Phantom From Space (May 15, 1953)
Released on May 15, 1953: There is an alien in Santa Monica . . . a visitor from outer space with terrible powers who is killing earthlings.
Directed by W. Lee Wilder
Written by William Raynor and Myles Wilder.
The Actors: Ted Cooper (Hazen), Tom Daly (Charlie), Steve Acton (operator), Burt Wenland (Joe), Lela Nelson (Betty Evans), Harry Landers (Lieutenant Bowers), Bert Arnold (Darrow), Sandy Sanders (policeman), Harry Strang (neighbor George Nelson), Jim Bannon (Police Sergeant Jim), Jack Daly (Joe Wakeman), Michael Mark (watchman), Rudolph Anders (Doctor Wyatt), James Seay (Major Andrews), Noreen Nash (Barbara Randall), Stephen Clark (Bill Randall), Dick Sands (the Phantom).
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Science Fiction in 1953 - in this movie I saw something that was so advanced . . . so conceptually futuristic . . . so very foreign to the 1953 world that I get shivers down my spine watching it. I had to watch it twice just to be certain that I saw what I think I saw. How could anyone in 1953 have such a forward vision that they would add this to the movie plot? I don't think that Nostradamus ever foretold anything in the future that was so very dead-on, spot perfect. I'm still in awe as I write this. No, it wasn't the creepy electronic sounds that accompanied the Phantom from outer space. It wasn't the concept of an indestructible space suit, or the invisible man from outer space. It wasn't the methods that the scientists used to probe the space suit or the alien. It wasn't even the laughable notion that of course Santa Monica, like all towns in 1953, would have a 'Communications' man, with several radio detection units at his disposal. It was the characters of Bill and Barbara Randall. Bill Randall is played by Steven Clark, with less than a dozen movies to his credit. Barbara Randall is played by Noreen Nash, who you may spot in a few other movies here, and some older television shows. Their characters were so impossible in 1953 America, but so common today, that I am aghast at the eerie relationship that they portend.
You see, the wife is a scientist working long hours at the institute, and her husband? Well, he is more of a house wife than the head of the house. He seems to be a teacher of come kind, but he is very docile and obedient to his wife. She orders him to go shopping and the dweeb husband smiles and dutifully leaves on his errands, never to be seen again . . . until it is time for him to frantically look for his wife, who the space man is carrying away. He is fraught with fear at the disappearance of his wife, and runs aimlessly and helplessly around the empty corridors in search of his beloved. Wow. The typical role of a 1953 husband and wife are totally and clearly reversed . . . and it is presented on screen as 'normal.' But it jumped right off of the screen at me. In today's movies it wouldn't even be noticed, but I watch a lot of older movies, and my mind was in that older mind set, and it jumped out at me like a bold of lightning. This was not a part of 1953 America . . . what screen writer would write such a sript? How did he know that this would become common a half century later? I wonder if it popped off the screen for the movie audience in 1953? Do you think that they thought it was something that was sure to happen more and more in the coming years, or do you think that they figured it was just wild movie fiction, like the Phantom? I'm betting that a lot of men in the audience thought that this was the most outlandish fiction of the movie!
Harry Landers and Jack Daly
Harry Landers and James Seay
Harry Landers and Michael Mark
James Seay and Noreen Nash
Rudolph Anders and Noreen Nash
Steve Clark, the house husband, talks with James Seay and Rudolph Anders
Steve Clark is frantically looking for his scientist wife Noreen Nash
Ted Cooper and Harry Landers
Ted Cooper and James Seay
The Phantom hand appears, trying to tap out a code message.
Dick Sands, as the dying Phantom from Space, just before he evaporates.