Saturday, April 29, 2017

Tonight's Movie: World Without End (1956) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

The Allied Artists sci-fi film WORLD WITHOUT END (1956) has just been released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

This mid '50s film may be hokey at times -- giant plastic spiders attack the heroes early on! -- but it's also highly entertaining, and the new Blu-ray is a thing of beauty. Those who love '50s sci-fi will want to grab this one.

The plot concerns four astronauts (Hugh Marlowe, Rod Taylor, Nelson Leigh, and Christopher Dark) who've been on a mission to cruise by Mars when their ship loses contact with Earth. The men pass out and ultimately crash land on Earth...and then realize they've hurtled forward in time by hundreds of years.

That realization comes as a particular blow to one of the men (Dark) who left behind a wife (Nancy Howard) and two children (Mimi Gibson and Hugh Corcoran), but there's no time to grieve as within short order the men must battle for survival, attacked by the giant (plastic) spiders and then a violent band of one-eyed cavemen.

Ultimately the men are rescued by an underground community, survivors of an atomic war, which mostly consists of elderly men, gorgeous young women (Nancy Gates, Lisa Montell, and Shawn Smith) in space miniskirts, and very few children.

The children are dying living underground, and the men left in the community don't have the nerve to fight the atomic mutants who live on the earth's surface. It's up to the astronauts to show the men how to retake earth and bring their children into the sunlight.

Between the spiders, the one-eyed mutants, and "earth" being good old Iverson Ranch here in Southern California, the movie may seem a bit silly at times, but all in all it's got a good script and an engaging cast.

Marlowe starred the same year in the classic EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956), and he makes a good sci-fi hero, sort of in a Richard Carlson mode. And Rod Taylor completely steals the show with his Aussie charm; I imagine he was supposed to be American but he's got an accent in this one. Taylor was just emerging into stardom in 1956, with a supporting role in GIANT (1956) and a starring part opposite Debbie Reynolds in THE CATERED AFFAIR (1956); a few years later he would also star in another time travel film, the classic THE TIME MACHINE (1960).

WORLD WITHOUT END has lots of eye candy between the shirtless Taylor, the miniskirted Gates, and the fun and colorful underground sets. There's also a thoughtful script which, like so many '50s sci-fi films, reflects the fears of the atomic era.

WORLD WITHOUT END was written and directed by Edward Bernds. It was filmed in CinemaScope by Ellsworth Fredricks. The running time is a brisk 80 minutes.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray looks fantastic and is highly recommended for '50s sci-fi fans. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


Blogger Jerry E said...

I rather like your 'typo', Laura, at the beginning. Given that film is about mutants, I rather enjoyed HUGE Marlowe!!
Any film that features the lovely Nancy Gates running around in a mini-skirt has to be a winner. Obviously, I am feeling flippant today! Enjoyed your review.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Lovely looking film with a cast of favourites, but I must admit that I have never been able to stick with it through to the end. I've tried twice. Maybe third time will be the charm. I feel like I've let the side down by not sticking and I owe it to the future of civilization.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Lol, Jerry! (And fixed/removed it, thanks!)

Caftan Woman, how interesting you've had trouble getting through it. It does seem like it would be your kind of movie also. Let me know if you see it all one day! Civilization is depending on you! Lol.

Best wishes,

8:17 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

This should be exactly my kind of movie but it fails miserably for me. I don't mind silly sci-fi movies -- as a matter of fact i love dozens of them -- but the problem here is that the movie looks pretty slick, and a movie which looks this bright shouldn't be this stupid.

FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE and CAT WOMEN OF THE MOON are, technically, much worse movies than this one, but they are so cheap and shoddy-looking that the silliness of the script seems to fit. They're sort of like three-legged dogs. They don't look as pretty as the other pooches, but you feel sorry for them.

WORLD WITHOUT END is like a dog with all four legs and a nice shiny coat, but so stupid it couldn't find its way home from next door.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Rick, Sorry you didn't find this one as much fun as I did! For me the plus factors are such that I'll happily be returning to it in the future. For me you can't beat the enjoyment of spending time with actors like Rod Taylor and Nancy Gates.

Best wishes,

4:01 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Unlike Rick, I enjoy all science fiction movies of the era - good and bad.

As far as I can remember, it's the only movie that I've seen with Hugh Marlowe in which he is not playing a negative role...

9:45 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad you enjoy 'em all, Mel!

Have you seen EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956) yet? It's great fun. Marlowe stars as a scientist opposite lovely Joan Taylor.

Best wishes,

9:54 PM  
Blogger mel said...

It's been a long time since I last watched Earth vs. The Flying Saucers. I'd forgotten that Marlowe starred in it.

I have the colorized version. I'll pull it out and watch it again in the next couple of days. Thanks for the tip, Laura.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad I could point you in that direction, Mel!

I really enjoyed Joan Taylor in it. Happy viewing!

Best wishes,

11:42 PM  

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