Monday, February 20, 2017

The Man From Planet X (1951)

Starring Robert Clarke, Margaret Field, Raymond Bond, William Schallert, Roy Engel
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

When a strange planet is discovered to be approaching the Earth, a reporter travels to a small British community where its path is being observed, and encounters an alien visitor.

This is a very eerie and memorable science fiction film, combining the mysterious setting of the foggy British moors with a tale of the first human contact with a creature from another world.  Edgar G. Ulmer, who has been praised by many film critics and historians for making the most out of low budgets, excels here in creating a rich and spooky atmosphere, abetted by fine photography by John L. Russell and foreboding music by Charles Koff.  Screenwriters Aubrey Wisberg & Jack Pollexfen wisely center their story around the film's unearthly visuals, and build suspense by keeping the alien visitor mute, making its intentions and purpose a mystery until near the picture's climax.  Ulmer gets the best out of his cast with nary a star among them, with the possible exception of Schallert who had a long and distinguished career, but didn't play many roles like the greedy scientist he portrays here.

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