Kronos (film)

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Kronos
Kronos 1957 poster small.jpg
Directed by Kurt Neumann
Produced by Irving Block
Louis DeWitt
Kurt Neumann
Jack Rabin
Screenplay by Lawrence L. Goldman
Story by Irving Block
Starring Jeff Morrow
Barbara Lawrence
John Emery
George O'Hanlon
Music by Paul Sawtell
Bert Shefter
Cinematography Karl Struss
Edited by Jodie Copelan
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 1957 (1957-04) (United States)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $160,000 (estimated)[1]

Kronos (a.k.a. Kronos, Destroyer of the Universe) is a 1957 independently made American black-and-white science fiction film from Regal Films, produced by Irving Block, Louis DeWitt, Kurt Neumann, and Jack Rabin, directed by Kurt Neumann, that stars Jeff Morrow and Barbara Lawrence. Kronos was distributed by 20th Century Fox on a double bill with She Devil.[2]

Since the film's release, it has been widely praised both for its above-average storyline and its farsighted portrayal of the consequences of over-consumption of both natural and man-made resources; it has achieved minor cult status as a result.[3]

Plot[edit]

A huge, blinking flying saucer from deep space emits a glowing object, which races to Earth. It intercepts a man who's driving his car down an isolated road. The object takes over the man's body and directs it to LabCentral, a U.S. research facility that's been tracking the saucer, thinking it was an asteroid.

The man's possessed body forces its way into the lab and the entity inside takes control of the chief scientist, who directs three nuclear missiles to be fired at the saucer. Everyone is shocked when the explosion fails to destroy the object. The saucer crashes into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico. Impatient with the delay in getting a formal expedition to the crash scene, two of the lab's scientists (one with his photographer girlfriend in tow) head down to Mexico. After their arrival, they see the saucer appear on the ocean's surface. Terrified, they flee back to their lodging for the rest of the night.

The next morning, both scientists and the girlfriend see a large, stories-tall machine that has appeared on the beach. Its four-legged body features two mobile antennae that resemble the terminals of a capacitor. They use a small helicopter to land atop the strange machine, glimpsing its complex inner workings before being forced to leave.

Under the direction of the possessed chief scientist, who now has lists of power stations and atom-bomb arsenals around the world, the machine, which has since been named Kronos, methodically attacks power plants in Mexico, draining all their energy. In doing so Kronos grows larger with every energy-absorption episode, consuming more and more power as it moves, unhindered, from one power source to the next. Four Mexican Air Force fighter planes attack, but the ever-growing alien machine easily destroys them and continues on its energy-draining rampage.

In a lucid, unpossessed moment, the chief scientist tells his returned colleagues that Kronos is an energy accumulator, sent by an alien race that has exhausted its own natural resources; they have sent their giant machine to drain all the Earth's available power and then return it to their dying world.

The United States Air Force sends a B-47 bomber to drop an atomic bomb, but one of the scientists warns the Pentagon that an atomic explosion will simply supply Kronos with massive amounts of energy. The Pentagon attempts to abort the bombing mission, but Kronos causes the jet to crash into it, absorbing the bomb's nuclear blast. The alien machine, now grown to an immense size, appears unstoppable, harvesting all forms of energy at will.

As Kronos draws near Los Angeles, scientists devise an ingenious plan that reverses the monster machine's polarity, forcing it to feed upon itself, until being obliterated by a gigantic implosion. But the question remains: Will mankind suffer another onslaught by the desperate aliens?

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Kronos was filmed in a little more than two weeks (mid-January to late January 1957) in California; special effects were created by Jack Rabin, Irving Block, and Louis DeWitt.[4]

The idea of an alien machine absorbing energy is similar to the giant alien machine from the later (1966) Star Trek television episode "The Doomsday Machine" which destroys planets and uses them to fuel itself.[5]

George O'Hanlon, who plays Dr. Arnold Culver in the film, had just finished his popular series of Joe McDoakes comedy shorts and would be later known as the voice of George Jetson in the popular cartoon series The Jetsons.[6]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

When the film was first released in 1957, Variety gave the film a favorable review: "Kronos is a well-made, moderate budget science-fictioner which boasts quality special effects that would do credit to a much higher-budgeted film ... John Emery is convincing as the lab head forced by the outer-space intelligence to direct the monster. Barbara Lawrence is in strictly for distaff interest, but pretty".[7]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz was disappointed in the film's screenplay and acting. He wrote, "German emigre to Hollywood, Kurt Neumann (Tarzan and the Amazons/Son of Ali Baba/She Devil), directs this b/w shot, dull, so-so sci-fi film, that's played straight-forward, is humorless and all the thespians are wooden. It's based on the story by Irving Block and the weak script is written by Lawrence Louis Goldman".[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Internet Movie Database Business/Box office for
  2. ^ Kurt neumann, director, dies in mystery. (1958, Aug 22). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/167255402?accountid=13902
  3. ^ Kronos on IMDb [unreliable source?]
  4. ^ Kronos at the American Film Institute Catalog. Production Date: mid January to late January 1957. Accessed: July 22, 2013.
  5. ^ The Doomsday Machine on IMDb . Accessed: July 22, 2013.
  6. ^ The Jetsons on IMDb . Accessed: July 22, 2013.[unreliable source?]
  7. ^ Variety. Staff film review, 1957. Accessed: July 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Schwartz Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, May 26, 2011. Accessed: July 22, 2013.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009, ISBN 0-89950-032-3.

External links[edit]