Scientists investigate what appears to be a meteorite that crashes into the ocean. After a few days and nights of mysterious lights and noises, a giant machine comes out of the ocean. The machine is the creation of an alien race, that is trying to syphon energy from earth. A true classic, in that it is so different from anything in the time period. To this day, nothing else has come out like it.
Jeff Morrow ... Dr. Leslie Gaskell
Barbara Lawrence ... Vera Hunter
John Emery ... Dr. Hubbell Eliot
George O'Hanlon ... Dr. Arnold Culver
Morris Ankrum ... Dr. Albert Stern
Kenneth Alton ... The Pickup Driver
John Parrish ... General Perry
Jose Gonzales-Gonzales ... Manuel Ramirez
Richard Harrison ... Pilot
Marjorie Stapp ... Nurse
Robert Shayne ... Air Force General
Don Eitner ... Meteorgology Sergeant (as Donald Eitner)
John Halloran ... Labcentral Security Guard
Made in 1957, this ultra weird science fiction movie "Kronos" is a product of the then unknown UFO phenom and the Soviet Union's nuclear threat of the time. Before I describe this film, I have to tell you, seeing it first, at a very young pre-teen ager, this movie gave me sweaty nightmares of world destruction's dreams constructed by odd and powerful machines for many nights and many years to come that made me hide under the covers. These dreams of mine were terrifying to the extreme, and when I watch this film today, I can finally understand this.
A strange movie, made by "Regal Films" and distributed by 20th Century Fox, it adds genuine sci-fi terror with the combination of some very effective and occasional cheesy effects, and generally good acting. The story is just weird enough to be believable, which is the mark of a good sci-fi movie. It is a sort of a "War of the Worlds" film in a way. The new DVD widescreen video transference by "Image Entertainment" is very good considering the lack of quality of the original film's input. The sound is true and clear.
The film is in black and white and incorporates many stock footage shots of the era. Some of those shots include the proverbial rocket launches of a German V2. And then there are some very beautiful shots of the elegant first Strategic Air Command's swept wing atomic jet bomber the B-47 StratoJet in flight. Finally there is very rare stock footage of the first supersonic fighter in experimental form, the XF-100 Super Saber soaring. Interesting.
To summarize, a giant flying saucer, mistaken for an asteroid, crashes off the coast of West Mexico. Bubbling out of the Pacific a few days later is this giant metallic multi stepped cube. The cube's goal is to suck up all the energy in the earth for it's home world. The more energy it absorbs the more fantastically large the machine becomes. Bizarre side stories are how this cube's energy affects certain humans for it's aid. You have to watch the movie as this oddness is hard to describe.
The imagery of the alien machine is often really scary, as in some scenes the monster takes upon an electric greenish tint in the wide screen display and it's electric lightning is the stuff of bad dreams. But other images are a bit cartoonish. Those cartoonish images if left out of the film would have made it a much more effective a movie.
Nevertheless on a 1950's level this sci-fi movie is most effective in it's ability to evoke true paranoia. It frightens the beegeezuss out of me every time I watch it and I can guarantee that I will have a nightmare about the giant and massive cubic Kronos, the ravager of worlds, vampire of energy, tonight as I slumber. As Kronos makes it's way on the earth sucking up energy it makes this crushing high pitched pulsing noise as if metal upon rock. Very eerie.
The film stared perennial B-movie star Jeff Morrow as the scientist that figures out how to destroy Kronos. He reverses Kronos' polarity! Didn't Scotty do that on the Enterprise once to save the ship? The obligatory cheese cake 1950's sci-fi actress in this film was the very lovely Barbara Lawrence as the wasted film technician Vera, the ever ignored girl friend of Morrow.
For it's genre, this movie is recommended, for it's unique story, eclectic acting, decent script, terrifying and very spooky imagery.
"Kronos" is about a robot emissary (which Earth scientists name Kronos), sent by aliens to Earth. It lands on the coast of Mexico and goes on a rampage. The aliens have exhausted energy supplies on their own planet (which it is correctly noted may well happen here before too long), and so they sent Kronos to Earth to suck up energy from our remaining energy resources. Unknowingly, Earth counterattacks with weapons like an H-bomb, but Kronos greedily absorbs all that energy and just gets stronger and hungrier for more.
At this point, you just have to put aside the immediate obvious objection that there is far more energy in any star in the galaxy than in all the power plants on Earth, and the aliens should have just harvested energy from them.
If you can forget all that, what is left is an enjoyable typical 1950's B-movie, with what I consider to be some decent special effects for the time (except for the obvious cartoon animations of Kronos' march). Jeff Morrow, one of the better B-movie actors, delivers a decent performance as a scientist. Despite its low budget, the movie tries hard to be an early techno-thriller, replete with what was state-of-the-art technology for its time--B-47 jet bombers, missiles with nuclear warheads, computers, etc. And that also makes it a cut above the usual sci-fi B-movie of the 1950's.
As must always be kept in mind while viewing classic SF cinema, one cannot and should not extricate a film from its historical context. Kronos is no exception. This is 1950's SF movie making at its marginal budgetary best.
Certainly the storyline taxes credibility, involving alien possession of humans, but the ETs at least have a practical purpose for invading than just doing it out of spite. Plus, the dirty work isn't accomplished with sundry flying saucers and blaster rays, but by a huge robot.
The acting is an uneven mixture of serious and melodramatic that oddly adds to the dark overtones of the fims early scenes. The dialogue, littered with quasi-scientific jargon, flows at near poetic tempo.
Ultimately, it is the clever resourcefulness of our nuclear-scientist heroes that wins the day. Now that has to be worth watching!
Kronos is one of the best science fiction films of the 1950's. It concerns a giant robot sent to earth from outer space intent on sucking up all of the earth's energy. Battling this monster is the brilliant, dedicated, and handsome scientist supported by a beautiful female co-worker and a nerdy assistant. The film's special effects are limited (laughable at parts), but a good script, fine directing, and solid performances by the entire cast more than make up for this deficiency.
The story and script are by the same team which gave us The Giant Behemoth (an even better film), and the director is credited with the original The Fly. The lead actor also starred in This Island Earth. Trivia note: the older scientist who is being controlled by the aliens was once married to Tallulah Bankhead while the nerdy assistant would later gain immortality as the voice of George Jetson!