Cast and Crew: Nathan Juran (Director)
What It’s About: A huge U.S. spacecraft crash lands in the ocean near a Sicilian fishing village. Though most of the fishermen flee, Verrico (George Khoury) and Mondello (Don Orlando) save Col. Robert Calder (William Hopper) and Dr. Sharman (Arthur Space) out of the wreckage. The men are the only men on a secret space mission to Venus that survived a mysterious disease. Dr. Judson Uhl (John Zaremba) and Maj. Gen. A.D. McIntosh (Thomas Browne Henry) come to Sicily to save them while the only local doctor, nearly out of med school Marisa Leonardo (Joan Taylor) attempts to treat them while coming down with a case of 1950s “educated woman clashes with burly hero until both agree that she should marry him and cook his meals and stop all this science nonsense” disease. Meanwhile, Pepe (Bart Braverman), the son of Verrico, steals a sample case that washes up from the wreck and sells it to Marisa’s father, Dr. Leonardo (Frank Puglia). Dr. Leonardo proceeds to be so amazed by the ever-growing creäture he finds in the case that he neglects to tell the Americans investigating a space craft crash and looking for a sample what he found. Eventually everyone puts two and two together, but by that point the creäture has escaped. Can he be found before he grows to large to handle?
Why Watch it Today?: Late stop motion animator and effects wizard Ray Harryhausen would have been 93 today. Harryhausen enriched many geek childhoods with his fantastic creations.
Other Choices: We’ve previously featured The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Valley of Gwangi, and Clash of the Titans, all great examples of Ray Harryhausen’s work.