The Monster That Challenged the World
Arnold Laven's The Monster That Challenged the World has proved one of the more durable horror/sci-fi movies in the United Artists catalog -- not that the film is that inventive, but the script is based on a surprisingly sensible idea (inspired by fact) and is intelligent in the way it develops the tension in the story. The casting is ever so slightly offbeat (Hans Conreid plays a straight dramatic role, but some other cast members, most notably Milton Parsons, have some funny scenes), and the monsters are quietly memorable in their low-key, low-tech way. Previously available as part of an MGM/UA laserdisc box, the movie makes its debut on DVD in a beautiful full-screen digital transfer. The movie looks great -- one brief scene (alas, one of Milton Parsons' scenes as the museum curator) has a minor flaw in the film source -- and the sound is clean as well, though mastered at a fairly low level that will require doubling the volume setting. The chapters are generous as well although, as part of MGM's Midnite Movie series, there is no insert to list them. The menu opens automatically on start-up and is easy to maneuver, not surprising since there aren't any real "extras," just the movie, chapters, and a choice of French and Spanish subtitles. But for a $15 list price it's difficult to complain. The film has been mastered full-screen, ever so slightly compromising the suspense in one chilling suspense sequence, but the 1.33:1 aspect ratio generally works perfectly.