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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Movie Review - The Deadly Mantis (1957)

It’s the end of the month now… and you know what that means. So, I present my last and final bug inspired movie; “The Deadly Mantis” (1957). It sure is a special one, ha. I won't lie, I did have a little trouble sitting through this one.

The movie opens with scenes of a map for North America, and then shows you the Artic followed by scenes of snow, ice bergs and volcanic action. The credits and title roll to show a large shadowy figure trapped in the ice as it melts. What a beginning.

Loss of contact from a radar tracking station has been lost. Col. Parkman is sent to investigate the site and disappearance of the servicemen. Strange tracks are found in the snow and a mysterious object is found. The object is 5 feet in length shaped like a thorn. Dr. Ned Jackson has been asked to research it. The object is tested and hunches seem to be that of an insect. As it turns out they deduce that it is the spur from a praying mantis. Dr. Jackson works with the military to track the over-sized insect. The military makes a few attempts to stop the mantis with aircraft support but it is too deadly to be stopped. The mantis soon makes its way south creating havoc along the way. The standoff ends with a final fight in New York.

This movie was shot in black and white. I will say, it certainly has a different feel than if it were colour. The special effects of the over-sized mantis were pretty decent but when they showed it flying across the sky it lost all creditability. The acting was alright nothing fantastic. The story was okay, could use help. A little slow and too much emphasis put on the military action. Usually movies like this from the 50’s are laughable. There was also a love interest romantic side story developing between the doctor and a reporter. This simply created slightly more cheese than what was already present; a move that should appeal to anyone in the 50’s. The sound track has that robust symphony sound and fit the mood. The narration is such that it sounds like a science program and one so obvious from the 50’s.

All in all, this movie was pretty terrible. The only thing I thought was neat was the up-close shots of the mantis. I am quite sure that for 1957 it must have fared well at the theatre but quite different than today’s standards. I do think there is merit here and could have been a lot better than it was. I rate this film 4.5/10 and I wouldn’t recommend watching it unless you wanted to see a dated movie.

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