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The Deadly Mantis [William Hopper]

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The Deadly Mantis (1952) starring Craig Stevens, Alix Talton, William Hopper
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The Deadly Mantis  (1952) starring Craig Stevens, Alix Talton, William Hopper

Synopsis of  The Deadly Mantis

When a giant, prehistoric praying mantis is released from its’ icy grave, it revives. Then, it looks for food. But the only food in the Arctic are the various military people and researchers posted there. It leaves no living survivors to tell the tail.   When a paleontologist looks at the evidence, he realizes what’s going on … And has trouble convincing anyone else, until the Deadly Mantis goes where there’s more food–New York.

Review of  The Deadly Mantis

The Deadly Mantis is Universal Studios’ second entry into the “giant monster” category of movies. And it frankly pales in comparison to other entries such as  Them! or Tarantula.

It’s not a bad film at all, but it’s also not a classic like either of those.   The pace is slower, and the movie is presented almost in a documentary style.   The acting is fine, including William Hopper–best known for his role of Paul Drake on TV’s  Perry Mason–but there’s little for them to work with.

Editorial review of The Deadly Mantis (1957), courtesy of

Beware of global warming! After an arctic glacier undergoes a sudden mysterious thaw, the world faces the wrath of a not-so-jolly green giant in this moderately diverting big bug movie. Although the handsomely produced film follows the standard ’50s monster movie playbook–plentiful stock footage, tired characterizations, a lengthy intro documenting the wonderfulness of a newfangled gizmo named radar, etc.–a little too closely to be truly memorable, it nonetheless remains a more than acceptable time-waster, with above-average special effects and a nicely atmospheric conclusion inside the Manhattan Tunnel. Writer-producer William Alland, in addition to being affiliated with some of the period’s greatest achievements in the horror/sci fi genres (including the classic  Creature from the Black Lagoon), is notable for his longtime association with another gigantic force–namely, Orson Welles. —Andrew Wright

Cast of characters

Movie quotes from  The Deadly Mantis

[a volcano near Antarctic erupts, causing an ice flow in the Arctic, which releases the Deadly Mantis]
Opening Narration: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Col. Joe Parkman: Maybe there’s an ordinary explanation to what happened, but I wouldn’t take any bets.

Dr. Ned Jackson: In all the kingdom of the living, there is no more deadly or voracious creature than the Preying Mantis.

Dr. Ned Jackson: I’m convinced that we’re dealing with a Mantis in whose geological world the smallest insects were as large as man, and now failing to find those insects as food, well … it’s doing the best that it can.

[the officers are all staring at Marge]
Dr. Ned Jackson: It looks like you don’t have too many women up here, Colonel.
Col. Joe Parkman: Well, we have a little joke up here. The boys say there’s a girl behind every tree. Only try and find a tree.

bus passenger: [Exiting bus in fog] You know, it’s good to get home safely with all the strange things going around here.
bus driver: Oh, there’s nothing to worry about, ma’am. You just be careful out there in that fog!
bus passenger: [Uncertainly] Thank you.

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