The Man from Planet X (1951)

“The hour is near, and The Man from Planet X is waiting…”

This B&W sci-fi from the early 50’s does not come without its faults. Director Edgar G. Ulmer, who was more famous for The Black Cat from 1934 with Karloff and Lugosi, attempts to bring us this little sci-fi movie in hopes of it being a masterpiece.

John Lawrence, an American Reporter for the Affiliated Press, learns of reports of ‘objects’ seen in the sky in an isolated area in Scotland. His colleagues learn that a Planet X is rushing toward the earth but they are still not sure whether or not it will hit. John joins his colleagues so he can write an article concerning this, and to be of any help that he can in trying to find a way to stop this disaster if it were to be certain of impact. John happens to narrate a bit in the beginning but it slightly spoils the movie. And the biggest fault lies within these first 5 minutes.

The love interest, which everyone knows happens in most movies, named Enid Elliot, who is the Professor’s daughter, will be the one who picks John up when he arrives to meet with his colleagues. She will end up professing her love for John later in the movie. During one part in the movie, while her and John are strolling along outside, thunder is heard, and she mentions the ‘counting the lighting before the thunder can tell how distance a storm is’. This could be the first reading of this in a movie. I remember that it also happened 30 years later in the movie, called Poltergeist.

Before the discussion and reading of reports of Planet X, there is talk of Dr Mears, a man who was once in prison but who is let out, and is invited to help study whether or not the planet is going to indeed hit the earth. A spaceship ends up landing out in a field, and instead of being scared, and not wanting to go near it, John, the Professor, and Enid all go out to investigate. While being near the spaceship, a small light shines on the Professor, and it ends up mind-controlling him for awhile. This will end up happening to several other people in the village as well, and they will end up going missing.

A spaceman is discovered, and eventually brought into town to try to communicate with. Dr Mears is the one who will attempt it but he apparently has some evil plans of his own. Little does he know, that the spaceman is going to be something not to fool around with.

Towards the end, the military is brought in and gives John and his colleagues an ultimatum. They tell them that if you can’t fix this situation, we are going to destroy that spaceship, and anything near it. They only give them an hour. So the clock starts ticking, and John races against the clock to try to save the people in this little Scottish town from the spaceman. Then they must deal with whether or not Planet X is going to strike the earth.

Some of the set design, especially out in the moors and other landscapes of Scotland looked almost as fake as ones that were in Ed Wood’s movies. The spaceman in the movie looks like his face is a ceramic of some sort but wear’s a space helmet, has the body like a homosapien. Some of sounds used in the movie are quite annoying, especially the one coming from the spaceship. This was also another movie emphasizing on the number 17, which I have found in a lot of other movies over the years.



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