This Island Earth (1955)
Actors: Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue
Director: Joseph M. Newman
Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
Number of discs: 1
Run Time: 86 minutes
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
people will know This Island Earth as the 1950s sci-fi movie featured
in the big screen version of
Mystery Science Theater 3000, the now sadly defunct TV show that lampooned bad movies.
Our square-jawed scientist/jet pilot hero Dr. Meacham (played by Rex Reason,
whose own name sounds like the name of a 1950s sci-fi movie hero) is
co-opted into partaking in a super-secret research project run by aliens run
with huge oversized foreheads. The movie ends with Meacham and a female
sidekick being whisked off to a distant planet in a flying saucer where they
somehow thwart an alien invasion and battle some memorable alien monsters.
While This Island Earth isn’t quite as bad as some of the other
movies ripped apart by Mystery Science Theater 3000, it isn’t that
good either. Throw in some stilted acting and at times overcomplicated
plotting in with a storyline that is too ambitious for the film’s limited
budget and now badly dated special effects. Still, it is a rather good
example of 1950s science fiction and fans of that particular retro look and
feel will find lots to appreciate.
THE DISC: No extras, except for a theatrical trailer. For some reason
while the movie is divided into chapters, chapter selection isn’t a menu
function and you’ll have to use your Skip button instead. Image and sound is
pretty decent though considering the movie’s age
— it is
after all, half a century old.
WORTH IT? It is
difficult to watch This Island Earth without recalling the Mystery
Science Theater 3000 cracks and one liners but this joke-free version is
still worth checking out.
This Island Earth is compulsory viewing for fans of ‘Fifties SF.
Non-fans of this particular subgenre would probably want to give it a skip