In the 1950’s Universal International Pictures were the major Hollywood players in science-fiction films. But despite a very broad canvas for conceptual experimentation most science-fiction films of the early 1950’s were quite conservative in their approach to visual effects. The majority of the films were black and white and earth bound, and adhered to a sense of reality which was ill at ease with the notion of a spectacle that was fundamental to the genre. As the decade wore on however science-fiction began to develop a more daring attitude to visual effects, and a willingness to venture further in search of screen images that could persuade audiences to leave their television sets and embark on a trip to the cinema. One such film is This Island Earth, which is easily Universal International’s most ambitious science-fiction project, and one of a select band of films produced in the 1950’s that escaped the confines of planet Earth. The most successful and recognisable would probably be Forbidden Planet (1956) but for me the most enjoyable is the nonsensically titled This Island Earth.
© Shaun Anderson - 2010