Directed by Nathan Hertz
Produced by Bernard Woolner
Written by Mark Hanna
Director Of Photography: Jacques R. Marquette
Film Editor: Edward Mann
Music by Ronald Stein
Cast: Allison Hayes (Nancy Fowler Archer), William Hudson (Harry Archer), Yvette Vickers (Honey Parker), Roy Gordon (Dr. Isaac Cushing), George Douglas (Sheriff Dubbitt), Ken Terrell (Jess), Otto Waldis (Dr. Heinrich Von Loeb), Eileen Stevens (Nurse), Frank Chase (Deputy Charlie)
First saw Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman (1958) when I was 12. I was already pretty entrenched in horror and sci-fi movies from the 30s to the 60s, and while this one wasn’t much to write home about, I loved it. Still do, and there’s even more to love with the new Blu-Ray from Warner Archive.
The lovely Nancy Fowler Archer (Allison Hayes) seems to have pretty much everything. $50 million bucks (in 1958 money). The famous Star Of India diamond. A swank second home in the desert. A loyal butler (Ken Turrell). And a gorgeous 1958 Imperial Crown convertible.
She also has some mental health issues, a drinking problem, and a real dirtbag of a cheating husband (William Hudson). Those three things come to a head one night when she comes across a huge, glowing orb from outer space — and the bald giant (with an effeminate, but insanely hairy arm) who lives inside it.
No one believes Nancy, naturally, but her husband decides to use it for all its worth — a way to send her away forever while assuring his access to all that money. This pleases his boozy, floozy girlfriend, Yvette Vickers.
Eventually, Allison Hayes, the orb and the giant come together again — and she’s soon 50 feet tool and sleeping on top of the pool house. As doctors (played by Roy Gordon and Otto Waldis) discuss her predicament, all we see is a very large, very unconvincing fake hand — probably the same hand we saw as the giant, now de-haired. Some effects are not special.
The actual “attack of the 50 toot woman” is limited to the last 10 minutes, with regular-sized people pointing upward and telling is what Miss Hayes is doing, as she heads toward the bar to find William Hudson and Yvette Vickers.
It’d be really easy to laugh off Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman as a ludicrous piece of junk if it wasn’t for the pros that put it together. Director Nathan Juran (using the Nathan Hertz pseudonym he reserved for really cheap movies) and editor Edward Mann keep things quick and snappy. There’s a tongue-in-cheek approach to the whole thing that really works in its favor. And it doesn’t play at all like a normal 50s sci-fi film — the scheming, philandering husband features almost as much as the mysteriously growing wife.
Some may feel the movie could be better (I love it just as it is), but we’ll probably all agree this Blu-Ray can’t be improved. The transfer is up to Warner Archive’s typical exacting standard — framed and dialed-in perfectly. We get the wonderfully overstated trailer that promises far, far more than the film delivers. And it picks up the commentary from Tom Weaver and Yvette Vickers (RIP) that graced the original DVD release. Plus, they let Reynold Brown’s original poster art shine on the cover.
I grew up on movies movies like this. And thanks to Warner Archive, I’ll grow old seeing this one look absolutely splendid. Highly, highly recommended.