“What sin could a man commit in a single lifetime to bring this about on himself?”
A lieutenant (Glenn Langan) exposed to an atomic bomb test blast in Nevada begins growing enormous while acting increasingly mad, much to the distress of his concerned fiancee (Cathy Downs) and the doctor treating him (William Hudson).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Atomic Energy
- Mutant Monsters
- Science Fiction
Director Bert I. Gordon (“Mr. BIG”) is best known for his science fiction films about over-sized creatures: the same year he released Beginning of the End (1957) about giant atomic locusts on the prowl, he made this size-wise counterpart to The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), and later helmed the laughably silly Village of the Giants (1965). Certain elements of the script are either patronizingly pedantic (“Now, the reason for this is rather technical, Carol, but to give you a simplified layman’s explanation…”) and/or laughably nonsensical (“… since the heart is made up of a SINGLE cell for all practical purposes, instead of millions of cells like the rest of the organs of the body, it’s reacting in an entirely different manner.” — whaa??) The giant’s romp through Las Vegas is engaging — particularly the homage to King Kong as he looks inside a hotel room at a girl bathing and later picks up Carol (Downs); but the rest of the storyline is rather dull, with Langan simply lamenting his fate and mistreating everyone around him. With that said, those who enjoy mid-century flicks about atomic mutants will certainly want to check this one out.
P.S. What’s up with the TV newsman named “H. Wells”???
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Some effective lighting and special effects
Nope; skip this one unless you’re curious.
One thought on “Amazing Colossal Man, The (1957)”
First viewing. A tentative once-must, but only for camp and sci-fi enthusiasts. Others are likely to have little interest.
I say ‘tentative’ because, although the film shows ‘promise’ (for what it is) in its first third, it seems the writers became stumped as to where the story could go (it doesn’t go much of anywhere, really) – and the conclusion is less than satisfying. Still, I’m sure the MST3K guys could have had enough of a field day with it (if they decided to take it on; I don’t know whether they did or not).
Hard-working and versatile DP Joe Biroc (who had just shot ‘Forty Guns’ for Samuel Fuller) does what he can – which is only so much, given the script.
Gordon must have been quite enamored of the premise, however, since he (unfortunately) resurrected it in 1965 for the quite terrible ‘Village of the Giants’.