The Monster that Challenged the World (1957)

Article #583 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 10-19-2002
Posting date: 3-14-2003

An insect-like monster is let loose on the world as a result of an underwater earthquake.

For some reason, this fifties monster movie doesn’t get much respect, but I think it holds up extraordinarily well. For one thing, I think the characters are unusually well drawn for this type of movie, and they’re given a dimension and a sense of realness that adds a lot to the proceedings; I actually feel real sadness in the scene where the secretary can’t bring herself to try to comfort her pregnant friend on the loss of her husband because she herself has never quite recovered from the loss of her own. In fact, all throughout, the characters are treated as if the screenwriter and the actors really cared about them, rather than just seeing them as means to an end or plot devices. The monster itself is a little mechanical, but considerable skill is used in setting up the monster attack scenes, particularly in the one near the canal that always makes me jump. Tim Holt, Casey Adams and a surprisingly restrained Hans Conreid are all on hand for this one. And even if the monster never really does get around to challenging the whole world, this is one of my personal favorites of the era.

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