Top 10 Sci-FI Movies Of The 1950s
Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 09:24
Just a few short years before Mr. Scott beamed up Captain Kirk; or Luke Skywalker blew up something that looked like EPCOT Center; or Doctor Who raced around space and time in a British Police Box, science fiction fans just had giant lizards, giant women, martians, mutants, killer Jell-o and Ed Wood.
Some people have called the 1950s the "Golden Age of Science Fiction." Here are just 10 quick reasons why:
10. & 9. ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN (1958, Allied Artists Pictures) & THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957, Universal Studios)
Okay this is a bit of a cheat to start with, but these two movies represented the fun that directors in the 1950s had with science fiction movies. In fact, 2009, the Library of Congress named director Jack Arnold’s story of a man shrinking to nothingness to the National Film Registry.
But you know sometime in 1958, director Nathan Juran said, "Hey, let’s go the other way!" and thus we have a 50-foot woman on the rampage.
8. THE BLOB (1958, Paramount Pictures)
Two words: Steve McQueen.
And let me ask, how terrifying is the child of Welch’s grape jelly and Jell-O?
But don't worry, McQueen kicked its butt! (If it had a butt).
Oh, and The Blob gave us music by Burt Bacharach, too.
7. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951, 20th Century Fox)
Director Robert Wise’s tale of an alien coming to Earth to stop every working machine is a science-fiction story at its best. It's scarey, entertaining and it had a basic message, "Humanity, stop fighting! Or there will be nothing left!"
Add the cool robot Gort commanded with the even cooler phrase "Klaatu barada nikto," The Day the Earth Stood Still set the standard for science fiction movies for years to come.
6. THE FLY (1958, 20th Century Fox)
This wonderful movie from director Kurt Neumann gave us one of the most famous lines in movie history, "Help me!"
And granted 1950s movies are known for their cornball effects, but, to this day, the scene where a fly-headed Dr. Delambre sees his frightened wife in a multi-lenses-insect-like-way is still really cool.
5. GODZILLA (1954, Toho Company)
Ignore any association with this character and Matthew Broderick.
This 1954 classic was a story that had more depth to it than originally given credit. Director Ishiro Honda’s tale of a giant lizard brought to life by the H-bomb was an analogy of the atomic bomb that been dropped Hiroshima and Nagasaki just nine short years previous to that.
Granted the effects leave a lot to be desired, but considering that a man in a green suit inspired sequels for decades to come, not bad.
4. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956, Allied Artist Pictures)
Never sleep again! You may just wake up a pod person!
Like The Incredible Shrinking Man, the Library of Congress added this to the National Film Registry and the American Film Institute called this movie, starring UHF’s Kevin McCarthy, as a man trying to warn the world about alien pods stealing the souls of residents of a small town.
3. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959, Distributors Corporation of America under Valiant Pictures)
What can be said about Edward D. Wood, Jr.’s opus about aliens reanimating corpses?
To paraphrase Johnny Depp (playing Wood) said in Tim Burton’s movie Ed Wood, "This is the one I’ll be known for!"
Considering it was Bela Lugosi’s last movie and critics have called it "The Worst Film Ever Made," this movie is still a lot of fun to watch. Especially after seeing it with Burton’s bio-pic in a double feature.
2. CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON/ REVENGE OF THE CREATURE/THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1954/1955/1956, Universal Pictures)
These movies gave movie goers one of coolest monsters in Universal Studio’s pantheon of creatures since the Wolf Man.
This story of the link between man and fish terrorizing water parks long before Jaws did, was great. Considering the second movie gave us Clint Eastwood, I wish we could’ve seen Dirty Harry vs. the Gil Man.
But these three movies will do!
1. THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953, Paramount Pictures)
This is probably the best science fiction movie of the 1950s. It set the standards for the invasion movies that came after it.
While it horribly made a left hand turn from H.G. Wells’s novel’s name sake, it was still a fun movie. Didn’t anyone else get chills when the damned atomic bomb didn’t work against it?
Who would’ve though the common cold would save the world?
It did here.