|THE COSMIC MAN
|Copyright 1959 Allied Artists Pictures
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 25 April 2002
- The Cosmic Man - John Carradine! As the extraterrestrial, it appears that his race is hopelessly nearsighted and part mountain goat. Glad I do not have any Alaskan trophies on my wall. An explanation could be awkward.
- Karl Sorenson - The brilliant scientist who comes up with radical, crackpot ideas, but never any supporting facts.
- Kathy - Hey big boy, looking for a promiscuous single mother?
- Ken - Go away kid. You bother me.
- Colonel Matthews - Despite appearing to suffer from a split personality disorder, he is the officer in charge.
- General Knowland - A bit more reasonable than Col. Matthews. He does not shoot first; second, just not first. I guess that is an improvement. It is a shame that his duties prevent him from overseeing the situation.
- Rich - Dr. Sorenson's associate, bereft of any motivation besides making the other researcher appear brilliant.
|The point that this movie is a dead ringer for "The Day the Earth Stood Still" has been beaten to death. See? There, I said it. Now, time for my review...
Military radar tracks something traveling at 180,000 mph inside of Earth's atmosphere. Pretty darn impressive! I started wondering about how the Cosmic Man's ship could travel at such speeds inside the atmosphere, including dissipating so much heat. Proving that they are not snoozing, the two military officers make similar remarks. The entire issue is left up in the air (probably for the best; more on that later) when word arrives that a strange object has been found in a nearby canyon.
Colonel Matthews drives to the location and is astounded by what the park rangers have discovered: a smooth, white sphere apparently suspended in midair by magic. Of course, it is not magic. Instead, the craft represents technology so advanced as to be beyond human comprehension (thank you Mr. Clark). Karl has already started investigating the object and, in what soon became a franchise, exclaims that, since the object displays the opposite of gravity, it must be antigravity! This manifests another time or two, things being declared "anti-whatever." My home audience was soon asking me to use "anti-forward" to rewatch parts of the movie and relaxing on the couch, thus "anti-standing."
Kathy arrives at the landing site to nose around and starts throwing herself at every eligible male on hand. This goes on for the entire movie! One minute the woman is drinking and flirting with Matthews, the next she is giving Sorenson serious "come on, you know I want it" eyes. Maybe the alien visitor was really trying to study the rutting season here on Earth? Anyway, the military sets up their command post inside Kathy's bed and breakfast. She will have plenty to keep her busy.
Back at the university, Karl starts rattling off an improbable hypothesis regarding antigravity. It actually gave me a headache. A goofy Englishman causing God to disappear in a puff of logic has less theoretical problems. Thank goodness that the other advanced technology displayed by the Cosmic Man is simply presented and never explained.
The military engineers try to move the ship to no avail. Without guidance from the pilot, the sphere is an immovable object and military vehicles are not an irresistible force. For the brash youngsters out there: you are not an immovable object and a five ton truck will squash you. In this case "squash" is an amazingly accurate scientific description of the resultant mess.
The Cosmic Man watches all this transpire. Often when we see the title character he is little more than a shadowy silhouette, becoming completely invisible in twilight or less. Amusing as it seems, the stealth technology is ruined by his heavy tread. You might not be able to see him, but all that stomping around gives away his presence. Kathy has the skirt scared off of her (not that she would mind) when the shadow appears inside the lodge. This makes no sense at all, because the Cosmic Man also takes on a more human appearance and checks into a room.
While the scientists conduct experiments on the ship, strange things are afoot in River City. The shadowy ghost flits through the town before committing various acts of vandalism to research facilities in the area. He also peeks in a few windows and tours Sorenson's research facility, there making corrections to the astrophysicists' diagram of a photon chamber. Meanwhile, Karl has learned that the ship's surface generates electricity when exposed to light and makes a god awful racket when direct current is applied. I do not know how all this works, but am satisfied that nobody else does either.
Ken stays up late teaching chess to the Stranger With Coke Bottle Glasses (you know who I mean) before mom ends the party. She then has a conversation full of hidden meanings with the Cosmic Man. The scientists are unaware, pondering how to keep the military from ambushing the Cosmic Man. Neither are the military officers on hand, as they are busily constructing a magnetic trap for the extraterrestrial saboteur.
The situation seems to turn worse when the Cosmic Man carries off Ken. Once near the ship, he agrees to release the boy if the magnetic trap is turned off. After laying the comatose child down, the alien makes for his ship, but the trap is turned back on and he crumples to the ground. Ken surprises everyone by walking as the sphere beams the apparently lifeless corpse of its pilot aboard before disappearing.
Except for the silly silhouette, most of the special effects are fair. Most of all, the plot suffers from the Cosmic Man's mission. He is deliberately setting the space program back by many years, for reasons not fully explained, through means that many would consider criminal. On a parting note; if their medical science is advanced enough to cure paralysis, then how about devoting some study to eyeglasses?
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- When viewed from space the Earth has a seam and is transparent.
- Football and aircraft are sore topics for disabled children.
- Gravity is actually the result of being pushed down upon.
- Aliens are masters of everything, including the obvious.
- The definition of "Hi-Fi" has changed a lot over the years.
- Building atomic bombs is not conducive to getting a good night's sleep.
- Aliens are light-sensitive miracle healers.
- Opening Credits - Interesting way to represent your company.
- 13 mins - Does every park ranger who ever lived vaguely resemble Phil Hartman?
- 16 mins - My name is Sorenson. I'm an astrophysicist...
- 19 mins - Look, if anybody is going to goof off, it is that corporal; just look at him.
- 38 mins - It can fly though atmosphere at over one hundred and eighty-thousand miles per hour. Did you really think a blowtorch would be effective?
- 46 mins - Kathy is wearing the new "Zing!" bra.
- 50 mins - Uh, the nosy civilian woman is eavesdropping on your top secret planning conversation.
- 67 mins - Taking orders from the person you are supposed to be detaining seems kind of silly.
- Sorenson: "Seems to be a common problem today; everybody's afraid of scientists. They seem to feel we know some sort of deep, dark secret about the mysteries of life."
- The Cosmic Man: "I will leave your planet now. For the present my work here is finished."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Knowland: "What kind of craft can possibly fly over our military posts and cities, in broad daylight, without being seen or heard?"
||Matthews: "Any idea what keeps this thing off the ground? It's defying the law of gravity." |
Sorenson: "Well, it's something like gravity in reverse I think. Like, uh, antigravity."
||Sorenson: "Remember, we're not dealing with an intelligence on our own level." |
Knowland: "I think you underestimate our intellect Dr. Sorenson. I believe we are prepared to discuss universal relations with your 'Cosmic Man.'"
||The Cosmic Man: "But the peoples of your society must develop a new concept of thinking. Adopt and practice new values and principles of living together before they will be ready to encounter the civilizations of the universe."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Shoot, shoot, as fast as you can. You cannot stop me, I'm the Cosmic Man! |
Hahahahaha! Hahahahaha! Hahahahaha!
I need to get out more.
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