Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) starring Allison Hayes, William Hudson, Yvette Vickers
In Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, a beautiful, rich young woman has just gotten out of a mental institution. She’s trying to reconnect with her greedy, cheating husband — who wants none of it. In fact, he wants his mistress instead. But then the young woman has a very close encounter with a spaceship …
Review of The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
There are several issues with Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. The special effects are very cheap, and the acting’s mediocre. But there’s a more essential issue: there’s nobody for the audience to root for.
Cast of characters
- Nancy (Allison Hayes, Zombies of Mora Tau). The beautiful, rich, heiress. Unfortunately, she’s also alcoholic, with a history of mental illness. And, she’s married to a cheating man. Even though he’s already left her once, she entices him to come back … with more money. And, sadly, her love is smothering, and she’s very clingy to her unfaithful husband. The audience feels sorry for her, but they don’t necessarily like her, or root for her.
- Harry (William Hudson, The Amazing Colossal Man). The actor does a very good job of portraying an absolutely unlikable character. He cheats on his wife, left her once, plans to have her declared insane in order to steal her money, bribes a police officer to lie to his wife … In short, completely despicable. And his girlfriend is even worse, hard as that is to believe.
- Honey (Yvette Vickers, Attack of the Giant Leeches). Honey is Harry’s attractive, sleazy mistress. She’s attractive … for all of the wrong reasons. She’s also heartless, and ruthless. She wants Harry to murder his wife Nancy, so he can steal the money and spend it on her.
- Jess Stout (Ken Terrell , The Brain from Planet Arous). Nancy’s butler, and only friend. He looks out for her, wants the best for her, is one of the few likable people in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman).
- Tony the Bartender (Michael Ross, The Red Skelton Hour) … Tony the Bartender covers for Harry’s cheating, as well as running his bar. Which gets destroyed by Nancy in the end. The actor also portrays the translucent Space Giant.
Editorial review of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman courtesy of Amazon.com
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… especially when you’re fending off The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman! One of the most beloved camp classics of the 1950s begins with a three-way recipe for sci-fi disaster: Cheating husband Harry (William Hudson) is married to alcoholic heiress Nancy (Allison Hayes), but he’s got a scheming mistress named Honey (Yvette Vickers) and a burning desire for Nancy’s lavish inheritance. But before the greedy lovers can say “Super-Size Me,” the insanely jealous Nancy gains a towering advantage: After exposure to radiation from a spherical alien satellite, Nancy grows to a height of (yep, you guessed it) and proceeds to wreak havoc as a giant dame with an attitude problem.
As often happened with cheesy sci-fi and horror films of the Eisenhower era, the movie’s deliriously exploitative poster promised more than the movie actually delivers, which perhaps explains why director Nathan Juran (whose next film was the comparatively lavish The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) opted to be credited as “Nathan Hertz.”
And while the special effects are cheesy and cheap (involving oversized miniatures, repeated process shots, see-through double-exposures, and a giant, rubbery arm used for King Kong-like clutching scenes), it’s still possible to feel a hint of compassion for poor ol’ Nancy, and that–along with the enjoyable performances of Hayes, Hudson, and Vickers–is probably why Attack has gained such a loyal cult following over the decades. Fueled by atomic-age paranoia and timeless human foibles, it’s a feminist revenge thriller with lasting appeal, remade in 1993 with better special effects and Daryl Hannah in the title role. –Jeff Shannon