The Cyclops (film)
|Directed by||Bert I. Gordon|
|Produced by||Bert I. Gordon|
|Written by||Bert I. Gordon|
|Music by||Albert Glasser|
|Cinematography||Ira H. Morgan|
|Edited by||Carlo Lodato|
B & H Productions, Inc.
|Distributed by||Allied Artists|
The Cyclops (aka Cyclops) (1957) is a science fiction horror film written, produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon, starring James Craig, Lon Chaney Jr. and Gloria Talbott. The theme of a monster created as a result of radioactivity was a common one in the 1950s. Typical of the "B" film features of the period, a modicum of production values was involved.
Test pilot Bruce Barton (Duncan Parkin) is missing and his girlfriend, Susan Winter (Gloria Talbott) organizes a search party, sent out in the jungles of Mexico. The team of scientist Russ Bradford (James Craig), mining expert Martin "Marty" Melville (Lon Chaney Jr.) and pilot Lee Brand (Tom Drake) fly into an unknown territory. While searching the area, however, they uncover giant mutated earth animals such as giant snakes, lizards, behemoth bugs and oversized mammals.
More importantly, they encounter a mutated 50-ft tall, one-eyed human monster who became disfigured due to an exposure to radioactivity from massive radium deposits in the area. He kills Melville but appears to recognize the girl. When the cyclops tries to prevent the rest of the group from flying to safety, he is gravely wounded, and dies.
As appearing in The Cyclops, (main roles and screen credits identified):
- James Craig as Russ Bradford
- Gloria Talbott as Susan Winter
- Lon Chaney Jr. (credited as Lon Chaney) as Martin "Marty" Melville
- Tom Drake as Lee Brand
- Duncan Parkin as Bruce Barton, the Cyclops
- Vincente Padula as The governor
- Marlene Kloss as Salesgirl
- Manuel López as Policeman
- Paul Frees as vocal effects for The Cyclops
The main leads, Craig, Drake and Talbott signed up for the independent production, which was initially going to be a RKO production, but financing fell through. The Producer/director worked feverishly to complete the film before money ran out, with only five or six days allotted to shooting. Not making things any easier was having to contend with Lon Chaney Jr. who was habitually drunk. Duncan Parkin also played Col. Manning in the War of the Colossal Beast (1958), the sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), basically playing the same disfigured giant in both films.
Production effects in The Cyclops were limited to backscreen projection, rudimentary matte work, and incorporating large images into the scenes. In the film, there is a scene in which the creature grabs Susan, but he also grabs the background as well, revealing the black color behind it. The discovery of the test pilot's aircraft involves dissimilar and haphazard debris scattered about in the form of a light aircraft wing, a P-51 Mustang canopy and a radial engine.
The Cyclops was released as a double-feature with Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, which also starred Gloria Talbott. A clip of The Cyclops was later used as part of the original opening sequence of WPIX Channel 11 New York's "Chiller Theatre" back in the 1960s. Film critic Leonard Maltin dismissed the film as "Nothing much in this cheapie."
- Wingrove 1985, p. 233.
- Craig 2013, p. 179.
- "Credits: 'The Cyclops' (1957)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: April 19, 2012.
- "Articles: 'The Cyclops' (1957)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: March 21, 2017.
- Telotte 2004, p. 98.
- Palmer 20090, p. 120.
- "The Cyclops: Movie information." movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved: July 23, 2007.
- Maltin 2011, p. 309.
- Craig, Rob. It Came from 1957: A Critical Guide to the Year's Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7864-7777-7.
- Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's 2012 Movie Guide. New York: Signet, 2011. ISBN 978-0-4512-3447-6.
- Palmer, Randy. Paul Blaisdell, Monster Maker: A Biography of the B Movie Makeup and Special Effects Artist. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7864-4099-3.
- Telotte, J. P. Science Fiction Film (Genres in American Cinema). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-511-03495-4.
- Wingrove, David. Science Fiction Film Source Book. London: Longman Group Limited, 1985. ISBN 978-0582893108.
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