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The Monster That Challenged The World

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    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Monster That Challenged The World, The



    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: August 11th, 2015.
    Director: Arnold Laven
    Cast: Tim Holt, Audrey Dalton, Hans Conried
    Year: 1957
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Arnold Laven's 1957 film The Monster That Challenged The World begins when an earthquake blasts open a hole at the bottom of the sea. It just so happens that this hole opens up near a naval base being used by the government to conduct atomic testing! At the same time, a parachute jumper winds up missing in action. Two Navy guys, Johnson (Jody McCrea) and Sanders (William Swan), are asked to go look for him but when they do, they too mysteriously disappear. At this point, the Navy realizes something screwy is going on and so they go to the only man who can sort this out - Commander John Twillinger (Tim Holt), the sort of career tough guy who you go to in situations like this.

    When Twillinger finds the boat with a corpse in it, he also finds some goopy, slimy stuff - and when he finds the corpse of the parachute jumper, also covered in slimy stuff, well, he and Dr. Rogers (Hans Conried) put two and two together and figure out that something weird is definitely afoot. Meanwhile, Twillinger has got the hots for foxy single mom Gail MacKenzie (Audrey Dalton), who just so happens to be Rogers' secretary. The navy acts fast, warning people to stay off the beaches, but a few more people go missing and once some weird radioactive eggs are discovered? Well, it's clear that all of this stems back to a giant monster, the kind of monster that just might challenge… the world.

    This isn't the most original monster movie ever made but it's a well put together B-picture that benefits from some strong pacing and solid, if workmanlike, direction from Laven. The performances are pretty good here too. Tim Holt is definitely leading man material and if most movie fans are going to remember him as a cowboy (he stared in a lot of westerns) rather than a navy man, he makes the transition here a pretty painless one. He's macho and tough but he's resourceful and smart and once romance in the air, you just know that Gail MacKenzie will soon fall under his manly spell! Dalton is great as that love interest and if her character isn't exactly the model of a strong female part, she does what she does here well and while her character is written very much as a product of the movie's time you can't fault her work here for that. Hans Conried is also pretty fun here as the scientist.

    But this is a monster movie, right? Indeed it is. While it takes a little while to get to our titular creature, once we do it's pretty great. Obviously his looks is spoiled by the cover art of this release (which is based on the original poster art) so those going into this will know what to expect but the reveal is handled well, with some nifty under water sequences building up to that reveal rather well. The effects are actually really fun to watch and the scenes in which the human players react to the creature handled well.

    It might not reinvent the wheel, but it doesn't need to. The Monster That Challenged The World is top notch B-movie fun.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Monster That Challenged The World is presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen which is the film's original theatrical aspect ratio (past DVD releases have been 1.33.1). The source used for this transfer was evidently in great shape as there's very little print damage here outside of a few tiny white specks visible now and again. There's noticeably stronger detail (though the underwater scenes do, understandably, look a bit murkier) and texture here when compared to the previous DVD edition while contrast and black levels look spot on. Film grain is present, as it should be, and the image appears free of any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifact problems. The movie looks quite nice here, fans should be pleased.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track is solid. The score has better depth and range than the past DVD release had and clarity is bumped up a couple of notches as well. The sound effects used in the film have good presence and they resonate nicely in a few key scenes (mostly the more action intensive scenes of monster mayhem), while the dialogue is properly balanced and easy to follow. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note and all in all, things sound just fine here. No alternate language options or subtitles are provided.

    Aside from a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection we also get a commentary from film historian Tom Weaver and it's a really strong examination of the film (at one point he hands it over to David Schecter to discuss the music in the film). There's a lot of great trivia and historical insight here but also some analysis regarding how the film reflects the time period in which it was made, how it compares to similar creature features from the decade and more. This really is a very well researched and fast paced track - it's as thorough as it is interesting.

    The Final Word:

    The Monster That Challenged The World is a pretty fun late night TV style monster movie, the kind that you can zone out to and have fun with, popcorn in hand and the lights down low. It's not deep, it's not even all that original, but it is fun and this Blu-ray offers its fans a pretty darn solid technical upgrade and a nice commentary too.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















    • Andrew Monroe
      #1
      Andrew Monroe
      Pallid Hands
      Andrew Monroe commented
      Editing a comment
      If anyone remembers Tim Holt today it's undoubtedly from TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. I really like this one, it's great fun and pretty darn gripping. It hints at some fairly gruesome fates for the victims too. Weaver's commentary is worth a listen too, as they usually are.

    • Gary Banks
      #2
      Gary Banks
      Senior Member
      Gary Banks commented
      Editing a comment
      Really terrific film that is one of the best 50's giant "monstuh" movies!
    Posting comments is disabled.

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