Saturday, 29 April 2017

Golden Age Films on Nuclear Energy Fears

In my series on the history of science fiction, I am looking at films made in the Golden Age. Some films played on the fear of nuclear energy and the power it had to mutate: It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Fly (1958), and the most enduring, Godzilla (1954) from Japan.



It Came From Beneath the Sea

After an encounter at sea with an unknown underwater creature, a naval commander works with two scientists to identify it. The creature they are dealing with is a giant, radioactive octopus that has left its normal feeding grounds in search of new sources of replenishment. As the creature attacks San Francisco, the Navy tries to trap it at the Golden Gate Bridge but it manages to enter the Bay area leading to a final confrontation with a submarine.

The Amazing Colossal Man

Lt. Col. Glenn Manning is inadvertently exposed to a plutonium bomb blast at Camp Desert Rock. Though burned over 90% of his body, he survives, and begins to grow in size. As he grows, his heart and circulatory system fail to keep pace with his growth, and he is gradually losing his mind as a result of reduced blood supply to his brain. He reaches 50 feet tall before his growth is stopped. By this time he has become insane. He escapes and wreaks havoc upon Las Vegas before he is finally stopped.

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Scott Carey and his wife Louise are sunning themselves on their cabin cruiser, the small craft adrift on a calm sea. While his wife is below deck, a low mist passes over him. Scott, lying in the sun, is sprinkled with glittery particles that quickly evaporate. Later he is accidentally sprayed with an insecticide while driving and, in the next few days, he finds that he has begun to shrink. First just a few inches, so that his clothes no longer fit, then a little more. Soon he is only three feet tall, and a national curiosity. At six inches tall he can only live in a doll's house and even that becomes impossible when his cat breaks in. Scott flees to the cellar, his wife thinks he has been eaten by the cat and the door to the cellar is closed, trapping him in the littered room where, menaced by a giant spider, he struggles to survive.

The Fly

After her husband Andre Delambre is crushed to death in a mechanical press, his wife recounts to his brother Francois Delambre and police Inspector Charas the events of the previous few months. They were very much in love and with their little boy, a very happy family. Andre was experimenting with teleportation - transporting objects from one point to another by breaking the object down to the atomic level and then reassembling it in a receiver a distance away. The system had some glitches - it seemed to work with inanimate object but his cat disappeared when he tried teleporting it. He thinks he's solved all of the problems with his invention and decides to try and teleport himself. When a fly enters the teleportation device with him, disaster strikes, and he accidentally exchanges one arm and his head with that of a fly which was in the transfer chamber.

Godzilla

Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and are sunk. At first, the authorities think its either underwater mines or underwater volcanic activity. The authorities soon head to Odo Island, close to where several of the ships were sunk. One night, something comes onshore and destroys several houses and kills several people. A later expedition to the island led by paleontologist Professor Ky├┤hei Yamane, his daughter Emiko, and young navy frogman Hideto Ogata (who also happens to be Emiko's lover, even though she is betrothed to Dr. Daisuke Serizawa) soon discover something more devastating than imagined in the form of a 164-foot-tall (50-meter-tall) monster whom the natives call Gojira. Now, the monster begins a rampage that threatens to destroy not only Japan but the rest of the world as well. Can the monster be destroyed before it is too late, and what role will the mysterious Serizawa play in the battle?

[adapted from IMDb]


Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz

No comments:

Post a Comment