Not of This Earth (1957 film)

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Not of This Earth
Not of this Earth 1957.jpg
Directed by Roger Corman
Produced by Roger Corman
Written by Charles B. Griffith
Mark Hanna
Starring Paul Birch
Beverly Garland
Morgan Jones
William Roerick
Music by Ronald Stein
Cinematography John J. Mescall
Edited by Charles Gross
Distributed by Allied Artists
Release dates
  • February 10, 1957 (1957-02-10)
Running time
67 minutes (or 71 minutes)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100,000[1]
Box office $1 million[1]

Not of This Earth is a 1957 American black-and-white science fiction film produced and directed by Roger Corman for his Los Altos Productions, starring Paul Birch, Beverly Garland, Morgan Jones, and William Roerick. The film was written by Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna and was distributed by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation. Prints ran 67-minutes; others were expanded by the distributor to 71-minutes.

Not of This Earth depicts the dark deeds of an alien intruder who hides under the name of Mr. Johnson. After a nuclear war, the people of his home planet, Davanna, have developed an incurable blood disease. Johnson's mission to Earth is to test the blood of humans for its usefulness in saving his species from extinction.

Plot[edit]

After a nuclear war, the people of the planet Davanna developed an incurable blood disease. One of its citizens is sent to Earth to examine the blood of the humans for its usefulness in curing Davanna's dying race. The intruder (Paul Birch) has adopted the name Mr. Johnson, conspicuous only for his oversensitive ears and his sunglasses, which he wears even in the dark. The sunglasses hide his blank, white-eyed stare which kills his victims by burning through their eyes and into their brains.

Johnson hires nurse Nadine (Beverly Garland) to look after him in his house. Her boss, Dr. Rochelle (William Roerick), is under Johnson's hypnotic spell after he found out about his patient's peculiar blood cell structure. Johnson's plans are disturbed by the sudden appearance of a woman from Davanna. She asks him for an immediate transfusion, because her physical condition is rapidly deteriorating. Johnson breaks into Rochelle's office, but by accident he steals a probe from a rabid dog. The Davanna woman collapses in the street and dies at the hospital. Nadine's friend, police patrolman Harry Sherbourne (Morgan Jones), tries to question Rochelle, but the doctor is speechless under Johnson's spell. Johnson kills Rochelle for cautionary reasons, but Nadine, the next person in danger, manages to call the police. Johnson flees in his car, followed closely by Sherbourne on his motorcycle. When Sherbourne runs his siren, Johnson, distracted by the sound, drives the car off the road and dies in the crash.

After Johnson's funeral, Sherbourne and Nadine stand by his grave, which bears the inscription "Here lies a Man who was not of this Earth". While Sherbourne expresses mild compassion for Johnson, whose driving force was the rescue of his planet and its populace, Nadine refuses any kind of pity. They leave the gravesite, but a mysterious man appears at the site. [Note 1] Like Johnson, he wears the same sunglasses and carries the same distinctive case (which contains transfusion equipment).

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Griffith says that after he and Corman had collaborated on Gunslinger, he suggested they make a science fiction film and Corman agreed; Not of This Earth was the result.[2] He also said he originally wrote the part of the vacuum cleaner salesman for himself.[2]

Not of This Earth was released in the U.S. on the bottom half of a double bill with Corman's Attack of the Crab Monsters.[3][4] According to Tim Dirks, the film was one of a wave of "cheap teen movies" released for the drive-in market. They consisted of "exploitative, cheap fare created especially for them [teens] in a newly-established teen/drive-in genre." [5]

Some release prints of Not of This Earth run 71 minutes; these include duplicate scenes the film's distributor added into the film. Example: a dialogue between Johnson and a representative from Davanna, which appears as a pre-title sequence, is reused again some minutes in the film. This release version circulated in syndication on U. S. TV stations, 16 mm copies, and bootleg DVDs and videotapes.

Reception[edit]

Geoff Andrew in his Time Out review, noted that Not of This Earth: "Low budgets give little reason for regret when the often tacky effects are surrounded by so much imagination, good humour, and sheer joy in film-making as here. Not of This Earth is a minor sci-fi gem, with an alien (Birch; you can tell he's an ET by his briefcase and dark glasses, establishing him as infinitely superior to the moronic middle Americans on view) terrorising Earth (or a small backlot) in his quest for blood for the folks back home."[6]

Michael Weldon in The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film called the film, "Corman's most enjoyable science fiction film."[3]

The Aurum Film Encyclopedia – Science Fiction said Not of This Earth was "Marvellous."[7]

In Lexikon des Science Fiction Films, the comment was "[…] although not necessarily first rank, [Not of This Earth] still belongs, bearing its low budget in mind, to the best science fiction films of the Fifties." – .[8]

Remakes[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

Not of this Earth is available as a regular DVD in the U.S. (as part of the Roger Corman's Cult Classics Triple Feature DVD box) and in the UK as a single DVD. Foreign DVD releases exist in Spain (as Emisario del otro mundo) and Germany (as Die Außerirdischen).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ The mysterious man who appears at the site, walks straight towards the viewer.

Citations

  1. ^ a b Alan Frank, The Films of Alan Frank: Shooting My Way Out of Trouble, Bath Press, 1998 p 36
  2. ^ a b Graham, Aaron W."'Little Shop of Genres: An interview with Charles B. Griffith'." Senses of Cinema, April 15, 2005. Retrieved: June 12, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Weldon, Michael. The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film. London: Plexus, 1989.
  4. ^ "Trivia: 'Not of This Earth'." IMDb.com. Retrieved: March 6, 2015.
  5. ^ Dirks, Tim. "The History of Film - The 1950s: The Cold War and post-cClassical era, the era of epic Ffilms, and the threat of television, Part 1." filmsite.org. Retrieved: March 16, 2015.
  6. ^ Pym 2004, p. 847.
  7. ^ Hardy 1991, p. 390.
  8. ^ Hahn, Ronald M. and Volker Jansen. Lexikon des Science Fiction Films, 5th ed. München, Germany: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1992.

Bibliography

  • Hardy, Phil, ed. Science Fiction: The Aurum Film Encyclopedia, Vol. 2. London: William Morrow & Co., 1991. ISBN 978-0-6880-0842-0.
  • Pym, John, ed. "Not of This Earth". Time Out Film Guide. London: Time Out Guides Limited, 2004. ISBN 978-0-14101-354-1.

External links[edit]