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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Killers From Space (1954)

Starring Peter Graves, James Seay, Steve Pendleton, Frank Gerstle, Barbara Bestar
Directed by W. Lee Wilder
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An atomic scientist disappears after a plane crash, only to return with no knowledge of where he's been, and an insatiable desire to continue with planned atomic bomb tests.

Peter Graves, in one of his early starring roles, is the main attraction in this low-budget sci-fi film filled with plenty of stock footage.  The actor generates enough intensity to draw us into the tale, and he's supported well by some second or third-tier character actors.  Directed by Billy Wilder's less-esteemed brother, W. Lee, from a story provided by the director's son Myles, the first half of the film isn't badly written, with the mystery behind Graves' character's disappearance setting things up rather nicely.  Ridiculousness however, sets in in the second half, when aliens with bulging eyes and bushy eyebrows are revealed with a plot to invade the Earth and take control with giant-sized insects and lizards, who are rear projected instead of using more costly and convincing animation.  Nonetheless, Graves holds it all together, and although the film can't overcome its limitations, I still have a certain fondness for it.

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