Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1950s This Island Earth (1955)

This Island Earth (1955)

Scientist, playboy and pilot Dr Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) returns to the Ryberg Lab in California from Washington DC to find a manual for an unassembled piece of space-age electronic hardware, with no instructions for its construction.

Cal and his trusty sidekick Joe Wilson (Robert Nichols) build the strange piece of machinery, which when complete proves to be an Interociter communication device sent as a test by Exeter (Jeff Morrow) a confident man with white hair and an unnaturally high forehead.

Exeter invites Cal to join his research and sends an unmanned DC-3 to spirit him off to a mysterious research facility in Georgia.

On the way, Cal meets up with fellow invitee Dr Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue), with whom he had a ‘summer fling’ a few seasons back. Mysteriously, Adams does not recall their love affair in the past.

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Turns out that the cream of Earth’s scientists are being summoned to join the mysterious project, only to discover that they are being kidnapped by aliens who want to use their brilliant minds to help their deteriorating, war-torn planet.

This intelligent slice of 1950s sci-fi (two and a half years in the making proclaimed the poster proudly) ranks among the best and most cleverly conceived of the genre.

Really it’s a film of two parts: First is a talky earthbound section which finds the brainy boffins being shanghaied, by the marvellously otherworldly Jeff Morrow to save his distant homeland from destruction by interplanetary warfare.

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That’s followed by a full-blooded space opera featuring astounding surrealistic landscapes on the planet Metaluna and fearsome insect-like mutations with huge bulbous craniums.

It’s hokey at times, but its message is clear: the more advanced the technology, the greater the scope for destruction.

Exeter
Jeff Morrow
Dr. Cal Meacham
Rex Reason
Dr. Ruth Adams
Faith Domergue
Joe Wilson
Robert Nichols
Brack
Lance Fuller
Steve Carlson
Russell Johnson
Engelborg
Karl Ludwig Lindt
Monitor
Douglas Spencer

Director
Joseph M Newman