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Monday, August 7, 2017

The Deadly Mantis (1957)

Starring Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Alix Talton, Donald Randolph, Pat Conway
Directed by Nathan Juran
(actor & director credits courtesy

A paleontologist discovers a giant praying mantis has been freed from suspended animation in the Arctic, and is now heading south, feeding on the humans it encounters.

This is a halfway decent "giant bug" movie from the many made during the 1950s, although it is more than a little derivative of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and is plagued a bit by overuse of a large amount of military stock footage.  Nevertheless the special effects are well-done and the mockup of the creature is certainly imposing and frightful, more than likely a cause of nightmares for children of the period.  While the film has a capable enough cast, including Hopper who was to be featured on TV screens the same year as investigator Paul Drake on the Perry Mason TV series, there's not really anything new and different for them to do.  Talton has some moments as a liberated female reporter, but is also saddled with a clunky romance with Stevens her character doesn't seem to be all that interested in.  It's still fun movie monster viewing, but I've seen the same story done far better before.

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