Dir. Gordon Douglas
Starring James Whitmore, Edmond Gwenn
Warner Bros. Pictures
The movie starts in the New Mexico desert. The New Mexico state police are investigating some suspicious reports. They find a little girl walking dazed through the desert. They also find her family’s camper trailer with the side completely torn out – something no ordinary human can do. The only clue they can find is an odd sort of footprint, likely made by an animal of some sort After more suspicious deaths in similarly inexplicable circumstances, the local FBI office sends a cast of the mysterious animal footprint to Washington, D.C. to see if any of the government scientists can make anything of it. The FBI can find nothing, but a team of scientists at the Department of Agriculture are sent to investigate instead, further confusing the local authorities. What the government scientists discover in New Mexico is… well I’m not going to tell you. It’s a 50’s monster movie so, yes, it’s some kind of gigantic freaking bug. Also, the area where the movie is set happens to be very near the site of the first nuclear bomb explosion – hint, hint.
I was actually pretty impressed with this movie. The moviemakers very wisely hide the bad creature from the audience until about a third of the way through the picture. The characters spend that time slowly putting the clues together and adding to the suspense. Sure the special effects are a little primitive and goofy to our eyes, but I imagine they were pretty damn good for the time. It is said to be one of the signature giant monster movies. Ultimately it’s entertaining and worth watching.
Available on Amazon Instant View
Entertaining – 4, Serious movie – 4, Camp/Silly/Goofy – 2