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DIRECTOR JACK ARNOLD GROUNDS 'IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE'

Richard Carlson and Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE Year: 1953 Rating: ***1/2

The same year as the theatrical WAR OF THE WORLDS, where what resembles a meteorite lands on Earth and turns out being aliens that the entire region witnesses, amateur stargazer Richard Carlson is all alone in what's half a theory: while it's fact that something landed into the desert ground, only HE realizes what's really inside it...

And Jack Arnold was beginning a great career as Universal's science-fiction/monster b-movie director, and while the near-future TARANTULA, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN and both CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON features, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE is more slow-burn than exciting, and while somewhat short on outright thrills and suspense, the story's told so conventionally and unpretentiously it all seems completely natural, providing Arnold a natural fit for bringing farfetched down to earth...

Barbara Rush with Richard Carlson and Kathleen Hughes in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE

While Richard Carlson aptly fills the stalwart lead, dealing with the townspeople refusing to believe his theory... including tough/honest sheriff Charles Drake with young and old telephone repairmen Joe Sawyer and Russell Johnson (whose hot girlfriend Kathleen Hughes is all but wasted here)... it's Barbara Rush, a pretty girl-next-door ingenue who steals the show, especially after being duplicated by the aliens (their P.O.V. the audience randomly shares), turning into a sultry, extremely sexy femme fatale type that eventually wields a killer laser gun...

But these aliens are merely defensive, initially curious, friendly, and, resembling a cyclops octopus that the director originally didn't want shown at all, the story breaks ground in being one of the first alien flicks where a peaceful and optimistic human protagonist's obsessive passion becomes much like Richard Dreyfuss in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND years later. There just needed a bit more camp here that Arnold avoided to make an effective movie despite the genre... Sometimes playing it safe can be too safe.

Richard Carlson in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Charles Drake in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Joe Sawyer in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Russell Johnson in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Kathleen Hughes in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Richard Carlson in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Barbara Rush in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE with Richard Carlson


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