The Man From Planet X (1951)

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The Man From Planet X (1951)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:35 pm

The DVD release of this little Sci-Fi feature was released way back in 2001.  Some may have their laughs as the cheap sets are unveiled in the early sections of the picture but it seems like I was  a bit surprised at the entertainment value of even this subpar fifties sci-fi tale. About 20 minutes in, I noted how much this movie resembled a strange dream one might have on a Saturday evening. The whole plot about a runaway planet moving closer towards Earth (and not too many people are aware of it - just the inhabitants of this misty island) like some errant volleyball - maybe we can dropkick it away? It plays a bit with your mind and the tricks of perspective, which are always a little off in your dreams. Many viewers find the alien to be a bit creepy - and he (she?) did effectively startle the female cast member:

Just to veer briefly to director Edgar Ulmer and his other works. His best work may be The Black Cat from 15 years earlier (starring Karloff & Lugosi), which means all his later work in the fifties must be regarded as inferior. However, this little film, in terms of atmosphere, reminded me of that earlier film.  The star of this one, Robert Clarke, also starred in Ulmer's later work, Beyond the Time Barrier (1960). Of the actors, William Schallert, well known these days as the nice guy in many such films (see also the Disney comedy The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes for the prototypical nice Schallert role) stands out as the vicious villain of the piece! His attack on the alien still disturbs me a bit, after all these years. BoG's Score: 6 out of 10

X Trivia: To me, one of Schallert's most memorable roles turned out to be in the film Matinee (1993) - though he was actually in the film within that film, Mant! Yes, Mant! - the story of a man turning into a giant ant. Schallert started as his typical nice guy personality, a doctor treating the title character, but eventually evolved into something more sinister. That small role sort of encapsulated his entire career.
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