included.

    I don't think there is another book about 50's sci-fi american movies as comprehensive as this one, and I doubt it will ever be. It's simply the definitive guide on these movies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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