It Came from Outer Space (1953)
Critic Consensus: It Came From Outer Space is a pulpy-but-effective psychological sci-fi picture, with a provocative message about xenophobia.
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as John Putnam
as Ellen Fields
as Frank Daylon
as Sheriff Matt Warren
as Pete Davis
as Dave Loring
as Dr. Snell
as Snell's Assistant
Critic Reviews for It Came from Outer Space
Picture has been smartly fashioned to take advantage of all the tricks of science-fiction and 3-D.
The 3-D process leaves the image somewhat murky, but you can discern sparks of authentic pulp poetry throughout.
The hokey "xenomorphs" would egregiously emphasize the film's subtle indictment of human prejudice.
Audience Reviews for It Came from Outer Space
Well here we are again with another Ray Bradbury story ('The Meteor') given the big screen treatment. But this time the movie just happened to be the first 3D release by Universal International, the first movie in the big 3D science-fiction wave of the 50's. Not only that the picture was directed by the one and only Jack Arnold who was no stranger to this genre. What could go wrong? Well first things first, the plot is kinda unexciting to be honest. You're stereotypical smartly dressed (dare I say...white) leading couple happen to spy a meteor as it crashes to Earth...once again in the deserts of the American West. Of course it isn't a meteor but a crashed alien spaceship, of course. The duo try to explain this to the locals but no one believes them and a rockslide has since buried the ship. Soon enough various locals start to disappear and then reappear but in a zombie-like state. This eventually leads to the Sheriff believing the story and delving deeper. Having tracked down the entrance to the crashed alien ship through a mine, our protagonist attempts to communicate with the aliens before the Sheriff blows them away with his trusty gun. He discovers that the aliens are quite harmless and merely crashed on Earth whilst on route to another destination. They are in fact shape-shifters and take the form of humans they have kidnapped in order to move around and gather the materials they need to repair their ship. The kidnapped humans are not harmed. That's literally it! That is the plot in its entirety. So as you can imagine the story is the usual slow pace you would come to expect from a picture like this. That's not a bad thing but when the plot is as thin as this it ain't great either. Most of the run time is spent following the protagonists around as they literally drive back and forth through the desert to various locations to speak to various people (usually the same ones!). I swear you see the same locations and backdrops in shots over and over (but I guess the desert does look similar). Yep as with most of these old sci-fi flicks its all desert desert desert. You'd think the movie might have become more creepy or fun when people start disappearing and reappearing as zombies, nope. People pop up in a zombie-like trance and merely walk around without showing any emotion. Sure the musical score does it best to try and convey pending doom and terror but it doesn't really work. It might have been more interesting to see some kind of mark or defect on the zombie humans to add intrigue. Admittedly you are thinking that the aliens have taken over their brains or killed the humans replacing them with copies, but alas it's not that cool. The aliens themselves aren't seen much at all. We get a small glimpse of them towards the finale as one leaves the mine. What do they look like? Well they look like large pulsing slimy blobs of veiny jelly with a single big eye slap bang in the middle. They also appear to have tiny arms with claws. I believe they move like snails as they leave a shiny glittering trail of something on the ground as they go. They basically look like H.G. Blob in [i]Futurama[/i] or the pleasure GELF Camille in [i]Red Dwarf[/i] (both probably inspired by this movie). Its a good job they are shape-shifters though because their original form would be no good for anything...such as basic construction. Naturally they are also hyper-intelligent and seem to be able to project holograms of themselves or appear in spirit form before people? I dunno. We get these weird sequences from an alien point-of-view as they watch and approach people in the air...or something, like an apparition. Still, they are admittedly quite eerie looking. Gotta be honest, I wasn't all that impressed with this one. Having read up on it the movie did relatively well and is now seen as a bit of a classic! Personally I don't see this. It's not a bad movie it's just very slow with nothing much to show in the outcome. Heck the movie even carries on for some time after we have discovered the aliens are friendly and merely trying to rebuild their ship, yet still nothing really happens. I mean, there's nothing wrong with the plot, the movie just feels like a waste of time. It feels like maybe it should have been a [i]Twilight Zone[/i] episode. I guess the one highlight in this movie is the fact the aliens are, for once, intelligent friendly. They have to hide their true forms because they know humans would be afraid. They try not to cause panic and alarm (although kidnapping people was a wrong move). In the end the aliens are actually more afraid of humans, or at least alarming humans, than the humans are of the aliens. Although I'm not sure if the aliens are genuinely afraid of Humans simply hurting them, or afraid to allow their technology to fall into Human hands. Inadvertently giving a dangerous aggressive species more potential to cause harm. Not wanting Humans to know of life beyond the Earth. Anyway, it looks good, well shot, solid acting, and a solid looking alien. But overall so very dull and aimless.
The strengths are all in the story - and it's a beauty.
Now this is a pretty good Chiller Theater / Drive In Movie, one that has gotten by me all these years. Put out by Universal Pictures International it ranks as high as any SCi Fi Film from the fifties that I have ever seen. Brian Kerwin plays Jack Putnam who see's what at first he thinks is a meteor but turns out to be a UFO that has landed on earth, when he goes to the crash site he thinks he sees invaders from another planet. So starts the story where no one believes him, but the invaders are taking over the appearances of towns folks. A good old black and white worth 4 stars.
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