Still Watching the Skies: Episode 59 “This Island Earth”
Nat, Cody, and Robert take in “the supreme excitement of our time” with 1955’s THIS ISLAND EARTH. 2 1/2 years in the making in vivid Technicolor, THIS ISLAND EARTH was inspirational to a generation of kids, including future director Joe Dante.
Based on the serialized novel by Raymond F. Jones, THIS ISLAND EARTH has two very different parts. In the first part, atomic scientist Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) receives some strange electrical parts and a catalog made of metal. With his curiosity piqued, he orders and builds an “interociter” which leads him to be invited to a join a scientific community led by the mysterious Exeter (Jeff Morrow), a man with an enormous forehead.
Once at the scientific compound, Dr. Meacham discovers things aren’t quite on the up and up thanks to an old fling, Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue) and fellow scientist Dr. Steve Carlson (Russell Johnson). And an orange cat named Neutron who’s a bigger star than you might imagine.
At which point, the film takes a turn to the purely fantastical as Cal and Ruth are kidnapped and brought to the planet Metaluna which is in a war. And losing. With Cal and Ruth being the only hope for the desperate Metalunans. Who might not be such good guys with their slave Mutants.
With it’s poetic title, THIS ISLAND EARTH promises a lot. In some ways it delivers, there really isn’t a color science fiction film of this visual ambition previously. But, is the visual ambition in service of anything? That’s a subject of debate. And is THIS ISLAND EARTH a timeless classic or a dated film?
Also, we open the mailbag and respond to some of the feedback we received in regards to the bonus episode on BATMAN.
You’re not going to need to build an interociter to listen to this episode. You can give us a play below or Download the episode. Also, feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below or Email Us at [email protected] as we appreciate feedback.
THIS ISLAND EARTH Discussion: 0:00 to 41:15
Mail Discussion: 44:15 to 53:46
Next Film and Outro:53:46 to End
Next month, we travel back in time to the 1990s to watch Jean-Claude Van Damme travel back in time in TIMECOP. It’s got to be better than a kick to the head. We hope you’ll join us.