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

Thursday, November 3, 2011


PHANTOM FROM SPACE (1953). Director: W. Lee Wilder.

A man in a helmet with no head attacks two men and kills them, but primarily because they saw him as a menace and alarmed him. The authorities then enter the picture and try to track down the creature. It seems this "phantom" is an invisible alien who is trying to communicate with earthlings and not having much luck -- or vice versa. A police lieutenant named Bowers (Harry Landers) is one of those trying to get to the bottom of the mystery represented by the phantom. The movie is well-intentioned but rather dull. Director Lee Wilder was the brother of the much better-known and more celebrated Billy Wilder. Most of Lee Wilder's directorial effects were cheapie creepies like this film and the more entertaining Killers from Space but he did nail one out of the ballpark with the excellent Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons starring George Sanders.  Harry Landers, who looks a lot like Ed Kemmer, did mostly televisions work, and was uncredited as the man with Miss Lonelyhearts in Hitchcock's Rear Window. There are no other name or even near-name actors in Phantom. Nice closing music by William Lava.

Verdict: You can miss it and still have a full life. **.

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