Production: 1955 - USA, Universal, col., 87 min.
Director: Joseph F. Newman and, not credited, Jack Arnold
Screenwriter: Franklin Coen, Edward G. Callaghan, from the omonimo novel of Raymond F. Jones
Special Effects: Clifford Stine and David Stanley Horsley
Makeup: Bud Westmore
Music: Herman Stein
Cast: Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, Rex Reason, Russell Johnson, Lance Fuller, Robert Nichols, Douglas Spencer, Karl Lindt, Eddie Parker, Regis Parton
After a series of contacts with a mysterious company selling electronic products of unusual types, the scientist Cal Meacham, becomes curious, orders and receives a most complicated assembly kit composed of thousands of pieces. With exacting patience, Meacham succeeds in assembling it, and finds it to be an "interrossiter", a strange machine with a triangular screen from which the face of a stranger invites him to a scientific encounter at an abandoned laboratory. Here, Meacham meets the man on the screen and two other scientists (a man [Russell Johnson] and a woman [Faith Domergue] whom he had known long ago). The host says he is called Exeter and asserts that their plan is to work entirely for the progress of civilization and to forever eliminate the threat of war. Meacham discovers that his two colleagues are a little like prisoners in the laboratory, and that the strange host is periodically in contact with a superior who repeatedly invites him to work faster. Exeter, in reality, is an alien who came to Earth in order to ensure the collaboration of earth's best scientists who will have to help Exeter's people to save themselves from a war that seeks to destroy it. And because the danger is becoming more serious, Exeter is forced to transport Meacham and the woman scientist with him to his planet, Metaluna, place in a far away solar system. Once close to their destination, the group understands that the events have by now taken place: the Zaghon [ZAY-gon] planet is destroying the defenses of Metaluna, by systematically hurling guided meteorites, and that the people of Metaluna have no way of escape and what remains is to think of the invasion of Earth to save themselves. However, Exeter, with noble and generous mind, does not agree with the plans of his govenment and schemes on behalf of the Earth scientists. Having escaped from the control of monstrous mutant - like humanoid insects - that the inhabitants of Metaluna train like guards, Exeter and his friends take off on a spaceship, to return to Earth: the scientists are saved, but Exeter, hurt and no longer with a planet to return to, goes on to meet death heroically.
Often considered the standard-bearer of all the space-stories, the film is solidly constructed on an unconventional screenplay that drastically returns the fascination of the book that inspired it, also reducing the scale of the images from Raymond F. Jones. To determine its success were the special effects, the musical score orchestrated with exotic instruments, and the Mutant - made real by an inspired the estroso Bud Westmore - that entered quickly in the pantheon of most popular monsters.
This Island, Earth - with Conquest of Space, Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still - is one of the first productions completed with a large budget.
The leader of Metaluna (The Monitor) is played by Douglas Spencer, the actor who appeared as the reporter Ned Scott, in the classic film "
The Thing from Another World".
English version by Vince Mattaliano
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