Thursday, March 22, 2012

TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Sci-Fi Adventures (Them! / The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms / World Without End / Satellite in the Sky)

Price: $13.99

Disc 1, side A: Them!
Behind-the-scenes archive footage showing how giant ants operate
Bug movies production notes
Theatrical trailer
1.33, English 1.0, B&W
English, French, Spanish, Portugese, and Japanese subtitles

Disc 1, side B: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
Two featurettes: The Rhedosaurus and the Roller Coaster: Making the Beast and Harryhausen & Bradbury: An Unfathomable Friendship
Giant monsters trailer gallery
1.33, English 1.0, French 1.0, B&W

Disc 2, side A: World Without End and Satellite in the Sky
2.35, English 1.0, color
English and French subtitles

Them! is a 1954 American black and white science fiction film about man's encounter with a nest of gigantic irradiated ants. It is based on an original story treatment by George Worthing Yates. It was developed into a screenplay by Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes for Warner Bros. Pictures Inc., and was produced by David Weisbart and directed by Gordon Douglas. It starred James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon and James Arness.

One of the first of the "nuclear monster" movies, and the first "big bug" film, Them! was nominated for an Oscar for Special Effects and won a Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing. The film starts off as a simple suspense story, with police investigating mysterious disappearances and unexplainable deaths. The giant ants are not even seen until almost a third of the way into the film.

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a 1953 science fiction film directed by Eugène Lourié and stars Paul Christian, Paula Raymond and Cecil Kellaway with visual effects by Ray Harryhausen. The film is about an atomic bomb test in the Arctic Circle that unfreezes a hibernating fictional dinosaur, a Rhedosaurus, that begins to wreak havoc in New York City. It was one of the first monster movies that helped inspire the following generation of creature features, coining it with the atomic age.

World Without End is the title of a science fiction B-movie, released in 1956 by Allied Artists. The first science fiction thriller in CinemaScope, it starred Hugh Marlowe, Rod Taylor, Nancy Gates, Christopher Dark, and Nelson Leigh and was directed by Edward Bernds.

This film marked an early 'big-screen' performance of Rod Taylor. The Australian-born actor would soon make his mark in science fiction film history, portraying another time traveler in the George Pal production of The Time Machine.


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