This Island Earth (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

This Island Earth (1955)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

For reasons that defy logic, the excellent This Island Earth was held up for ridicule as an allegedly bad movie in the film version of TV's Mystery Science Theater. If not the best science-fiction film of the 1950s, Earth is certainly one of the most intelligent and elaborate. The story begins when the image of Exeter (Jeff Morrow), a huge-domed scientific genius from the planet Metaluna, appears on an experimental 3D television screen. Exeter invites several noted scientists from around the world to work on a top-secret project at Exeter's earthly mansion. Among those accepting the invitation are Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) and his ex-fiancee Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue). Soon, Cal and Ruth learn Exeter's true motives; to use the Earth's atomic knowhow in building a defense shield to protect Metaluna against the enemy planet Zahgon. Eventually, Exeter boards his high-tech flying saucer and whisks Cal and Ruth off to his dying planet, where, among other perils, they are menaced by a hideous mutant. Based on a novel by Raymond F. Jones, This Island Earth is one of those rare 1950s speculative films that holds up as well today as it did when first released, despite the comparative quaintness of the special effects and high-tech paraphernalia. Incidentally, the climactic Metalunan scenes were directed by Universal's resident sci-fi specialist, Jack Arnold.

Cast

Faith Domergue
as Dr. Ruth Adams
Rex Reason
as Cal Meacham
Russell Johnson
as Steve Carlson
Robert Nichols
as Joe Wilson
Karl Ludwig Lindt
as Dr. Adolph Engelborger
Olan Soule
as 1st Reporter
Mark Hamilton
as Metalunan
Coleman Francis
as Expressman
Spencer Chan
as Scientist
Edward Ingram
as Photographer
Jack Byron
as Photographer
Edward Hearn
as Reporter
Les Spears
as Reporter
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Critic Reviews for This Island Earth

All Critics (14)

Pioneering sf drama about space travel is rich in storytelling, atmosphere, visual design and color.

Full Review… | August 16, 2012
Classic Film and Television

Worth consideration from anyone who enjoys their profundity with a side of cheese.

Full Review… | October 31, 2011
Suite101.com

Intelligently directed by Joseph Newman.

Full Review… | November 12, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...even though its increasingly camp elements have aged poorly, it deserves respect as one of the more ambitious, grandiose, and important science fiction adventures of its time.

Full Review… | September 4, 2006
DVDJournal.com

Pretty impressive sci-fi for 1955, a near classic.

May 28, 2005
Kansas City Kansan

Eye-filling sci-fi, although it's even better as the basis of 'MST3K: The Movie'

July 15, 2003
Kalamazoo Gazette

Audience Reviews for This Island Earth

½

What was once probably cutting edge special effects are now laughably awful but for fans of 50's sci-fi that might be just the ticket. Goofy in its seriousness it still manages to entertain. Jeff Morrow with his extremely deep voice is perfect to spout the scripts various profundities while Faith Domergue a lovely woman although never much of an actress is suitably distraught. A Satuday afternoon matinee movie if ever there was one.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

½

If you're looking for a 50s example of style over substance, you've found it. This Island Earth (I'm still not sure how the title applies to the story) starts off with an interesting premise--aliens posing (poorly) as a think tank of sorts to recruit Earth's best and brightest for the scientific good. Turns out they're scientifically more advanced than us and need our help for some reason. Eventually they wind up killing all but 2 of the scientests (including The Professor from Gilligan's Island!) and abduct them, taking them back to their home planet that's got one foot on a banana peel and the other in the grave. The story is nonsensical shit. The first hour really tries your patience then sort of pays off with some kitschy set design, neat lighting and some fun effects that at the time supposedly took 2 1/2 years. Ooh! And a monster! I have a feeling I'd get more out of this from the MST3K perspective but you're better off watching Forbidden Planet as This Island Earth is the low-rent, poor man's version of that movie...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

½

This sci-fi movie is different from most 50s sci-fi movies. The story has to do with aliens bringing Earth scientist to their planet to help them. The settings are very cool and beautiful. I loved this movie, and I recommend it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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