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

Thursday, June 11, 2009

THIS ISLAND EARTH


THIS ISLAND EARTH (1955). Director: Joseph M. Newman.

"Ruth, don't tell me that, as a woman, you're not curious about our destination?"

Scientist Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) is sent instructions on how to build an "interocitor," an amazing machine through which he is contacted by an odd, white-haired man named Exeter (Jeff Morrow). Apparently Meacham has passed a test just by being able to build the machine, and before long he's being flown through fog to an isolated mansion where he finds other scientists working on behalf of Exeter, including Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue). It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that Exeter is from another planet, Metaluna, in fact, where the climax of the film takes place [as well as in outer space]. While the movie never rises above a comic book level in all matters, on that level it is very entertaining and fast-moving. The scenic design of Metaluna is still quite effective, and it's a neat touch that the planet's cities are located beneath a layer of upper crust. The big insectoid mutants with their grappling hook hands are also neat. Reason is competent, Domergue is lively and sexy as usual, and Morrow, although one could call him hammy at times, plays the material with just the right note. A fifties sensibility to be sure, but colorful and fun. Newman's direction is serviceable but little more.

Verdict: All systems go! ***.

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