Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


TARGET EARTH (1954). Director: Sherman A. Rose.

A young lady. Nora (Kathleen Crowley), who was in deep sleep wakes up to discover that there is no one in her apartment building, and indeed the streets of the unnamed city she resides in are completely deserted -- until she encounters businessman Frank (Richard Denning) and they meet up with Vicki (Virginia Grey) and her boyfriend Jim (Richard Reeves) swilling champagne in a bar. Seems this motley group was left behind for one reason or another when the city was evacuated due to the invasion of steel electromagnetic robots from Venus. With a plot like that it sounds as if Target Earth would at least be entertaining, but while the opening scenes showing Nora exploring the city are quite striking and good at getting across her sense of isolation, the picture doesn't develop in a particularly interesting fashion. Even introducing a killer with a gun (Richard Roark), doesn't help much, nor does the fact that there is some decent attempts at characterization. The ladies in the cast are much, much better than the men, with the exception of Roark. Denning is as blandly amiable as ever, and Reeves is similarly lightweight. Arthur Space (Panther Girl of the Kongo) and Whit Bissell (Creature from the Black Lagoon) play Army men trying to deal with the outer space menace in separate sequences. The best thing you can say about the movie, aside from the opening sequences and some of the performances and a couple of interesting directorial touches, is that it's moderately better than the decade-later The Earth Dies Screaming, which had a very similar plot line. Rose only directed three movies and mostly did television work.

Verdict: Throughout the movie you only see one robot. **.

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