TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS COLLECTION SCI-FI ADVENTURES (WB) THEM (1954) D: Gordon Douglas, w/ James Whitmore, THE BEAST FROM.
TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS COLLECTION SCI-FI ADVENTURES (WB) THEM (1954) D: Gordon Douglas, w/ James Whitmore, THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953) D: Eugene Lourie, w/ Kenneth Tobey, WORLD WITHOUT END (1956) D: Edward Bernds, w/ Hugh Marlowe, SATELLITE IN THE SKY (1956) D: Paul Dickson, w/ Kieron Moore. Rating: NNN DVD package: NNN Rating: NNN
Them is the best giant-ants movie ever made. From the moment the little kid emerges from the Nevada desert screaming “Them!” to the fiery climax in the L.A. sewers, we’re immersed in the rich, cheesy goodness of 50s monster movies, complete with wooden acting and papier mache monsters. But the budget is adequate, the cast competent, and the chilling moments effective.
For the first 15 minutes, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms rocks big time, with a nuclear blast, the beast and extreme peril in the High Arctic. Eugene Lourie’s directing style is worse than wooden, but things move along quickly, and the beast gets plenty of screen time.
This is the original giant reptile rampage and the acknowledged template for Godzilla. It’s also the first feature of stop-motion wizard Ray Harryhausen and first screen adaptation by celebrated science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. The extras feature 15 minutes of old friends Harryhausen and Bradbury reminiscing. Great stuff for the fans.
World Without End launches 50s spacemen into a post-apocalyptic future, and Satellite In The Sky features a rocket bearing a bomb and a stowaway. They’re not bad.
It’s worth keeping an eye on The TCM Greatest Classic Films series. This week the company released a romance set headlined by the Bette Davis classic Now, Voyager and a Marx Brothers pack. Prices typically under $20 make them good value.
EXTRAS Them: giant ant test footage, more Beast: retrospective making-of doc, Harryhausen and Bradbury conversation. Both: full-frame, b&w, English, French audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles. World/Satellite: no bonus materials. Widescreen, colour. English, French subtitles.