An astronomer (Richard Carlson) in the desert witnesses a meteor crash, but only his girlfriend (Barbara Rush) believes his story of seeing a spacecraft landing under the earth. As locals — including two telephone linemen (Joe Sawyer and Russell Johnson) — become possessed by the aliens in duplicate bodies, Carlson tries to convince the sheriff (Charles Drake) to wait until the spaceship has a chance to rebuild itself and take off, or risk the lives of captured hostages — including Rush.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Barbara Rush Films
- Jack Arnold Films
- “No One Believes Me!”
- Science Fiction
Cult director Jack Arnold — who went on to helm The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) — fully launched his ’50s sci-fi career with this alien-invasion film, whose themes clearly foreshadow concerns of many other Cold War-era titles soon to come, most notably Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). While not in the same league as that classic, It Came… has numerous unique touches, including some striking visuals, as well as the incorporation of a western-style showdown between Carlson and the local sheriff, who soon has a posse of supporters. Also noteworthy is the portrayal of the aliens as friendly visitors who simply request time to fix their craft and return home — though of course, it’s incredibly challenging for locals to accept their (temporary) presence. (The more things change…) It’s fun to listen for lines that were likely in Ray Bradbury’s original story treatment (see examples below); apparently the DVD’s commentary track (which I haven’t yet listened to) goes into detail about how much Bradbury contributed in relation to the credited screenwriter, Harry Essex. Meanwhile, one is grateful the producers only added in footage of the aliens in their authentic form briefly, for a few seconds at most — they look ridiculous.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Yes, for its historical importance. Listed as a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.