Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is a 1958 independently made American black-and-white science fiction film, produced by Bernard Woolner, directed by Nathan H. Juran (credited as Nathan Hertz), that stars Allison Hayes, William Hudson and Yvette Vickers. The screenplay was written by Mark Hanna, and the original music score was composed by Ronald Stein. The film was distributed in the United States by Allied Artists as a double feature with War of the Satellites.
|Attack of the 50 Foot Woman|
|Directed by||Nathan Hertz|
|Produced by||Bernard Woolner|
|Written by||Mark Hanna|
|Music by||Ronald Stein|
|Cinematography||Jacques R. Marquette|
|Edited by||Edward Mann|
|Distributed by||Allied Artists Pictures Corporation|
The Allied Artists television version runs 75 minutes instead of 66, including a long printed crawl at the beginning and end, repeated sequences, and hold-frames designed to optically lengthen the film's running time.
The film's storyline concerns the plight of a wealthy heiress whose close encounter with an enormous alien in his round spacecraft causes her to grow into a giantess, complicating her marriage already troubled by a philandering husband.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is a variation on other 1950s science fiction films that featured size-changing humans: The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), its sequel War of the Colossal Beast (1958), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). In this case, a woman is substituted for a man as the film's protagonist.
A television announcer reports sightings of a red fireball around the world. Facetiously, he calculates its path will take it to California. Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes), a wealthy but highly troubled woman with a history of emotional instability and immoderate drinking, is driving on a road that night in an American desert. A glowing sphere settles on the deserted highway in front of her, causing her to veer off the road. When she gets out to investigate the object, a huge creature exits and reaches for her (the viewer sees only an enormous hand falling upon the screaming woman).
Nancy escapes and runs back to town, but nobody believes her story due to her known drinking problem and a recent stay in a mental institution. Her philandering husband, Harry Archer (William Hudson), is more interested in his latest girlfriend, town floozy Honey Parker (Yvette Vickers). He pretends to be the good husband in the hope that Nancy will "snap" and return to the "booby hatch," leaving him in control of her $50 million estate.
Nancy bargains with Harry, asking him to search the desert with her for the "flying satellite," agreeing to a voluntary return to the sanatorium if they find nothing. As night falls, they find the spacecraft and the alien creature emerges, now as an enormous male humanoid. Harry fires his pistol at the giant, but the gunfire has no effect. Harry flees, leaving Nancy behind.
She is later discovered on the roof of her pool house in a delirious state and must be sedated by her family physician, Dr. Cushing (Roy Gordon). The doctor comments on scratches he finds on Nancy's neck, and theorizes that she was exposed to radiation. Egged on by his mistress Honey, Harry plans to inject Nancy with a lethal dose of her sedative, but when he sneaks up to her room, he discovers that she has grown to giant size. In a scene paralleling Nancy's first alien encounter, only an enormous hand is seen as Harry reacts in horror.
Cushing and Dr. Von Loeb, a specialist brought in by Cushing, are at a loss on how to treat their giant patient. They keep her in a morphine-induced coma and restrain her with chains while waiting for the authorities to arrive. The sheriff and Jess (Ken Terrell), Nancy's faithful butler, track enormous footprints leading away from the estate to the alien sphere. Inside the sphere, they find Nancy's diamond necklace (containing the largest diamond in the world) and other large diamonds, each in a clear orb. They speculate that the jewels are being used as a power source for the alien ship. The huge alien reappears, and the sheriff and Jess flee.
Meanwhile, Nancy awakens and breaks free of her restraints. She tears off her mansion's roof and, clothed in a bikini-like arrangement of bed linens, heads to town to avenge herself on her unfaithful husband. Ripping the roof off the local bar, she spots Honey and drops a ceiling beam on her rival, killing her. Harry panics, grabs Deputy Charlie's pistol, and begins shooting, but she picks up Harry and walks away. The gunshots have no apparent effect on her. The sheriff fires a shotgun at her, which causes a nearby power line transformer to blow up, killing her. The doctors find Harry lying dead in her hand.
- Allison Hayes as Nancy Fowler Archer
- William Hudson as Harry Archer
- Yvette Vickers as Honey Parker
- Roy Gordon as Dr. Isaac Cushing
- George Douglas as Sheriff Dubbitt
- Ken Terrell as Jess Stout
- Otto Waldis as Dr. Heinrich Von Loeb
- Eileen Stevens as Nurse
- Frank Chase as Deputy Charlie
- Michael Ross as Tony the Bartender/the Alien Giant
The film's original working title was The Astounding Giant Woman.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75% based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 6.17/10.
Remakes and sequels
With its low budget of around $88,000, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman made enough money to prompt discussion of a sequel. According to executive producer and cinematographer Jacques Marquette, the sequel was to be produced at a higher budget and in color. A script was written, but the project never advanced beyond the discussion phase.
In the mid-1980s, filmmaker Jim Wynorski considered doing a remake with Sybil Danning in the title role. Wynorski made it as far as a shooting a photo session with Danning dressed as the 50-foot woman. The project never materialized because Wynorski opted instead to film Not of This Earth (1988), a remake of Roger Corman's 1957 film of the same name.
The film was remade in 1993 by HBO under the same title Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman. It was directed by Christopher Guest, with a script by Thirtysomething writer Joseph Dougherty. Daryl Hannah produced the film and starred in the title role.
In 1995, Fred Olen Ray produced a parody entitled Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold, starring J.J. North and Tammy Parks. Beyond the basic premise, the plot has little in common with the original film, being concerned with the side effects of a beauty-enhancing formula on two ambitious female models. The film was farcical and made on an extremely low budget. The illusion of size difference was achieved using forced perspective, unlike the earlier films which used composite imaging.
In late 2011, Roger Corman produced a 3D film titled Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader, released on August 25, 2012. It was written by Mike MacLean (who also wrote Sharktopus for Corman) and was directed by Kevin O'Neill. The film stars Jena Sims (a former Miss Georgia Teen USA) in the title role and Cassie Stratford and Olivia Alexander, who co-plays Sims's rival, Brittany Andrews.
In popular culture
- The 2019 Netflix original, Raising Dion, episode 9, features the film's movie poster in Pat's condo after it's revealed that Pat shape-shifts into a 50 foot, human thunderstorm.
- The 1987 TMNT cartoon episode "Attack of the 50 Foot Irma" (1989) includes a similar plot, where April O'Neil's friend Irma is hit by a beam created by a meteorite crashing to Earth. She grows to a massive size and ends up being chased by authorities.
- Various animated television series have referenced the film, usually in episodes which involve a female character becoming giant-sized. For example, Challenge of the Superfriends from 1978 features the origins of superhero Apache Chief and supervillainess Giganta.
- In the Johnny Bravo episode "Jumbo Johnny" a poster was seen with two men complaining about the movie.
- Totally Spies! episode "Attack of the 50 Ft. Mandy" has Mandy as a giant.
- Archie's Weird Mysteries episode "Attack of the 50 Ft. Veronica" has Veronica Lodge as a giant.
- The film is partially featured in Joe Dante's movie mash-up The Movie Orgy (1968).
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Moving Pictures climaxes with a giant 50-foot woman carrying a screaming ape up a tall tower. This is also an inversion of the ending of King Kong, with flying wizards on broomsticks taking the place of Kong's pursuing biplanes.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was given an homage in Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #13, in a story titled "Attack of the Fifty Foot Girl!", spotlighting Avengers' member Giant-Girl. The cover of this issue was based upon the film's poster.
- In the film Monsters vs. Aliens (2009), Reese Witherspoon's character Susan Murphy (aka Ginormica) was inspired by Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Ginormica is 49 feet and 11 inches tall.
- In the film Saturday the 14th Strikes Back (1988), Linda Baxter, played by Julianne McNamara, becomes a 50-foot woman and is stuck inside her house.
- Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman (1958) is playing in the drive-in theater in the 1977 Piper Laurie movie Ruby.
- The Tubes's album The Completion Backward Principle included a song, "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman"
- The music video for Neil Finn's "She Will Have Her Way" is an extended allusion to the film and those that inspired it.
- The music video for Go West’s "Call Me" is an allusion to the film.
- Maroon 5's music video for "What Lovers Do" featuring SZA, with the band's frontman Adam Levine as a giant 50-foot man who attacks the city of Las Vegas.
- Shown on the MeTV show Svengoolie on June 15, 2019, and then again on November 30, 2019.
- Lana Del Rey’s music video for her cover of Sublime's "Doin' Time" is an allusion to the film.
- French Montana's music video for "Writing on the Wall" featuring Post Malone, Cardi B and Rvssian is an allusion to the film.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was released June 26, 2007 by Warner Bros. Home Video on region 1 DVD. It was also available in the Warner Bros. three-disc DVD box set Cult Camp Classics - Vol. 1: Sci-Fi Thrillers, which also includes other two cult classic sci-fi thrillers from Allied Artists Pictures, such as The Giant Behemoth (1959) and Queen of Outer Space (1958). An audio commentary track with co-star Yvette Vickers and Tom Weaver is also included. Although the DVDs are now officially out-of-print, on September 20, 2011, Warner Bros. added the film to its order-on-demand Warner Archive DVD-R collection; the content is the same as on the previous DVD releases. As of July 2019, no Blu-ray release has appeared.
- Swires, Steve (May 1989). "Nathan Juran: The Fantasy Voyages of Jerry the Giant Killer - Part Two". Starlog. No. 142. p. 56.
- Smith, Richard Harland. "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)". TCMDb. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
- Keep Watching The Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the 1950s, Vol. 2, 1958-1962 (New York: McFarland & Co, 1986), 16.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, DVD commentary
- "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Meida. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
- Bill Warren, Keep Watching The Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the 1950s, Vol. 2, 1958-1962 (New York: McFarland & Co, 1986), 16.
- "Hollywood Report". Box Office. Hollywood, CA: Ben Shlyen. 1979-01-01. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
- See Femme Fatales 1:2.
- One image appears as the cover of Femme Fatales 1:2 Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- Femme Fatales, 1:2.
- "Attack of the 50 Foot Irma". TV.com. 23 October 1989. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Challenge of the Superfriends, History of Doom, Part 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atf-IdmoI04, position 6:58
- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) on IMDb
- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman at the TCM Movie Database
- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman at AllMovie
- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Trailer of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- Joe Dante on Attack of the 50 Foot Woman at Trailers From Hell