I Married a Monster
From Outer Space
Younger viewers can enjoy I Married a Monster From Outer Space on a completely different level, camp even in places where that was not the original intent.
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I Married a Monster From Outer Space
The fifties was a very special time for Hollywood. The nation was in the midst of the cold war, the paranoia of the Joe McCarthy era was in full swing and technology was entering the home in a big way. These factors created some of the greatest, classic science fiction as well as some very enjoyable ‘B’ flicks. These were the films I grew up with, the ones that initially sparked a life long love affair with film. One of the most memorable of these films of my youth was without a doubt I Married A Monster From Outer Space.
Bill Farrell (Tom Tryon) is an average sort of guy that was on his way home from having his prenuptial drinks with his friends. He stops his car on a deserted road when a hideous shape comes up behind him and poor Bill receives a very close encounter. The alien creature forms a duplicate of Bill’s body and takes control of it, in essence becoming Bill. The next day Marge (Gloria Talbott) doesn’t marry Bill as she believes she marries a monster from outer space.
Now the pseudo Bill was not an exact copy, he couldn’t drink alcohol, he has an adversity to oxygen and he can’t get Marge pregnant. In one now famous scene the monster Bill stands out on the balcony during his honeymoon and as the lighting flash illuminates his face his real persona is seen.
Now I Married a Monster From Outer Space is full of plot holes. Why would a race that can’t handle oxygen come here where it comprises twenty percent of our air? If this race is looking for women so they can reproduce how come they can’t get our women pregnant? How did the research for this race, the leader’s idiot nephew? As a ‘B’ flick, I Married a Monster From Outer Space can get away with this because ultimately the movie is fun. While on one level in I Married a Monster From Outer Space, it plays upon the prevalent fears of the time it also has a good measure of black humor. The way the ex-pugilist bartender picks a fight with the now converted group of new husbands remains one of my favorite scenes as he punches Bill who stands there with his hands in his pocket. Watching I Married a Monster From Outer Space is like a look back into the hearts of the regular people of the fifties. Back then we felt that the Communists would ‘steal our souls’ as they used every low handed trick to infiltrate our society. The fear that they could live among us undetected was wide spread back then and I Married a Monster From Outer Space was one of many that capitalized on this fact. Of course the day is saved when the local doctor discovers the truth and recruits an ad hoc army from the one pure source of good Americans, the maternity father’s waiting room!
Tom Tryon is not just an actor in lesser films like I Married a Monster From Outer Space. He played the lead in the controversial film, The Cardinal, directed by the great Otto Preminger. One thing that can be said about Tryon is he never tempered his skill as an actor depending on what film he was in; he always gave his best performance. Gloria Talbott founded her career mostly on westerns, something that appears typical for notable Sci-Fi stars. In I Married a Monster From Outer Space she overplayed her role just a tad but this comes across as just part of the fun. The camp value of I Married a Monster From Outer Space often comes from her panic. As one of the many screaming damsels in distress this genre has spawned she ranks right up there.
The two leads in I Married a Monster From Outer Space have the perfect chemistry for the time. The man is expected to earn a living while the new wife is to where nice clothes bring her husband a drink when he gets home form work and start having babies as soon as possible. Younger viewers may see this as ridiculous by today’s standards but that was how it was.
Director Gene Fowler Jr. like much of his cast devoted much of his career to westerns. In the fifties there was little distinction in Hollywood between Sci-Fi and westerns and in a real way it is understandable. Both genres depend of deeply type cast characters and the need for something novel every few minutes. Fowler does I Married a Monster From Outer Space to perfection, if you look at it for the camp value it contains. He plays the stereotypes for all they are worth which would server to help the audience of the time identify well with the characters. There are also some really good cinematic moments that sets I Married a Monster From Outer Space somewhat above its peers.
In one scene when Marge sees the dead shell of an alien replacement body the point is visually emphasized by a bug crawling over the eyes. Fowler uses the camera properly to focus the emotional response of the audience. Now the lighting is typical of fifties science fiction, bad. In the many night scenes you can tell the effect of night was imposed in post production. Like such films as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Invaders from Mars, Fowler uses the fears of the audience and plays them like a violin.
Typical of films like I Married a Monster From Outer Space, the DVD is bare bones but still welcomed. Its reassuring that studios like Paramount are not overlooking the films of my generation’s youth and are providing them on this media. The black and white video is presented in what appears to be a matted widescreen presentation. I Married a Monster From Outer Space has held up fairly well in the last half century. While there are some signs of age, mostly in stray flecks and noise the overall quality is actually pretty good. The contrast between black and white is a bit better than most films of this era. The mono audio has some slight distortion but the dialogue comes across in a clear, understandable fashion.
For those out there like myself I Married a Monster From Outer Space is a must have, it is a piece of our childhood. Younger viewers can enjoy I Married a Monster From Outer Space on a completely different level, camp even in places where that was not the original intent. Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy a film that represents the mainstay film of its day. Review of I Married a Monster From Outer Space
by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com If You Are Done Reviewing I Married a Monster From Outer Space
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