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  • Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

    This started in the War on Terror thread (don't ask me how we got there), but the favorites are:

    1. Plan 9 from Outer Space
    2. Attack of the Crab Monsters
    3. The Crawling Eye

    I want to add
    Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (the saucers do a number on DC).
    THEM

    Some others -- they I think were British
    The Giant Behemoth - big brontosaurus with some nuclear powers does a number on London.

    Start listing them and why you love them.
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  • #2
    Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

    Before this thread decides if it will live or die, let's all acknowledge something here:

    With the possible exception of the really old people on this board (I'm looking at you, Old Pio and Dr. Demento), pretty much all of us are going to be basing this off of our experiences with Mystery Science Theater 3000, right?

    My answer would be "Eegah", but I'm pretty sure that one was in the 60s somewhere.
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    • #3
      Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

      The original Godzilla (1954) has to be near the top of my list. They even somehow got Raymond Burr to appear in the 1956 US version (Godzilla, King of the Monsters, which, in IMDB, appears to have the same cast as the original except for him). That's the prototype for all the "nuclear accident transforms benign creature into terrible monster" genre.

      At the very top of the list, so good that it's even on my list for one of the best movies of all time, open competition, is The Day the Earth Stood Still. The combination of realism and idealism is deftly handled, and the special effects are almost non-existent yet the story is so compelling, and the titular event is so masterfully staged. I still remember "Gort: Klaatu barada nicto" quite vividly (having watched it several times). It's a bare-bones archetypal story, if you've never seen it, you definitely should.

      DrD already mentioned Creature from the Black Lagoon. If no one yet has mentioned Them (with an appearance by James Arness) that definitely deserves to be on the list.

      and who can forget The Blob, with Steve McQueen no less!



      Forbidden Planet received raves in some quarters, being based on The Tempest and all, but I never could get much into it, it was a bit, um, plodding, for my taste (if you've seen the movie you know I'm making a pun here )
      Last edited by FreshFish; 09-28-2012, 06:32 PM.
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      • #4
        Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

        It's not a movie, and it only had one season in the '50s, but my dad got me hooked on The Twilight Zone. He watched it when he was growing up and has passed that love onto me. During the holiday marathons we'll sit down and watch a few hours at a time. Very few series are consistent with quality in every episode. Seinfeld comes to mind, but The Twilight Zone is, in my opinion, one of the greatest shows of all time. Only one or two clunkers.

        It's funny how nuclear war was a topic in so many episodes. Now it's just used in fantasy plots, but back then it was a real threat.
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        • #5
          Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

          Originally posted by ExileOnDaytonStreet View Post
          With the possible exception of the really old people on this board (I'm looking at you, Old Pio and Dr. Demento), pretty much all of us are going to be basing this off of our experiences with Mystery Science Theater 3000, right?

          um, no...most of these were televised pretty regularly throughout the 1960s and 1970s and 1980s. Anyone who was a kid in Chicagoland throughout that period remembers WGN and Frazier Thomas and Saturday Afternoon Classics or that Saturday night movie show with Vampira.

          Also, for your edification, "really old" is in your 80s.....the fastest growing age cohort in the population is 90 - 100. if you are in your late 60s it is now the "latter stages of middle age."
          "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

          "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

          "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

          "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

            Originally posted by Spartanforlife4 View Post
            It's funny how nuclear war was a topic in so many episodes. Now it's just used in fantasy plots, but back then it was a real threat.
            No kidding! Along with tornado drills and fire drills, we also routinely had civil emergency drills in elementary school during the 1960s, which was code word for "what to do in event of nuclear attack." You cannot imagine how frightening it was when we first began to comprehend what that actually meant.
            "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

            "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

            "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

            "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

              For me "War of the Worlds" with Gene Barry is memorable. Scared the bejeezus out of me. The only flick that ever did. I was in about 3rd grade, and called my older brother to come pick me up. Those big, glowing, Martian spaceships gliding down the street, zapping everything in sight with their ray guns, really shook me up.

              All three of the "Creature" flicks were great: "Revenge of the Creature," "The Creature Walks Among Us."

              "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" (Ray Harryhausen stop motion at its best) was also outstanding.

              But the hands down, all time greatest 50's sci-fi flick ever, nothing even close, is "Them." Terrific cast (not the customary gaggle of no names): Edmund Gwenn, James Arness, James Whitmore, Fess Parker etc. Good fake monsters. Outstanding sound track (that "giant ant" sound is a classic). Good script. Well directed. And, to my knowledge, the film that started the whole "radiation made them get real big and real nasty" genre.

              As so MST3K: the flicks screened there were generally 3rd rate, even for sci-fi films. The really good (read: expensive) films were rarely if ever screened.
              Last edited by Old Pio; 09-28-2012, 06:51 PM.
              2011 Poser of the Year & Pulitzer Prize winning machine gunner.

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              • #8
                Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

                Originally posted by ExileOnDaytonStreet View Post
                Before this thread decides if it will live or die, let's all acknowledge something here:

                With the possible exception of the really old people on this board (I'm looking at you, Old Pio and Dr. Demento), pretty much all of us are going to be basing this off of our experiences with Mystery Science Theater 3000, right?

                My answer would be "Eegah", but I'm pretty sure that one was in the 60s somewhere.
                Appreciate your reference to me and OP. I may be somewhat senior to most on the board but I have the advantage of a younger vivacious wife with bodacious tatas. My list for the scifi movies of the early years included many that were mentioned already but i must add The Thing From Another Planet. James Arness as that giant carrot creature was just menacing. As a child i saw that in the movie theatre and distinctly remember a few scenes that were later cut and never put back. Similar to what was done with the original King Kong and the scene with the Giant Spider creatures after Kong knocks all the sailors off the big log and they fall down into the ravine. Them! was a classic (if you watch carefully the first credit is in color and then the movie is in black and white. (they did not feel it would be received well enough to warrant spending the money to produce the movie in color). Also add the original Invaders From Mars and of course the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Most of these scared the heck out of me-and i must admit sometimes even now they still do.
                Take the shortest distance to the puck and arrive in ill humor

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                • #9
                  Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

                  Are we digging up these films to resurrect MST3K? Please....
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                  • #10
                    Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

                    Originally posted by Old Pio View Post
                    For me "War of the Worlds" with Gene Barry is memorable. Scared the bejeezus out of me. The only flick that ever did. I was in about 3rd grade, and called my older brother to come pick me up. Those big, glowing, Martian spaceships gliding down the street, zapping everything in sight with their ray guns, really shook me up.

                    All three of the "Creature" flicks were great: "Revenge of the Creature," "The Creature Walks Among Us."

                    "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" (Ray Harryhausen stop motion at its best) was also outstanding.

                    But the hands down, all time greatest 50's sci-fi flick ever, nothing even close, is "Them." Terrific cast (not the customary gaggle of no names): Edmund Gwenn, James Arness, James Whitmore, Fess Parker etc. Good fake monsters. Outstanding sound track (that "giant ant" sound is a classic). Good script. Well directed. And, to my knowledge, the film that started the whole "radiation made them get real big and real nasty" genre.

                    As so MST3K: the flicks screened there were generally 3rd rate, even for sci-fi films. The really good (read: expensive) films were rarely if ever screened.
                    And if you look quickly you can see a young Leonard Nimoy in THEM!.
                    Take the shortest distance to the puck and arrive in ill humor

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                    • #11
                      Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

                      Originally posted by FreshFish View Post
                      um, no...most of these were televised pretty regularly throughout the 1960s and 1970s and 1980s. Anyone who was a kid in Chicagoland throughout that period remembers WGN and Frazier Thomas and Saturday Afternoon Classics or that Saturday night movie show with Vampira.

                      Also, for your edification, "really old" is in your 80s.....the fastest growing age cohort in the population is 90 - 100. if you are in your late 60s it is now the "latter stages of middle age."
                      Ahhh, Frazier Thomas. Garfield Goose, who thought he was king, and typed out messages with his beak.

                      You probably remember Ned Locke, too (Ringmaster Ned). During my time at DU WGN purchased Channel 2 in Denver and renamed it KWGN. At that same time a couple of us were getting some "go" chicken at Denver Drum, and who should be standing in line but Ned Locke? I thought I was pretty cool about it, didn't make a big deal, just casually asked him "who's minding the circus?' "or I almost didn't recognize you without your whistle" or something stupid. He gave me a big grin. And we chatted for a moment or two. Think about it: Ringmaster Ned!!!!!
                      2011 Poser of the Year & Pulitzer Prize winning machine gunner.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

                        In addition to the many great ones already mentioned (Them!, Day the Earth Stood Still, and Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in particular):

                        The three Quatermass movies and their BBC serials -- understated British sci-fi

                        Horror Hotel (aka City of the Dead) -- not sci-fi, but best witchcraft movie ever made

                        Pretty much anything by director Val Lewton (e.g., the original Cat People)

                        The Beginning of the End -- Peter Graves tries to save Chicago from giant grasshoppers

                        The Day the Earth Caught Fire -- Brit sci-fi with the immortal Leo McKern

                        Forbidden Planet -- shocked it hasn't been mentioned yet

                        Kronos -- giant electricity-sucking robot clunks across the southwest

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                        Last edited by Kepler; 09-28-2012, 07:30 PM.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

                          Originally posted by DrDemento View Post
                          And if you look quickly you can see a young Leonard Nimoy in THEM!.
                          In the hospital?
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                          • #14
                            Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

                            Originally posted by Kepler View Post
                            In the hospital?
                            Nope-Fess Parker is the supposed mental patient. Nimoy is in a military uniform and has only a couple of words as he passes a report to someone. Watch carefully next time-it is a very short cameo.
                            Take the shortest distance to the puck and arrive in ill humor

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                            • #15
                              Re: Favorite 1950's SciFi movies

                              Originally posted by DrDemento View Post
                              Nope-Fess Parker is the supposed mental patient. Nimoy is in a military uniform and has only a couple of words as he passes a report to someone. Watch carefully next time-it is a very short cameo.
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