The Magnetic Monster
|The Magnetic Monster|
|Directed by||Curt Siodmak
Herbert L. Strock
|Produced by||Ivan Tors
George Van Marter
|Written by||Curt Siodmak
|Narrated by||Richard Carlson|
|Music by||Blaine Sanford|
|Cinematography||Charles Van Enger|
|Edited by||Herbert L. Strock|
Ivan Tors Films
|Distributed by||United Artists|
The Magnetic Monster is a 1953 independent science fiction film, directed by Curt Siodmak, and starring Richard Carlson, King Donovan and Jean Byron. The Magnetic Monster marked Carlson's initial foray into sci-fi and horror and he would follow it with several better known titles that would forever associate him with that genre: It Came from Outer Space (1953), The Maze (1953), Riders to the Stars (1954), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), and such TV series as Thriller and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
A pair of agents from the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) are sent to investigate a local appliance store, where all of the clocks have stopped at the same time, and metal items in the store have been magnetized. The source of this is traced to an office located directly above the store, where scientific equipment is found, along with a dead body. There are also signs of radioactivity, but the cause of the difficulties itself is clearly no longer in the room, or the immediate area.
Investigation and request for citizen input eventually lead to an airline flight carrying a scientist, Dr. Howard Denker, who has developed signs of radiation sickness related to something in a heavy briefcase he carries and clutches irrationally. Before dying, he confesses to have been experimenting with an artificial radioactive isotope, serranium, which he had bombarded with alpha particles for 200 hours (8 days and 8 hours). Unfortunately, his so-far microscopic creation has taken on a life of its own, literally: it must absorb energy from its surroundings every 11 hours, and in the process doubles in size and mass each time, releasing deadly radiation and incredibly intense magnetic energy.
The OSI officials realize that, with its rate of growth, it will only be a matter of days before it becomes large enough to affect the Earth's rotation on its axis and spin it out of orbit. They also discover that the isotope is impervious to any known means of destroying it or even rendering it inert. The only answer appears to be to use a Canadian experimental power generator being constructed in a cavern under the ocean, with the hopes of bombarding the element with so much energy in one surge that it neutralizes itself with its own "gluttony".
The two governments agree on this proposal, and the isotope is transferred to the project, dubbed the Deltatron, but there is a last minute objection from the engineer in charge of the project. With no time to lose, the lead OSI agent commandeers the machine and barely escapes, risking his own life to activate it before sealing the cavern-filling, multi-story device off from the rest of the underground operation, which is filled with project workers. The isotope is successfully stopped, as evidenced by the disappearance of the trace magnetism which it has produced following every energy absorption, although the Deltatron is also destroyed in the process. As the film comes to an end, the lead OSI agent and his wife (who is expecting their first child) complete the purchase of their first house, and begin moving in.
- Richard Carlson as Dr. Jeffrey Stewart
- King Donovan as Dr. Dan Forbes
- Jean Byron as Connie Stewart
- Harry Ellerbe as Dr. Allard
- Leo Britt as Dr. Benton
- Leonard Mudie as Howard Denker
- Byron Foulger as Mr. Simon
- Michael Fox as Dr. Serny
- John Zaremba as Chief Watson (as John Zarimba)
- Lee Phelps as City Engineer
- Watson Downs as Mayor
- Roy Engel as Gen. Behan (as Roy Engle)
- Frank Gerstle as Col. Willis
- John Vosper as Capt. Dyer
- John Dodsworth as Dr. Carthwright
- Robert Carson as the Pilot (uncredited)
- Donald Kerr as Nova Scotia Lab Worker (uncredited)
- Kathleen Freeman as Nellie (the operator)
- The film used ten minutes of footage of an atom smasher from the German science fiction thriller Gold (1934) directed by Karl Hartl and produced by UFA.
- Although the music was composed by Blaine Sanford, it was actually performed by Korla Pandit (uncredited).
- The Los Alamos MANIAC computer was featured in an effort to lend a scientific air to the program. Also, the UCLA differential analyzer is shown briefly.
- The Magnetic Monster at the Internet Movie Database
- The Magnetic Monster at AllMovie
- The Magnetic Monster at the TCM Movie Database