It Came from Outer Space

Tagged: Film

Film (1953). Universal. Directed by Jack Arnold. Written by Harry Essex, based on a screen treatment by Ray Bradbury. Cast includes Richard Carlson, Charles Drake and Barbara Rush. 80 minutes. 3-D. Black and white.

This was Arnold's, and Universal's, first venture into the sf/Horror genre; it was also the first sf film to exploit a desert location (here the Mojave Desert), and the first 3-D film released in wide-screen format. Research by Bill Warren, in Keep Watching the Skies! Volume 1 (1982), shows conclusively that much more of Bradbury's original treatment was used than for many years had been thought the case, and that Bradbury's creative input was greater than screenwriter Essex's. This is a genuinely alarming film about an Alien Spaceship that crashlands in the desert. The Shapeshifting aliens, more frightened – it turns out – than inimical, and needing assistance to repair their ship, begin duplicating local inhabitants. Not quite a classic, but historically important, It Came from Outer Space is a well-made, moody film. The human-duplication theme was to become a cinematic Cliché (see Monster Movies; Paranoia).

A belated novelization is It Came from Outer Space (1982 chap) by Julian May writing as Ian Thorne. [PN/JB]


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