Sunday, August 17, 2014

Space Children (1958)

Space ChildrenIf you're read some the other reviews here, you may notice I was intially a bit skeptical of Olive Films, having not been familiar with them until now. Well, I'm happy to report that the company (actually a part of Paramount, it turns out) did a fine job with this mostly-forgotten Jack Arnold drive-in sci-fi film. While it is true that a 50+ year old low-budget film, even in 1080p, will never have the shine of a recent film shot in high definition, The Space Children is, for the most part, remarkably clear.

The film itself concerns an alien being taking possession of the children of some rocket scientists. While the film's promotional materials played up the otherworldly menace, the story itself is actually fairly subdued. This is science fiction that favors talking over action, and although there are some nifty effects, they are sparingly used. The film's anti-war message places it in the company of The Day the Earth Stood Still (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] rather than the typical alien-invasion films of the period.

As the title of the review states, this is a "bare bones" video release. All you get is the movie. Which is a shame, because there is a great theatrical trailer that can be easily found on the internet. And director Jack Arnold was a generally well-liked and prolific genre filmmaker, so a featurette or even trailers from his other films would have been a nice touch. But as someone who collects and adores films of this type, I consider it a minor miracle that a Blu-ray release of "The Space Children" ever saw the light of day. So for that, I am grateful. And I'm most satisfied to see that Olive Films is a company that cares about these old films.

Bottom line: This is a must-have for fans of 50's science fiction. And because this is the first official release of the film on video, there's a good chance that many genre fans haven't even seen it.

Producer William Alland and Director Jack Arnold were responsible for some of the best and most innovative Science Fiction films of the fifties. Olive Films has released an underrated gem which happens to be Arnold's Sci-Fi swan song , 1958's 'THE SPACE CHILDREN' into the digital age. A beautiful anti war statement made when this type of film was few and far between at that time, it emerges as Arnold's most personal film. Never has his use of landscapes been more realized. Just as he used the desert as his tableau in 'IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE'-1953 and 'TARANTULA'-1956 , he surpasses his water and underground cavern settings of his masterpiece 'THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON'-1954 by placing his alien visitor in a cave within walking distance of the ocean causing the setting to be calm yet menacing in each frame brilliantly realized by photographer Ernest Laszlo. The performances by the children are excellent and even the adults are shown in different lights by being shown the errors of their ways. The icing on the cake is the eerie music score by Van Cleve who also graced Director Eugene Lourie's 'THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK' the same year. It emerges as a poignant children's fable predating the menacing alien-invasion-by-children thriller Director Wolf Rilla's 'VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED'-1960 and its sequel, Director Anton Leader's 'CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED'-1963. The transfer is stunning with a beautiful 1.85 transfer which is just as good as the BLU-RAY release and has an original trailer as its only extra. Highly recommended and kudos once again to Olive Films for excavating this underrated film to Sci-Fi Fans of all ages.

Buy Space Children (1958) Now

"except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

(St.Matthew, Ch. 18, v.3)

This is a William Alland production. You remember his productions.

Such unforgettables as:

Citizen Kane

The Devil and Daniel Webster

It Came from Outer Space (one of my favorites)

Creature from the Black Lagoon

This Island Earth


The Deadly Mantis

And many more.

This one is a toughie to find.

There is a nice spooky movie credits however it's missing the obligatory sci-fi introduction narrative.

The U.S. is about to launch a hydrogen bomb satellite to protect up from the other side. The other side may already have done so. Someone or something has other plans and a unique ally.

Sandy Descher plays Eadie Johnson; here she gets to talk instead of just screaming "Them!"

A little deviation on this review. Looking at the trailer that the family lives in on the beach I noticed the glass louvers on the door. Back in the 60s after school I had a job manufacturing the glass louvers. It brings back old times.

Read Best Reviews of Space Children (1958) Here

I really liked this movie. The picture quality was very good and so was the sound. I noticed a very familiar monster. It looked like the Horta in a Star Treck show. It was the usual 1950"s drive in movie. But I really love these movies.

Want Space Children (1958) Discount?

The late 50's were loaded with sci-fi stories about space aliens doing nefarious things. What a delight to see a pleasant film about little kids making the "powers that be" look like idiots. I first saw this back in the 50's, released on a double bill with "Kronos" as a drive-in double feature. (Both are good films). This film resonated with me a lot, and I never forgot it. Glad to know it's on (a very good) DVD.

The Cold War was brewing, and the idea to lay low til you know what the hell is actually going on is a lesson well portrayed. I like this film a lot, more than just a "guilty pleasure". It actually has something to say.

Save 26% Off

No comments:

Post a Comment