To study a rogue planet heading for a near-miss with Earth, Prof. Elliot sets up an observatory on the foggy moors of a remote Scottish island, with his pretty daughter and Dr. Mears, a former student with a shady past. Soon after arrival of reporter John Lawrence, a ship from Planet X just happens to land near the observatory. Is the visitor (who actually looks alien) benevolent? What are Mears' real motives for trying to communicate with it?
Robert Clarke ... John Lawrence
Margaret Field ... Enid Elliot
Raymond Bond ... Professor Elliot
William Schallert ... Dr. Mears
Roy Engel ... Tommy the Constable
Charles Davis ... Georgie, man at dock
Gilbert Fallman ... Dr. Robert Blane
David Ormont ... Inspector Porter
June Jeffery ... Wife of missing man
One of the five sci-fi's I remember every single detail of from my earliest days as a fan. For the genre, I think it's considerably above average. The moor is nicely atmospheric. There's one of every character in the book: the good guy, the bad guy, the local sheriff, the lovely damsel, her father the old professor, etc. The scene where we're looking for the first time through the window of the ship and the visitor peeks out from the other side is easily as good as the three-fingered-hand-on-the-shoulder in War of the Worlds. Nice "character" to the visitor, for whom, like Karloff's Frankenstein, we end up feeling some empathy .
A shoestring budgetter directed by Edgar Ulmer. One of the first (if not the first) alien invasion films. The little alien, a child-like being with a big, solemn face, is known to Scottish villagers as 'the bogey' and strikes mortal terror into their hearts with his HypnoRay, a laserlike beam which reduces them to easily programmable zomboids. His motives are unclear throughout the film until a hypnoidal Dr. Mears 'spills the beans' near its end. Strong points: eerie atmosphere, production design; moody 'film noir' photography, engaging music score and interesting story. Weak points: muddled script(more plotholes than a Stephen King cemetry); stilted dialogue and wooden acting. Recommended only for diehard 1950s sci-fi fans(like myself)- this film is both a joy and a disappointment.
Having caught this film quite by accident, i felt gripped not only its innate cheesiness but also several little gems of direction and production design. If you can get past the stereotypes (doddery professor, beautiful daughter, brash American newsman), and the awful accents (isn't that policeman Irish, rather than Scottish?!) The Man From Planet X is a very watchable b-movie. The alien reminded me of the last days of the Spirit comic strip and the lonely croft amongst the billowing fog was a very stark image. Add to this the beautifully sleek (although wholly impractical) spaceship, typically 50s in design, some great chiarascuro cinematography (the alley abduction scene), plus that low-pitched camera outside the dungeon, and you've got a very technically engaging movie.
Never mind that the plot's got more holes than a string vest (where did all those soldiers come from?) and the acting and script are as wooden as a Scots pine dresser, enjoy it on a technical level if you can't engage with the human drama. As with many films of this ilk, the denoument was a bit hurried but all in all, this watches as well as (or dare i say, better than) any episode of Dr Who - with which it shares many similarities.
Edgar Ulmer was an absolute master of turning sow's ears into ,if not silk purses,at least something sturdily functional.Consider his masterpiece "Detour"--a cast not overburdened with either charisma or even basic competence,sparse sets and a perfunctory running time,The result? a brilliant,and disorienting movie,"The Man From Planet X"has a similar zero talent cast,phoney fog shrouded Scottish moorland setting and dialogue that might well ave been devised by a blindfolded monkey with a typewriter from which several keys are missing.Result? an odd and compelling little picture about alien contact that stands up well against other pictures from its era.
A rogue planet is about to crash into earth and brilliant professor Field,his daughter Enid and power crazes assistant Dr Mears are joined in their remote Scottish observatory by ace American reporter John Lawrence.Enter a somewhat whey faced alien who Mears wishes to exploit for commercial gain.Said alien can turn people into zombiefied creatures to do his bidding
Who will triumph in the end? Watch and find out-its 70 minutes reasonably well spent if you can tolerate cliche ,bad acting and stereotypical characterisation(not to mention some highly dubious Scottish accents)The quality of direction from a Poverty Roe specialist makes it all curiously watchable