Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'll use the third tube.

Yesterdays Associated Press report about a Texas UFO siting caused me to reminisce about some of the cool sci-fi movies over the decades, so I will do a few posts on some of my favorites.

This Island Earth was released by Universal Pictures International in 1955. The Technicolor film is credited with paving the way for more ambitious genre films. In the well-regarded script, Dr. Cal Meacham receives an unusual package in lieu of what he had actually ordered. He receives a kit to build a very complex communication device called an interocitor. When finished, Meacham receives a message on it from a mysterious man named Exeter, who tells him he has passed the test he was given to participate in a special research project Exeter is running.

Intrigued, Meacham visits Exeter's facility, and finds an international group of top-flight scientists already present--including his old flame, Dr. Ruth Adams. However, Cal is immediately suspicious of the peculiar-looking group of men leading the mission.
Cal and Ruth decide to slip away from the facility, but as they take off in a small plane, they watch as the facility and all its inhabitants are incinerated, and their plane is drawn up inside a flying saucer. Inside they learn that Exeter and his band are aliens from the planet Metaluna, who’ve come to Earth seeking scientists to help them defend their planet in the war against the evil Zagons.
They arrive to find Metaluna under full enemy bombardment and falling quickly to the Zagons. Exeter's leader now intends to relocate their population to Earth and insists that Meacham and Adams be subjected to the Thought Transference Chamber in order to subjugate their free will. Exeter decides to help the humans escape, thus revolting against his own kind, before they enter the brain-reprogramming facility.

Cal overpowers the mutant creature accompanying them (but not before it wounds Exeter) and the three escape back to Earth. Upon entering Earth's atmosphere, Exeter sends the two on their way in their small plane, but he is too wounded to continue. With his ship nearly depleted of energy, he allows the saucer to crash into the sea.
Trivia: Many critics cite the films special effects as the strongest element in This Island Earth, which were ground breaking for their time and are still considered by many film buffs to be comparable to modern special effects. * [Note] The post title is a quote made by Exeter in the film.

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