From the far reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy, It's Retro Nerd Girl with a film review for you.
Today I'll be reviewing the movie Battle of the Worlds released in 1961.
Claude Rains and Bill Carter
Antonio Margheriti (as Anthony Dawson)
The Synopsis is:
A planet, the outsider, looks as if it is on a collision course with Earth but then it stops short of hitting the planet and begins orbiting the planet. All would be fine except the Earth sends spaceships to investigate, but the outsider launches flying saucers to attack. And the outsider becomes a real threat to the planet earth.
The human characters that drive the story are Professor Benson who seems to know everything about astronomy and understands how to deal with the outsider. Lesser characters are the lovers Dr. Fred Steele and Eve Barnett who work at a space station that is central to this story. Eve absolutely adores Professor Benson and is her mentor, which is putting a strain on her relationship with Fred. There are lots of other smaller characters like Mr’s Collins who is a mix between a coffee maid and a temptress. Then there is Commander Robert Cole and his wife Cathy who end up being part of the story at the very end of the film.
I didn’t really enjoy this movie. I love old sci-fi movies but this one is very boring. There are hints of good ideas in this story, but it just doesn’t have the cohesive glue to keep my interest.
*WARNING: FROM THIS POINT FORWARD THERE MAY BE SPOILERS!*
At an hour 24 minutes, it still drags. So much of the scenes takes place in a greenhouse where the expert to explain the science in the movie Professor Benson is very interesting, but ultimately boring. This movie could be edited down to 15 minutes and it would be an exciting fun movie.
The story has great ideas, but bad execution. Within the serious threat of the earth being in danger, there are strange sections of characters flirting around, which didn’t make sense. The dialogue was awful and miss place, but then somewhere in the mix was a genius line or two. None of them memorable, I am afraid.
Would be the outsider, but you don’t actually get to see them until the end. And it’s very poor quality. The threat to earth is interesting but not very effectual at getting viewers to feel fear.
I am still not sure who I am supposed to be sympathetic to. None of the characters entice me enough to care what happens to them. There is no drama related to the threat strong enough to make me curious about what is going to happen next.
The editing is all over the place. Some of the action is too fast. There are too many moments that are too drawn out to extend the film time. The combination ends up being too weird to remember what’s happening.
The film says that it stars Claude Rains and Bill Carter. Now, the filmmakers really milk Claude Rains as the star, he is in most of the movie. His performance is good and about the best thing about this film. Unfortunately he can’t make this movie exciting. But you can tell they were trying to wedge in a love story between Dr. Fred Steele (Umberto Orsini) and Eve Barnett (Maya Brent).
Bill Carter is the other American actor meant to draw an audience, but he really has a minor role to Umberto and Eve. The performances are muted by the american voice over acting, even though you can clearly see that all of the actors are actually speaking in english. This was just a sad industry standard for foreign films back in the day. It just would have been nice to hear the actual accents of the people acting.
The ending was the best part of the film for me. It’s about the most sci-fi that the movie displays.
The ending was horribly edited, but it had all of the action.
I wish this movie had better pacing, editing, and dialogue. I would have loved if they had less characters so you could really care about what is happening to them. I wish there were more information or point of view of the Outsider and more about the alien culture that created it.
For old sci-fi movies, I wouldn’t recommend it for those looking for good examples. However, this movie is a classic study for filmmakers on the characteristics of films with good ideas that just don’t work in the execution. It’s not the special effects or the technical problems one would have with a low budget movie, but how the story is told.
That sums up my review. I hope you liked it.
It's Retro Nerd Girl signing off!
Take care movie lovers! I'm off to the next review!
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