October 28, 2010

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman - 1958

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman Art Print
23.625 in. x 31.5 in.

Buy at AllPosters.com
Framed   Mounted

"Attack of the 50 Foot Woman," the 1958 cult classic, is everything that the 1957 science fiction film "The Incredible Shrinking Man" is not. It is about a woman instead of a man, growing bigger instead of shrinking, vengeance instead of philosophy, and bad instead of good. However, I come down on the side of those that think this film is gloriously bad and therefore an enjoyable camp romp.

Heiress Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes) is driving around in the California desert on Route 66 when a satellite crashes to earth and she has an encounter with a giant. Nancy heads back to town and tells everyone what happened, but the police just think she has been off on one of her drinking binges again (Nancy has been institutionalized in the past, you see). As for her husband, Harry (William Hudson), he is too busy paying attention to that cheap tramp Honey Parker (Yvette Vickers). Only now Harry sees his big chance to have Nancy declared mentally incompetent so he can get her $50 million inheritance and that big diamond she wears on the cheap chain around her neck. Fortunately, Nancy is again abducted by the giant alien and when she comes back to town she is 50-feet tall and ready to go on the attack with Harry her prime target.

The sequence as Nancy slowly but surely trashes the town as she tracks down Harry redeems the rest of the film, even if the same shot shows up repeatedly (albeit sometimes backwards). The sight of Allison Hayes in her cloth bikini is as memorable an image as you will find in science fiction films from the Fifties, right up there with Gort's appearance in "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Up to that point the film belongs to Yvette Vickers, who attains a level of performance as a bad girl usually reserved for your more traditional exploitation films from this period.

"Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" can be read as a proto-feminist film, with Nancy's crashing through the roof of her house being viewed as a metaphor for breaking the boundaries of repression which limited the growth of women in the real world. But where is the fun in that? Harry done Nancy wrong and fate has given Nancy the opportunity to engage in payback. This movie was made in 1993 with Darryl Hannah and while the special effects were vastly improved, the net gain was just not as enjoyable as the original romp in the desert, which remains a touchstone for fans of bad science fiction films.

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