I was honored when friend of MovieFanFare/frequent contributor Rick Armstrong asked me to be a part of the Classic Film and TV Cafe‘s National Classic Movie Day celebrations by naming my favorite films from the 1950s. Since I’m a huge science fiction fan, I decided to put a spin on this by naming five far-out flicks from the era that are among the greatest genre films ever made. They are as follows:
Steve McQueen‘s first leading role was as a teenager who, along with his girlfriend (Aneta Corsaut), tries to stop an ever-growing, gelatinous outer space creature from swallowing people whole and running amok in their small town. Classic low-budget sci-fi shocker was shot in Downingtown and Phoenixville, Pa.; bossa nova-flavored theme song by Burt Bacharach and Mack David.
Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” was the inspiration for this this milestone science-fiction adventure set in the 23rd century. A spaceship commander (Leslie Nielsen) and his crew land on a distant planet in an attempt to locate the members of an expedition that traveled there decades earlier. They discover only two survivors–a scientist (Walter Pidgeon) and his beautiful daughter (Anne Francis)–as well as an eons-old alien force of great power that could destroy them all. Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, and Robby the Robot also star.
The original sci-fi chiller about scientists of an Arctic outpost who find an alien spaceship and its passenger buried in the ice. When the creature is thawed out, it unleashes a rampage of horror. Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan and James Arness, in the title role, star. Produced by Howard Hawks, who reportedly had a hand in helping helmer Christian Nyby. AKA: “The Thing from Another World.”
Classic sci-fi drama with a message stars Michael Rennie as Klaatu, an emissary from the stars who arrives on Earth with his robot companion, Gort, to warn mankind about the danger of nuclear warfare. Patricia Neal, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray also star; Robert Wise directs. “Klaatu barada nikto!”
Director Don Siegel‘s original sci-fi classic, combining outer space horror with Cold War paranoia, is set in a small California town whose residents are being replaced by emotionless replicas grown from mysterious alien seed pods. Can the invasion be stopped? Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, King Donovan, and Carolyn Jones star in this adaptation of Jack Finney’s novel “The Body Snatchers.”
What are your favorite films from the 1950s? Let us know in the comments!