With all the Science Fiction movies being produced these days, I thought it was high time to talk about some early Science Fiction movies that need to be viewed. I decided to look at movies prior to 1968 when both '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Planet Of The Apes' were released. I picked out a few that have not been remade or where the remake is not a better movie. For example, I think that The Fly (1958), 1984 (1956), and The Thing From Another World (1951) all had superior remakes. I picked out 12 movies that everyone should see for the story, the glorious Technicolor, or the superior effects for that time. I ordered the list by year of release:
Far ahead for its time. The scenery looks like the models that they are. The movie is German so the DVD you buy will have subtitles, but may also provide an English overdub. But there are some great effects that make you wonder how they did it in 1927. Here is a GIF of the transformation scene to give you an idea of what it looks like:
At the end of this scene the robot was fully encased in skin. This is how the Terminators were made!
I still love this version over any remakes since its release. A treatise on scientific hubris and man's inability to control its creations. Mary Shelley's novel is the start of the science-fiction genre. A little over-acting by Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein doesn't detract from this movie.
The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
Still a classic of the genre! Superior in every way to the remake starring Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly. Although the female lead played by Patricia Neal was not a hero's part, that she portrayed an independent widower raising a child on her own was welcome. Michael Rennie was perfectly cast. Tall and very lanky, he didn't fit in with the other shorter, stockier humans. No special effects or makeup required!
The Day Of The Triffids (1951)
This movie was terrifying when I was a kid! A worldwide meteor shower renders almost all humans blind. Then, they are hunted by giant walking intelligent plants! The effects were okay, but I included it here for the strange story. Rent this and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956) for a good double feature!
When Worlds Collide (1951)
Some of the premise seemed hokey to me when I was a kid. Planets coming into the solar system and colliding with the earth?! The launch system for the rocket?! Then, I read about rogue planets that could be roaming around the universe. I also read about ideas for new space launch systems that look suspiciously like the one in this movie. I then questioned whether the small number of people in the rocket could not possibly save the human race. Well again a study came out that states 16 male-female pairs (32 people) will theoretically repopulate a planet. Again, the premise of this movie holds up!
War Of The Worlds (1953)
Great movie version of the H.G. Wells novel! I'm tossed on whether this or the Tom Cruise version is better. The movie producers trolled both H.G. Wells and Jules Verne for great movies. This is the first of four (4) on this list by the two authors.
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954)
Disney has been hit or miss on sci-fi & fantasy movies for a long time. The movie version of the Jules Verne novel was a hit. The special effects were great. The giant squid though was so bad they changed the weather from a clear day to a dark and stormy night to hide that fact. Funny, but The Fellowship of The Ring made the same decision 47 years later! This and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea always made me ask why windows were not on current submarines.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
This movie used William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' as the backbone for the screenplay. It has Leslie Nielsen in his pre-Airplane! days as the captain of an interstellar spaceship. Robby The Robot was such a hit, they made more movies with him. The effects and backgrounds were excellent. Although you will laugh at the use of many meter dials instead of a digital dial in one scene. The energy monster was quite effective. Add the rest of the hull to the ship and you've got the U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew.
Journey To The Center Of The Earth (1959)
Another Jules Verne novel brought to the big screen in glorious Cinemascope! Science is hokey, but the scenery is beautiful! The new version pales in comparison.
The Time Machine (1960)
This movie is still so popular even The Big Bang Theory paid homage to it. The passage where time is passing very fast is still a wonder to behold. The new version was total crap too!
Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
What can I say? Here is a science fiction movie made by Francois Truffaut of a Ray Bradbury novel. I'm all in! The only reason to do a remake is that this movie left a lot from the novel out. There have been rumors about a possible remake for years now. But, I am always afraid that we'll get a hyperkinetic mess.
Quatermass and The Pit (1967)
This movie was called Five Million Years To Earth for release in the United States. A spaceship is found in London containing the remains of martians. Through studying the ship, the scientists determine that Earth was seeded by the martians. However, the ship awakens and starts taking control of all nearby humans. Scared the crap out of me as a kid!
Rent or buy these movies, make a tub of popcorn, crack open a bottle of soda and enjoy!