Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Poster art. A giant woman clad in a white bikini straddles an elevated, 4-lane highway. She has an angry expression, and she's holding one smoking car in her left hand as if it were a toy. She is reaching down to grab another. There are several car crashes on the highway, and people are fleeing from her as if they were small insects.
Directed by Nathan Hertz
Produced by Bernard Woolner
Written by Mark Hanna
Music by Ronald Stein
Cinematography Jacques R. Marquette
Edited by Edward Mann
Distributed by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • May 19, 1958 (1958-05-19)
Running time
66 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $89,000[1] or $65,000[2]
Box office $480,000 (USA)[3]

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is an independently made 1958 American black-and-white science fiction film drama, produced by Bernard Woolner, directed by Nathan H. Juran (credited as Nathan Hertz), that stars Allison Hayes, William Hudson and Yvette Vickers. The screenplay was written by Mark Hanna, and the original music score was composed by Ronald Stein. The film was distributed in the United States by Allied Artists as a double feature with War of the Satellites.

The Allied Artists television version runs 75 minutes instead of 66, including a long printed crawl at the beginning and end, repeated sequences, and hold-frames designed to optically lengthen the film's running time.

The storyline concerns the plight of a wealthy heiress whose close encounter with an enormous alien in his round spacecraft causes her to grow into a giantess, complicating her marriage already troubled by a philandering husband.[4]

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is a takeoff of other 1950s science fiction films that featured size-changing humans: The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), its sequel War of the Colossal Beast (1958), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). In this case, a woman is substituted for a man as the film's protagonist.[5]


A television announcer reports sightings of a red fireball around the world. Facetiously, he calculates its path will lead it to California. Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes), a wealthy but highly troubled woman with a history of emotional instability and immoderate drinking, is driving on a road in an American desert that night. A glowing sphere settles on the deserted highway in front of her, causing her to veer off the road. When she gets out to investigate, a huge creature exits the object and reaches for her (the viewer sees only an enormous hand falling upon the screaming woman).

Nancy escapes and runs back to town, but nobody believes her story due to her known drinking problem and recent stay in a mental institution. Her philandering husband, Harry Archer (William Hudson), is more interested in his latest girlfriend, town floozy Honey Parker (Yvette Vickers), but pretends to be the good husband in the hope that Nancy will "snap" and return to the "booby hatch", leaving him in control of her $50 million.

Nancy bargains with Harry, asking him to search the desert with her for the "flying satellite," agreeing to a voluntary return to the sanatorium if they find no evidence. As night falls, they find the spacecraft. The alien creature, now seen as an enormous male humanoid, emerges. Harry fires his pistol at it, but the gunfire has no effect on the creature. Harry flees, leaving Nancy behind.

Nancy is later discovered on the roof of her pool house, but is delirious and must be sedated by her family physician, Dr. Cushing (Roy Gordon). The doctor comments on some scratches he finds on Nancy's neck, and theorizes that she was exposed to radiation. Egged on by his mistress Honey, Harry plans to inject Nancy with a lethal dose of her sedative, but when he sneaks up to her room, he discovers that she has grown into a giant. (In a scene paralleling that of Nancy's first encounter with the alien, the viewer sees only an enormous prop hand as the film characters react in horror.)

Cushing and Dr. Von Loeb, a specialist he has called in, are at a loss how to treat their patient. They keep her in a coma with morphine and restrain her with chains while waiting for the authorities. The sheriff and Jess (Ken Terrell), Nancy's faithful butler, track enormous footprints leading away from the estate to the alien sphere. Inside the sphere, they find Nancy's diamond necklace (containing the largest diamond in the world) and other large diamonds, each in a clear orb. They speculate that the jewels are being used as a power source for the alien ship. The huge alien reappears, and the sheriff and Jess flee.

Meanwhile, the gigantic Nancy awakens and breaks free of her restraints. She tears off the roof of her mansion and, clothed in a bikini-like arrangement of bed linens, makes her way to town, to avenge herself on her unfaithful husband. When she rips the roof off the bar to get at Harry, she spots Honey. She drops a ceiling beam on her rival, killing her. Harry panics, grabs Deputy Charlie's gun, and begins shooting, but she picks up Harry and walks away. Gunshots have no apparent effect on her. The sheriff fires a riot gun, which causes a nearby power line transformer to blow up, killing Nancy. The doctors find Harry lying dead in her hand.



According to star Yvette Vickers, the estate used as the Fowler Mansion in Attack was actually a pre-World War One estate in the Hollywood Hills that had been used in other feature films; it was also rented out for parties.[6] The original working title was The Astounding Giant Woman.

Director Nathan Juran was unhappy with the final film and changed his credit to "Nathan Hertz".[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 75%, based on 12 reviews from critics. It reports the critical consensus as "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman may well be one of the worst science-fiction films of all time, but that's not to say that it isn't thoroughly enjoyable".[7]

Remakes and sequels[edit]

With its low budget of around $88,000, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman made enough money to prompt discussion of a sequel. According to executive producer and cinematographer Jacques Marquette, the sequel was to be produced at a higher budget and in color. A script was written, but the project never advanced beyond the discussion phase.[8]

In early 1979, Dimension Pictures announced that producer Steve Krantz was developing a $5,000,000 remake of the film with director Paul Morrissey at the helm.[9] This version never came into fruition.

In the mid-1980s, filmmaker Jim Wynorski was considering a remake of the 1958 movie, with Sybil Danning in the title role.[10] Wynorski made it as far as a shooting a photo session with Danning dressed as the 50 foot woman,[11] but again, the project never materialized, as Wynorski opted to film the remake of Not of This Earth (1988) instead.[12]

The film was finally remade as an HBO movie, Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (1993). It was directed by Christopher Guest with a script by Thirtysomething scribe Joseph Dougherty and starred Daryl Hannah in the title role, who also produced the film.

In 1995, Fred Olen Ray produced a parody entitled Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold, starring J. J. North and Tammy Parks. Beyond the basic premise, the plot had little in common with the original film, being concerned with the side effects of a beauty-enhancing formula on two ambitious female models. The film was deliberately farcical and made on an extremely low budget. The illusion of size difference was achieved using forced perspective, unlike the earlier films which used composite imaging.

In late 2011, Roger Corman and his New Horizon company produced a 3D film called Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader; it was released on August 25, 2012. The film was written by Mike MacLean (who also penned Sharktopus for Corman) and directed by Kevin O'Neill. The film stars Jena Sims, a former Miss Georgia Teen USA, in the title role, Cassie Stratford, and Olivia Alexander as Sims's rival Brittany Andrews. Both Alexander and Sims had hinted that a sequel was underway, but as of May 2016 nothing more has materialized.

In popular culture[edit]

'Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman' (1958) is playing in the drive-in theatre in the 1977 Piper Laurie movie 'Ruby'.

Home media[edit]

The original Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was released on DVD by Warner Bros. on June 26, 2007. It was also available in a Warner Bros. three-disc box set titled Cult Camp Classics 1: Sci-Fi Thrillers, which included the films The Giant Behemoth (1959) and Queen of Outer Space (1958). The DVD includes an audio commentary with co-star Yvette Vickers and interviewer Tom Weaver. The DVDs are officially out-of-print. On September 20, 2011, Warner Bros. added it to the Warner Archive collection; the content is the same as the previous DVD release. Warner Bros. has yet to release a Blu-ray of the film.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smith, Richard Harland. "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)". TCMDb. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  2. ^ a b Swires, Steve (May 1989). "Nathan Juran: The Fantasy Voyages of Jerry the Giant Killer - Part Two". Starlog. No. 142. p. 56. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Keep Watching The Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the 1950s, Vol. 2, 1958-1962 (New York: McFarland & Co, 1986), 16.
  6. ^ Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, DVD commentary
  7. ^ "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ Bill Warren, Keep Watching The Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the 1950s, Vol. 2, 1958-1962 (New York: McFarland & Co, 1986), 16.
  9. ^ "Hollywood Report". Box Office. Hollywood, CA: Ben Shlyen. 1979-01-01. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  10. ^ See Femme Fatales 1:2.
  11. ^ One image appears as the cover of Femme Fatales 1:2 Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Femme Fatales, 1:2.
  13. ^ "Attack of the 50 Foot Irma". 23 October 1989. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Challenge of the Superfriends, History of Doom, Part 1., position 6:58

External links[edit]