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Nose Norton

Location: Plainville
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,626
Subj: Creature Feature 99: The Amazing Colossal Man(1957)
Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 at 03:04:22 am CDT (Viewed 437 times)

I took a bit of a break from horror movies, spent some time catching up on super-hero TV shows, but now that it's October, I'm drawn back to the classics.

1957's The Amazing Colossal Man was director Bert I. Gordon's movie about a man caught in an explosion who grows to 60 feet tall. The film starred Glenn Langan as Lt. Col. Glenn Manning and Cathy Downs as his fiancee Carol. It was based on the 1928 novel The Nth Man by Homer Eon Flint.

At a military test of the first plutonium bomb in Nevada, a small aircraft crashes at the test site. Lt. Col. Glenn Manning races to rescue the pilot but is caught in the delayed atomic blast of the bomb. He survives the blast but begins to grow uncontrollably. Under the attention of the military and his fiancee, Carol, Glenn tries to deal with this change but is having difficulty. As scientists come close to developing a cure, Glenn escapes. He becomes confused and causes havoc on the Las Vegas strip. Near the Boulder Dam, the scientists deliver their serum via a giant syringe into Glenn's ankle. Glenn responds violently, hurling the syringe into one of the doctors and taking Carol to the dam. The military is able to convince Glenn to put Carol down and then open fire on him, causing him to fall into the Colorado River to his death.

The Amazing Colossal Man was in regular rotation on Creature Double Feature in the late 70's and early 80's and I enjoyed it many times as a kid. It has a reputation as one of the campy sci-fi movies from the 50's, even being lampooned on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and it does have some campy elements, but I thought it held up pretty well seeing it as an adult. Glenn's descent into madness due to the absurdity of his situation was handled pretty well with Langan giving a fine performance. This was probably my first exposure to this type of insanity as a kid, as opposed to evil maniacs like Dr. Doom, and as an adult, I appreciated that this was the focus of the movie more than the action. Of course, this is a 50's sci-fi/monster movie, so the action is the draw and the sight of a 60 ft tall chubby bald guy in a diaper attacking casinos is ripe for parody. The Amazing Colossal Man is a movie that is somehow as ridiculous as it's reputation but also better than it.

Memorable Moments:

The opening atomic test and explosion. I never noticed before how much the origin of The Hulk owes to this movie. While the explosion lacks the dynamism of Kirby's artwork, it's still pretty effective. The opening theme and narration are great.

Carol seeing 16ft Glenn in his hospital bed. Nice matte effects and Downs' performance make this scene a winner.

Glenn karate chopping Casino signs and throwing a palm tree at the crowd. Realistic settings enhance giant monster rampages and this one works although the matte betrays it at times.

The giant syringe. This is pretty funny. I understand that they need to inject the serum into Glenn's bone marrow but did they really have to make an exact 6ft syringe? Glenn spearing the scientist with the syringe is the scene I remembered best from the movie.

Glenn falling off of the Boulder Dam. I couldn't help but feel bad for Glenn as none of this was his fault, like in The Werewolf. The effects in this scene are not that great.

The Amazing Colossal Man trailer

The trailer is often shown at Disney's Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. I remember wowing one of my friends with how many of the movies I had seen on a trip to Disney World.

The Amazing Colossal Man was a direct response to the success of The Incredible Shrinking Man and had a sequel in 1958 titled War Of The Colossal Beast, also directed by Gordan. Gordan is also known for giant monster movies Beginning Of The End(1957),Earth Vs.The Spider(1958), The Food Of The Gods(1976) and Empire Of The Ants(1977) as well as Attack Of The Puppet People(1958) and Village Of The Giants(1965). As you can gather, manipulating size on screen was his thing.

Glenn Langon debuted in Humphrey Bogart's The Return Of Dr. X and appeared in Dragonwyck with Vincent Price.

Cathy Downs appeared in the noir classic The Dark Corner, the Abbott And Costello comedy The Noose Hangs High and the monster movie The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues.

You can watch The Amazing Colossal Man here:

The Amazing Colossal Man

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