Not of This Earth (1957 film)

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Not of This Earth
Not of this Earth 1957.jpg
Theatrical release poster
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
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100,000[1]
Box office $1 million[1]

Not of This Earth is a 67-minute, 1957 American black-and-white science fiction film written by Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna. It was produced and directed by Roger Corman for Los Altos Productions and distributed by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.

The film 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 suffer from an incurable blood disease. Johnson's mission is to test the blood of humans on its usefulness for his dying kind.

Plot[edit]

After a nuclear war, the people of the planet Davanna suffer from an incurable blood disease. One of its citizens is sent to Earth to examine the blood of the human species on its usefulness for Davanna's dying race. The intruder 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 their visual organs and brains.

Johnson hires nurse Nadine to look after him in his house. Her boss Dr. Rochelle 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 instant transfusion because her physical condition has decreased rapidly. Johnson breaks into Rochelle's office, but by accident he steals a probe of a rabid dog. The Davanna woman collapses in the street and dies at the hospital. Nadine's friend, police patrol man Sherbourne, 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 rings 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. A mysterious man appears at the site, walking straight towards the viewer. 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 says he originally wrote the part of the vacuum seller for himself.[2]

The film was released in the USA on the bottom half of a programmed double bill with Attack of the Crab Monsters.[3][4]

Some releases ran 71 minutes. These copies did not include extra material; instead, the distributor edited certain footage twice into the film, for instance a dialogue between Johnson and a representative from Davanna, which appears as a pre-title sequence and again some minutes later into the film. This version circulated on US TV stations, 16 mm copies and on bootleg DVDs and videotapes.

Reception[edit]

"[Shows] much imagination, good humour and sheer joy in filmmaking" – Geoff Andrew, Time Out.[5]

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

"Marvellous" – The Aurum Film Encyclopedia – Science Fiction.[6]

"[…] although not nescessarily first rank, [Not of This Earth] still belongs, bearing its low budget in mind, to the best science fiction films of the Fifties." – Lexikon des Science Fiction Films.[7]

Remakes[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

Not of this Earth is available as a regular DVD in the US (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).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Alan Frank, The Films of Alan Frank: Shooting My Way Out of Trouble, Bath Press, 1998 p 36
  2. ^ a b Aaron W. Graham, 'Little Shop of Genres: An interview with Charles B. Griffith', Senses of Cinema, 15 April, 2005 accessed 25 June 2012
  3. ^ a b Michael Weldon: The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, Plexus, London 1989.
  4. ^ Not of This Earth on Imdb.com.
  5. ^ Time Out Film Guide, Seventh Edition 1999, Penguin, London 1998.
  6. ^ Phil Hardy (ed.), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia – Science Fiction, Aurum Press, London, 1991.
  7. ^ Ronald M. Hahn, Volker Jansen, Lexikon des Science Fiction Films, 5th ed., Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, München 1992.

External links[edit]