Written By: Ken Hulsey
Movie Info From Wikipedia
Well 2012 is upon us and I think that before we all get too drunk tonight to remember any of this we should take a look back at some of the films that reached the half-century mark this year.
That's the big 5-0 people! Some real classics .... and some that are not so classic movies celebrated their fiftieth birthday in 2011.
If you have been keeping track then you know that this is the seventh article in this series and hence forth I have seven posters for you today.
Many people consider Gorgo to be nothing more than a UK Godzilla rip-off but I'm not one of them. The story is good, good enough to serve as the inspiration for both Steven Spielberg's "The Lost World" and the Japanese monster mash "Gappa", and the effects are rather impressive. A better than average monster on the loose flick without a doubt.
Gorgo is a 1961 British Giant monster movie. Directed by Eugène Lourié, it tells the story of an underwater monster's capture off the coast of Ireland. The monster is taken to London to be featured as a circus attraction. The film borrows elements from other monster movies, such as Godzilla and King Kong.
The story is simple folks, baby Gorgo joins the circus without telling his parents, then Mom comes looking for him and reduces London to toothpicks.
The Curse of the Werewolf
Hammer films in the UK loved to try and redo all the classic monster films that Universal produced back in the 30s and 40s and for the most part they did a pretty good job.
The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) is a British film based on the novel The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore. The film was made by the British film studio Hammer Film Productions and was shot at Bray Studios.
The story is set in 18th Century Spain. A beggar is imprisoned by a cruel marques after making inappropriate comments at the nobleman's wedding. The beggar is forgotten but manages to survive another fifteen years. His only human contact is with the jailer and his beautiful mute daughter (Yvonne Romain). The aging, decrepit Marques makes advances on the jailer's daughter when she is cleaning his room. When she refuses him, the Marques has her thrown into the dungeon with the beggar. The beggar, driven mad by his long confinement, rapes her and then dies.
The girl is released the next day and sent back up to "entertain" the Marques. Instead she kills the old man and flees. She is found in the forest by the kindly gentleman-scholar Don Alfredo Corledo (Clifford Evans) who lives alone with his housekeeper, Teresa (Hira Talfrey). The warm and motherly Teresa soon nurses the girl back to health, but she dies after giving birth to a baby on Christmas day (a fact that Teresa considers "unlucky.")
Alfredo and Teresa raise the young boy, whom they name Leon. Leon is cursed both by the evil circumstances of his birth and by being born on Christmas Day. An early accident gives him a taste for blood which he must struggle to overcome.
Leon grows into a young man (Oliver Reed) and leaves home to seek work at the Gomez vineyard. Don Fernando (Ewen Solon) sets Leon to work in the wine cellar with Jose Amadayo (Martin Matthews) with whom he quickly forms a friendship. Leon soon falls in love with Fernando's daughter, Cristina (Catherine Feller), but when his love is thwarted he grows increasingly violent. His wolf nature rising to the surface, he snarls and drools his way through the village by the light of the full moon. Shocked and disgusted by his antics, the local people summon his scholarly step-father, who has been preparing himself for years to face this moment. Though torn with grief, the wise Alfredo shoots Leon dead and covers his body with a cloak.
Who says that there is no equal rights in Monsterland? Mothra is all woman ... and a single mom to boot! This lady isn't a slave to a kitchen and repeatedly stood up to the overly macho Godzilla ... and kicked his butt!
Mothra is a 1961 Kaiju film from Toho Studios, directed by genre regular Ishirō Honda with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. It is the kaiju eiga debut of screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa, whose approach to the genre grew to prominence during the 1960s. The film stars Frankie Sakai, a popular comedian in Japan at the time, and Hiroshi Koizumi, in the first of many academic roles he would adopt in tokusatsu. Jerry Ito (transliterated as "Jelly Ito" in the credits of the U.S. release) stars in the film, his only contribution to Toho's kaiju eiga genre. Ito also appeared in 1958's Japanese/US co-production "The Manster" (a.k.a. "The Split"), and in Toho's 1961 end-of-the-world science fiction feature "Sekai Daisensou" ("The Last War").
It's basic plot was recycled in King Kong vs. Godzilla and Mothra vs. Godzilla (1962 and 1964, both also written by Sekizawa), and the daikaiju Mothra would become one of Toho's most popular, appearing in seven more Godzilla films and her own trilogy in the 1990s.
Don't we all wish that we could escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and retire on some tropical island paradise with giant chickens, crabs and bees? I know I do!
"Ahh this is the life ... oh hold on a sec. I gotta get my spear and kill me a twenty-foot crap for supper."
Mysterious Island (UK: Jules Verne's Mysterious Island) is a 1961 film released by Morningside Productions. Based very loosely upon the novel The Mysterious Island (L'Île mystérieuse) by Jules Verne, the film was produced by Charles H. Schneer and Ray Harryhausen. Directed by Cy Endfield, it was released through Columbia Pictures. The motion picture was filmed at Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, England as a showcase for Harryhausen's stop-motion animation effects. Like several of Harryhausen's classic productions, the musical score was composed by Bernard Herrmann.
The film centers around Union soldiers escaping in a gas balloon from a Confederate prison camp during the American Civil War. They end up crashing in the ocean, only to find themselves washed up on an unknown island where gigantic animals abound. It would later be revealed that the animals were the result of experiments by the presumed-dead Captain Nemo. He has been an unknown benefactor to the castaways as they struggled to survive on the island. The island's volcano threatens to erupt. After a skirmish with pirates, the stranded group manages to escape from the island on the pirates' ship as the volcano destroys the island.
The highlights of the film were Ray Harryhausen's animation sequences. The different animated "monsters" that the castaways encountered included a giant crab, a giant flightless bird (a prehistoric species called a Phorusrhacos), giant bees and a giant cephalopod resembling a prehistoric ammonite.
One of my all-time favorite monster movie posters!
The movie itself? .... well .... um ....
Reptilicus, a giant monster film about a fictional prehistoric reptile, is a Danish-American co-production, produced by American International Pictures and Saga Studios, and is upon close examination two distinctly different films helmed by two different directors.
The original version, which was shot in Danish was directed by Danish director Poul Bang and released in Denmark on February 25, 1961.
The American version, which was in English with a nearly identical cast, was directed by the film's American producer-director Sidney W. Pink; this version was initially deemed virtually unreleasable by American International Pictures and had to be extensively reworked by the film's Danish-American screenwriter, Ib Melchior, before being finally released in America in 1962.
Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea
When the chips are down and the world is in eminent doom it's the crew of the ultra-cool submarine USOS Seaview to the rescue!
A fun film that features the smoking hot Barbara Eden.
Yes I used to dream of Jeannie so what of it?
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is an American science fiction film, produced and directed by Irwin Allen, released by 20th Century Fox in 1961. The story was written by Irwin Allen and Charles Bennett. Walter Pidgeon starred as Admiral Harriman Nelson, with Robert Sterling as Captain Lee Crane. The supporting cast included Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, Michael Ansara, and Peter Lorre. The theme song was sung by Frankie Avalon, who also appeared in the film.
Hey Barbara Eden was hot back in the day! Did you know that she once had to hide in a broom closet to get away from Desi Arnaz.
King Kong? ... Not quite!
Monster movie adds from around the globe almost always used Kong as a selling point. With any gorilla picture this was a natural fit but in places like Germany especially any monster be it bug or reptile was called "Kong" or "Frankenstein". Look at some old German Godzilla posters sometime. "Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla" is titled "King Kong vs Frankenstein" honest injun.
As you can tell there were a lot of notable British monster movies produced in 1961. On one end of the spectrum you have Gorgo and on the other lies Konga. If only there was a third of the mayhem and carnage displayed in this poster then the film may have turned out better ... I'm just saying.
Konga is a 1961 British science fiction film directed by John Lemont and starring Michael Gough, Margo Johns and Austin Trevor. It was distributed in the United States by American International Pictures.
The film was the basis for a comic-book series published by Charlton Comics in the 1960s.
British botanist Charles Decker goes insane after he discovers a serum that turns his chimpanzee subject Konga into a ferocious gorilla-sized ape. To further his hideous experiments, Decker mesmerizes the chimp and sends it to London to kill all his former enemies. Among his targets is Bob Kenton, the lover of Sandra Banks, the woman the doctor wants for himself. After Konga strangles Bob to death, Decker attempts to make Sandra his own. This doesn't sit well with Margaret, the botanist's assistant and current girlfriend, who attempts to get even by giving Konga an enormous amount of the strange serum and turns him into a enormous monster, though she becomes his first victim. Just before going on a rampage, the super-sized ape grabs Decker in one of his enormous hands, while Sandra is eaten by Decker's carnivorous plants. His rampage comes to a stop when he and Decker are killed by the British army. Upon his death, he reverts back to a chimpanzee.
Nuff said there.
Other notable films that turned 50 in 2011:
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Beast of Yucca Flats
Nude on the Moon
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
Master of the World
The Phantom Planet
Creature from the Haunted Sea
Werewolf in a Girls Dormitory
Invasion of the Neptune Men
Merry New Year!
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