The Magnetic Monster (1953)

Genre: 50's science fiction

Dr. Jeffrey Stewart (Richard Carlson) and his partner Dr. Dan Forbes (King Donovan) both work for the O.S.I. (the Office of Scientific Investigation) as A-Men, which means Atom Men. Their job is to investigate unexplained phenomena.

They are called out to a down-town hardware store which is having a problem with everything becoming very magnetic. Upon further investigation they discover the problem is emanating from the upstairs apartment.
When they enter the upstairs apartment they find that the room has been wrecked and a body lies on the floor. They notice a high level of radio activity and soon find that a container which once held the radio active element is now empty.
Back at their lab, they run tests on the empty container and soon find out that what had been stored in it before is like nothing seen on this earth. Whatever it was, it had enough radioactivity to blow-up a couple of down-town blocks. There priority is to now find the missing element.
When it looks like their search will be in vein, they get a call from a taxi driver at the airport, who reports that the engine in his cab had suddenly stopped running and had suddenly become magnetic. This is the lead they need.
On questioning, the cab driver explains that he had taken an elderly man to the airport and he was carrying a large briefcase. Armed with a Geiger counter, they scour the airport and soon find out which flight the man had boarded.
The flight is recalled mid-flight back to the airport – and just in time, too, because the engines on the plane begin to cut out. Upon boarding the plane they find the highly radioactive briefcase and remove it to the safety of special van. Meanwhile, the elderly man is dieing of radiation poisoning and his dieing words to Dr. Stewart and Dr. Forbes is that he has created a radio active muting element which he now can’t control and which needs to be constantly fed with electricity. If it's not fed, it will consume everything around it.
The element is stored at the local university, but it isn’t long before there is a large explosion, killing a couple of people. The authorities want answers from Dr. Stewart and upon investigation, Dr. Stewart confirms what the old man had told him – that the element is constantly growing and sporadically devouring everything around it.
The two doctors are temporarily able to feed the element with electricity as it grows, but they know they only have a limited time and soon they will need larger amounts of electricity. Soon they have to divert all the electricity from the city to feed the element.
Dr. Stewart realizes that even this huge amount of electricity won’t feed the element and eventually it will grow so much that it will destroy the Earth by throwing it off its orbit. Help is at hand, because one of the military officers assigned to the case tells of the Canadians having a secret research lab which can generate more electricity than anything else in the world.
In next to no time, Dr. Stewart and the element are flown up to the Canadian research lab which is a huge place situated deep in the ground under the sea. The inventor of the research lab tells Dr. Stewart that by bombarding such a high voltage of electricity at the element could blow-up the entire research lab before it destroys the element. This is something Dr. Stewart has to take his chance with to save mankind. In the meantime, the Canadian inventor goes insane and tries to fraught Dr. Stewart's plans.

The Atomic Age had only recently begun and this film taps into the fears which harnessing this energy could bring. This is a great piece of 1950’s science fiction and is very well written with some logical scientific reasoning.

There’s also a simultaneous storyline running throughout this movie concerning Dr. Stewart’s pregnant wife. It’s quite interesting the connection they make concerning how when you are pregnant you grow larger to produce something ‘good’ (although for Dr Stewart, he’s worried that his wife hasn’t grown larger after four months of pregnancy) and how the element must grow larger, but for something ‘evil’.

There is plenty of stock footage used in the making of this film and even though it’s credited to Curt Siodmak, most of the film was actually directed by Herbert L. Strock, who was hired by Ivan Tors because of his skills as an editor, which were viewed as essential for a film which relied so much on stock footage.

Computer geeks might be interested in the stock footage of a vary early computer called the MANIAC computer (Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator, and Computer or Mathematical Analyzer, Numerator, Integrator, and Computer) which became operational in 1952..

Other footage of the special effects used towards the end of this film were taken from a 1935 German science fiction film called Gold and this isn’t the only German connection to this film, with supposedly the film crew originating from German impressionist cinema of the 1930s.

As well as an intelligent script, these special effect scenes at the end of the film really make it stand out amongst other films from this decade.

The fictitious government agency The Office of Scientific Investigation would later turn up again in Tors’ Gog (1954) and some episodes of Science Fiction Theater (1955-1956).

This is definitely a good 50’s sci-fi movie to track down if you want one which is slightly different and more intelligent.

0 Response to "The Magnetic Monster (1953)"

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Powered by Blogger