Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
by Kevin Conner
IMDB Entry and source image credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051380/
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“Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” is, without a doubt, “Drive-In Trash”; but, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This movie was made in 1 week on a shoestring budget that barely hit near 100 grand. Taking that into consideration, this is a very well done movie. Remember, as an audience member, we must take into consideration the constraints actors, writers, crew and directors face in making one of these movies when we judge its worth (just try making a paper mache model, let alone an entire hand, in under a week, I dare you!). Consideration of constraints is something we can do rather easily, given the fact that this movie looks like it took at least a month. Audiences of 1958 seemed to think so, too, because the movie made four times its budget in profit during its run!
Harry Archer (William Hudson) is a filthy philanderer, cheating on his wife Nancy (Allison Hayes) with Honey Parker (Yvette Vickers – 1959s Playboy Playmate of the Month). Enter an alien space giant, a goofy, but loveably awesome deputy, and a couple of psychiatrists (who have no clue how the human body works), and you have the makings of one of the greatest revenge/empowerment movies ever to hit a double feature at the Drive-In. I’d love to tell you the plot, but I think that this overview, combined with the title, should give the rest away.
While the overall production is easy to rate, there are parts of this movie which are difficult to address, even for someone who enjoys the challenge of rating something for its production value; that’s because there are so many erratic lows and highs throughout the production, direction, script and acting. However, my values are only floating in quarters of points, and no matter how I change the numbers around, the overall score does land right around 3.5. See, this type of movie is a very special movie: It’s not Hamlet; It’s not Lawrence of Arabia. This type of movie, however, had just as much impact on the society that created it because of those who would get into their cars and experience a truly American concept – The Drive-In Picture. No matter how goofy some scenes may appear, no matter how goofy some special effects may be, this movie was a statement about empowerment in a genre that cost pennies to make dollars, and captivated the imaginations of teenage dates all across America.
There have been plenty of terrible Drive-In pictures, believe me, unenjoyable, overpriced, terrible movies that would just as soon give you nightmares for the pictures being terrible as they would for the content. This isn’t one of them. This is thoroughly enjoyable, and if you love this kind of movie, then this one is for you! If you have never seen a Drive-In Picture, let alone at a real Drive-In with hour long double features, you should give this a try. Give this movie a try with wonder, jeers, laughter and love of experiencing the product that so many people struggled to make so quickly under harsh circumstances. I guarantee, if you have that kind of wonder in your heart, this type of movie (and this picture itself) will grow on you.
Production: 3 1/2
Direction: 3 1/4
Script: 3 1/4
Acting: 3 1/4
Overall (hovering around) 3.5 out of 4
Cast and Production Information
(with many more)
Nathan Juran (as Nathan Hertz)
Woolner Brothers Pictures Inc.