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It Came from Outer Space

It Came from Outer Space (1953) starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Russell Johnson

buy It Came from Outer Space from amazon.com It Came from Outer Space (1953)  – After seeing a spaceship crash into the desert, a local writer is treated like an insane person – until people start acting out of character, and heading to the old mine shaft …

Synopsis of It Came from Outer Space

It Came from Outer Space (1953) starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Russell JohnsonIt Came from Outer Space – Amateur astronomer John Putnam (Richard Carlson) and his fiancee Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush) are stargazing in the desert when a spaceship bursts from the sky and crashes to the ground. Just before a landslide buries the ship, a mysterious creature emerges and disappears into the darkness.

It Came from Outer Space (1953) starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake

In the 1950’s, at the movie theaters at least, it seemed to be a weekly ritual of space aliens landing on our planet with one of 2 rationales:

  1. To conquer our little planet
  2. To share their advanced technology benevolently, only for our mistrust to send them away (The Day the Earth Stood Still, for example)

Despite the title, It Came from Outer Space is neither of those, thanks in no small part to famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury, who wrote the original short short (“The Meteor”) that the film was based on, as well as much of the actual script itself.

Publicity photo of the cast of It Came from Outer SpaceThe basic film deals with our protagonist Richard Carlson (playing writer and amateur astronomer John Putnam) who lives out in a small desert community and sees a meteor crash along with his girlfriend, local schoolteacher Ellen Fields (played by Barbara Rush).   They rush to the site of the landing site, an enormous crater, which Richard Carlson investigates.  And sees an otherworldly spacecraft at the bottom of the crater, shortly before a massive landslide buries it from human sight.   He’s the only one who observes it and is disbelieved by the rest of the townspeople – especially Sheriff Matt Warren (played by Charles Drake), who has eyes for Ellen.

Soon, some of the townspeople are acting oddly (including Russell Johnson, who also appeared in This Island Earth but is best remembered as “The Professor” on Gilligan’s Island).   It appears that the aliens have simply crashed on our planet, and simply want to effect repairs and leave–if untrusting humanity will let them.   If they’re telling the truth …

In short, It Came from Outer Space is a surprisingly adult story, dealing with themes of trust in America’s Cold War period, although the ending seems a little formulaic — but, of course, that formula began with this movie.   I recommend It Came from Outer Space, and rate it a solid 3 stars.

Movie quotes from It Came from Outer Space

[first lines]
John Putnam: [off-screen] This is Sand Rock, Arizona, of a late evening in early spring. It’s a nice town, knowing its past and sure of its future, as it makes ready for the night, and the predictable morning. The desert blankets the earth, cooling, resting for the fight with tomorrow’s sun. And in my house near the town, we’re also sure of the future. So very sure.


John Putnam: [View of Putnam from inside the mine shaft. He’s outside peering into the darkness, speaking to the alien] Show yourself! Let me see you as you truly are!
Alien: [Voice from off screen] No.


Ellen Fields: If we’ve been seeing things, it’s because we DID see them.


Sheriff Matt Warren: Did you know, Putnam, more people are murdered at ninety-two degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once – lower temperatures, people are easy-going. Over ninety-two, it’s too hot to move. But just ninety-two, people get irritable.


[last lines]
Sheriff Matt Warren: [three-shot, characters gazing toward sky into which meteor-spaceship has rocketed] Well, they’ve gone.
Ellen Fields: For good, John?
John Putnam: No. Just for now. It wasn’t the right time for us to meet. But there’ll be other nights, other stars for us to watch. They’ll be back.


Editorial review of  It Came from Outer Space, courtesy of Amazon.com

Amateur astronomer John Putnam (Richard Carlson) and his fiancee Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush) are stargazing in the desert when a spaceship bursts from the sky and crashes to the ground. Just before a landslide buries the ship, a mysterious creature emerges and disappears into the darkness. Of course, when he tells his story to the sheriff (Charles Drake), John is branded a crackpot; but before long, strange things begin to happen, and the tide of disbelief turns”¦ Based on a story by acclaimed writer Ray Bradbury, It Came From Outer Space is a science fiction classic that is as thought-provoking and tantalizing today as it was when it first “landed” on the sliver screen.