Saturday, April 20, 2013

#978. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

Directed By: Nathan Juran

Starring: Allison Hayes, William Hudson, Yvette Vickers

Tag line: "See a female colossus... her mountainous torso, skyscraper limbs, giant desires!"

Trivia: Director Nathan Juran insisted on being billed as "Nathan Hertz" (Hertz was Juran's middle name), apparently because he was embarrassed by this film's low budget and poor quality

I absolutely love the poster art for 1958’s Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, which shows a scantily-clad beauty towering over a city freeway, holding a car in her left hand as she reaches down to grab another one with her right. Down below, people are running in all directions, and in the lower left corner, a truck that crashed into the giant babe’s foot lies in ruins. I’d seen this artwork long before I ever watched the movie, and based on what it showed me, I couldn’t wait to see Attack of the 50 Foot Woman!

Alas, the poster is more interesting than the film itself.

Wealthy socialite Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes) is a very unlucky lady. Aside from the fact her husband Harry (William Hudson) is having an affair with local fun girl Honey Parker (Yvette Vickers), Nancy’s also just had a run-in with a 30-foot tall extraterrestrial, and, due to her history of mental problems, when she tries telling people about it, no one believes a word she says. Hoping his wife is having another breakdown, Harry makes plans to lock Nancy away for good, thus giving him full control of her vast fortune. But following another encounter with the gargantuan alien, something strange happens to Nancy: she begins growing taller…and taller… and taller! The family physician, Dr. Cushing (Roy Gordon), has no idea what’s going on, and keeps Nancy heavily sedated until a cure can be found. Yet when Nancy, who’s now as tall as a building, finally wakes up, she decides to take her frustrations out on Harry, and there isn’t much anyone can do to stop her.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman isn’t a total stinker; the acting is good, especially Allison Hayes as Nancy, and Yvette Vickers is very easy on the eyes. Also, the scene where Nancy drags Harry out to the desert to show him the spaceship has a fairly dramatic payoff. Sure, the special effects are hilariously weak, but that’s to be expected (the film reportedly cost just $88,000 to produce). No, the main problem I had with Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is that it took too damn long for the 50-foot woman to attack! I’m not saying she should have been crushing buildings within the first 10 minutes. I just didn’t think they’d wait until the last 10 to roll her out, and when she finally does make her appearance, the damage she causes is pretty minimal.

So, yeah, the movie was a bit of a letdown. But I still love that poster!

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