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|Directed by||Phil Tucker|
|Produced by||Phil Tucker|
|Written by||Wyott Ordung|
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Editing by||Bruce Schoengarth
|Distributed by||Astor Pictures|
|Release date(s)||June 10, 1953|
|Running time||62 min.|
The evil alien Ro-Man Extension XJ-2 (called "Ro-Man" by the humans) has destroyed all human life on Earth, except for eight humans, using the "Calcinator Death Ray". The survivors include an elderly scientist, his wife, two daughters and son, his young assistant and two pilots taking a spacecraft to an orbiting space platform. All eight have developed an immunity to the death ray since receiving an experimental antibiotic serum developed by the scientist.
Ro-Man must complete the destruction of all humans, even if it means physically killing them one by one, before his mission to subjugate the Earth is complete. After fruitless negotiations, he destroys the rocket ship headed for the orbiting platform with a laser. He later strangles the youngest daughter, Carla, off-screen and tosses the assistant scientist Roy over a cliff.
His mission is waylaid, though, after he develops illogical attraction for Alice, the eldest daughter. He refuses to eliminate her, forcing the alien leader, "The Great Guidance", to personally finish the genocide by killing Ro-Man right after he kills Johnny, the young son. He then releases prehistoric dinosaurs and a massive earthquake, rendering the scientist, his wife and Alice as the only humans left.
Ultimately the youngest family member, the son, wakes up after suffering a mild concussion, revealing that the film had presumably all been a dream. However, The Great Guidance is then seen coming out of a cave (three times in a row).
- George Nader — Roy
- Claudia Barrett — Alice
- Selena Royle (credited as Selena Royale) — Mother
- John Mylong — The Professor
- Gregory Moffett — Johnny
- Pamela Paulson — Carla
- George Barrows — Ro-Man/Great Guidance
- John Brown — Voice of Ro-Man/Great Guidance
Twenty-five-year-old writer/director Phil Tucker made Robot Monster in four days for an estimated $16,000. The film is similar in plot to Invaders from Mars, released a month earlier by Fox. Both pictures contain a young boy stumbling upon an alien invasion who is captured as he struggles to save his family and himself. As the alien commences the final destruction of earth the boy awakens to find it was all a dream. Despite rumors to the contrary, the film did receive some decent reviews and grossed $1,000,000 in its initial release, more than sixty times its original investment. Except for a few scenes at a house, most footage was filmed outdoors in Bronson Canyon, the site of innumerable motion pictures and TV settings.
The score was composed by Elmer Bernstein, who also composed Cat Women of the Moon the same year, and, much more prestigiously The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, The Ten Commandments and Michael Jackson's Thriller.
The film's special effects include stock footage from 1940's One Million B.C., 1951's Lost Continent, and Flight to Mars spliced into the film. Within the first viewscreen footage is a brief appearance of the Rocketship X-M ship during its initial boarding. A matte painting of ruins of New York City was included from Captive Women.
The film was shot and projected in dual-strip, polarized 3-D. The stereoscopic photography in the film is considered by many critics to be of a high quality, especially by a crew who had no experience with the newly developed camera rig.
In the film's opening credits, "N. A. Fischer Chemical Products" is given prominent credit for the "Billion Bubble Machine", used in the film as part of Ro-Man's communication device for reporting to his superior.
The poor quality of the movie gave rise to a long-lived rumor within the film industry that the poor reception from audiences caused director Phil Tucker to attempt suicide with a gun, but missed. According to Keep Watching the Skies!, a comprehensive history of 1950s American science fiction films, author Bill Warren claims Tucker's attempted suicide was due to depression and a dispute with the film's distributor, who had allegedly refused to pay Tucker his contracted percentage of the film's profits.
George Nader won the Golden Globe award in 1954 as most promising male newcomer of the year (although his award was not tied to his Robot Monster performance). He signed with Universal Studios where he starred in secondary features while other male stars like Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson were assigned the major film roles.
Selena Royle, MGM stock player, had a durable film career starting 1941 until 1951 when she was branded a Communist sympathizer. She refused to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and eventually cleared her name, but the damage had already been done. She made only two additional films, Robot Monster being her last.
Television ads for Google Nexus show a little girl playing in a replica Robot Monster helmet.
See also 
- Elmer Bernstein and Robot Monster
- How to Make a Monster "How to Make a Monster" Retrieved on 2007-01-08
- Bronson Canyon at Moviesites.org Retrieved on 2013-04-17.
- Elmer Bernstein - the official site. "Elmer Bernstein - The official site". Retrieved on 2007-01-04.
- 3-D Movies: "A History and Filmography of Stereoscopic Cinema" by R. M. Hayes, McFarland Classics, Paperback
- Glenn Erickson of The DVD Savant
- Craptastic Movies Review
- Peter Wood of the National Review On Line
- John Sinnott of DVD talk
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