15 August 2017

RAY HARRYHAUSEN'S 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH. (1957) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH. (1957) DIRECTED BY NATHAN H. JURAN. WRITTEN BY CHARLOTT KNIGHT AND RAY HARRYHAUSEN. STARRING WILLIAM HOPPER, JOAN TAYLOR, FRANK PUGLIA AND BART BRADLEY.
REVEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Picture the scene, dear film fans, if you will. Picture it. A group of Italian fishermen are plying their trade off the coast of Sicily on what begins as just another ordinary working day. They're engaging in their usual lively banter to help the time pass more enjoyably. Suddenly, a giant space-rocket descends from the heavens and crashes into the ocean nearby.

A couple of game lads pull two men from the wreckage. One of the men dies in hospital. The other one survives, along with something else. Something the like of which you don't see every day, because it comes from the planet Venus. And when it falls the twenty million miles to Earth from Venus, it causes quite the stir...

The survivor of the highly unusual crash is the American Colonel Robert Calder, a fine specimen of 'Fifties beefcake who's actually been to the planet Venus (no, not Venice, lads, Venus, the planet Venus...!) on a fact-finding mission. And the little Venusian native he's brought back with him, tightly sealed in a canister of goo, is known simply as 'the Creature...'

When the green scaly Creature emerges from the goo in the trailer of zoologist Dr. Leonardo, rubbing his eyes against the light like a baby waking up from its nap, your heart would just totally go out to him. He's such a little precious angel. Dr. Leonardo is thrilled to bits, thinking that he's discovered a new species of life and he can't wait to get it to the zoo and presumably take the credit for it too, haha.

He and his American grand-daughter Marisa, who does duty here as the pointy-bosomed and wasp-waisted 'Fifties cheesecake, reckon without the Creature's extraordinary rate of growth, however. By the time they get him to a place of safety and have gotten him secured, he's already the size of King Kong. King Kong after he's eaten an entire McDonald's, that is, staff and all...!

It's going to take the Americans, headed by the oh-so-manly Bob Calder, and the Italians and Dr. Leonardo and Marisa all their know-how to contain and control the Creature. When the giant lizard-lookalike, a sort of a cross between Godzilla and The Creature From The Black Lagoon, decides to go walkies in downtown Rome, however, it's time to literally pull out the big guns. Before there's no-one left to tell the tale...

The fabulous Creature is the work of legendary animator Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013), whose work in films like JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS and CLASH OF THE TITANS will ensure that his name remains on the lips of grateful animators and film-makers for decades to come.

JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS has always been my favourite film of his, thanks to the fighting skeletons and the food-stealing harpies and the other stop-motion-animated wonders contained therein. 

I've always loved CLASH OF THE TITANS as much for the stunning good looks and semi-nudieness of Harry Hamlin, mind you, as much for the presence of Calibos, the magnificent and terrifying Medusa and BuBo the mechanical owl, but that certainly shouldn't take away from how marvellous the film is, haha.

In 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, the clash between the Creature and the darling elephant from the zoo is probably my favourite scene. I love all the exchanges between Bob and Marisa too, whom you just know are going to walk off into the sunset together when the movie finishes and make restrained, dignified 'Fifties love, strictly all missionary posish, of course, and with Marisa's delightfully pointy 'Fifties bosoms pressed firmly against Bob's manly breast. Bob, be careful she doesn't take your eye out with one of those things. They're locked and loaded and pointed right at you...!

My DVD of the film is the full-colour 50th Anniversary Edition, but there's an option in it to see it in black-and-white as well. There are loads of great extra features in it, including an interview with the lovely Joan Taylor who played Marisa, and an interview with Ray Harryhausen in his own home conducted by director Tim Burton. Check out the gorgeous autumnal-coloured curtains behind the pair of them as they're chatting away. Take careful note. They're the exact ones I want for my own gaff for the winter.


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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