The Amazing Colossal Man
The Amazing Colossal Man (also known as The Colossal Man) is a 1957 American black-and-white science fiction film from American International Pictures, produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon, that stars Glenn Langan, Cathy Downs, William Hudson, and Larry Thor. It is an uncredited adaptation of Homer Eon Flint's 1928 short science fiction novel The Nth Man. It was theatrically released by AIP as a double feature with Cat Girl.
|The Amazing Colossal Man|
Theatrical release poster
by Albert Kallis
|Directed by||Bert I. Gordon|
|Produced by||Bert I. Gordon|
Samuel Z. Arkoff
James H. Nicholson
|Written by||Mark Hanna|
Bert I. Gordon
George Worthing Yates (uncredited)
|Based on||novel The Nth Man by Homer Eon Flint (uncredited)|
|Music by||Albert Glasser|
|Cinematography||Joseph F. Biroc|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Box office||$848,000 (US)|
The film's storyline concerns a U.S. Army Lt. Colonel who grows to be more than 60 feet tall following his accidental exposure to an atomic bomb test blast in Nevada.
During the 1960s, the film was syndicated to television by American International Television. Both it and its sequel, War of the Colossal Beast (1958), were mocked on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
A test explosion of the first atomic plutonium bomb is planned at a military site in Desert Rock, Nevada. When it does not detonate as expected, Lt. Colonel Glenn Manning (Glenn Langan) receives orders to keep his men in the protective trench. Moments later, an unidentified small civilian aircraft crash-lands near the bomb site, and Glenn runs into the detonation area to rescue the pilot. Once in the detonation area, the bomb goes off, and Glenn is caught in the radiation.
Surviving the blast but suffering from third-degree burns over most of his body, Glenn is treated by specialist Dr. Paul Linstrom (William Hudson) and military scientist Dr. Eric Coulter (Larry Thor) at the army base hospital. Glenn's fiancée, Carol Forrest (Cathy Downs), anxiously awaits a prognosis, but Linstrom refrains from telling her that the consensus is that Glenn will not survive. The next morning, however, Linstrom and Coulter are stunned to discover that Glenn's burns have completely healed. That evening, Carol is prohibited from seeing him, and she learns that he has been moved to an army rehabilitation and research center in Summit, Nevada. She drives there and is admitted entry, and upon entering his room, she faints in horror when she sees he has mutated into a giant about 16 feet tall.
Linstrom tells Carol that Glenn's exposure to the plutonium blast has caused his old cells to stop dying, and his new cells to multiply at an accelerated rate, resulting in his growing proportionately 8 feet in height in one day. Linstrom admits that he and Coulter do not know if they can stop Glenn's growth, and that if they don't, he will continue to grow until he dies. The following day, he is at first frightened, then deeply disturbed. Carol sees him the next morning to comfort him, but he is now more than 22 feet tall, and distant and morose. While the public knows that he survived the explosion, the military has kept the truth of his condition secret.
As Glenn's body continues to increase in size, Linstrom orders him moved to a tent large enough to provide shelter and recommends that Carol spend time with him. Despite her encouragement, he is angry and bitter. Linstrom eventually reveals that his heart is growing at only half the rate of his body and soon will be unable to support his enormous size and weight. That night, he loses his temper and shouts at Carol to leave him alone.
The following morning, as Coulter reports to Linstrom that he may have found a solution to the phenomenal growth, Glenn disappears. The military, headed by Colonel Hallock (James Seay), conducts a 10-mile-wide search for the now 50-foot-tall Glenn, but with no results. When Carol asks Linstrom if she can help in their search, he cautions her that Glenn's condition may be affecting his mind. Coulter reveals that he has created a special syringe filled with a serum for Glenn's bone marrow that will stop his growth.
Meanwhile, the local news relays that a "giant man" has been spotted approaching Las Vegas. As the military heads there, Glenn, now over 60 feet tall and confused, is drawn to the Vegas Strip. He wreaks havoc on various casinos, and after a policeman accidentally fires at him, he hurls a palm tree at the crowd that has formed. When the police become alarmed by his behavior, they begin firing at him, enraging him. He completely destroys the Pioneer Club's Vegas Vic sign, then heads toward Boulder Dam as military helicopters track his movements.
Linstrom, Carol, and Coulter attempt to intercept Hallock's troops. After landing at the dam, Coulter and Linstrom take the enormous syringe and plunge it into Glenn's ankle. He removes it and spears Coulter with it, killing him. Glenn then picks up Carol and starts across the dam. Using a bullhorn to amplify his message, Linstrom pleads with him to spare her, and although he is disoriented, he complies. Once she is free, Hallock orders his men to open fire, causing Glenn to tumble into the Colorado River to his apparent death.
|Glenn Langan||Lt. Colonel Glenn Manning (credited as Glen Langan)|
|Cathy Downs||Carol Forrest|
|William Hudson||Dr. Paul Linstrom|
|Larry Thor||Major Eric Coulter, MD|
|James Seay||Colonel Hallock|
|Frank Jenks||Truck Driver|
|Russ Bender||Richard Kingman|
|Jimmy Cross||Sergeant at reception desk|
|June Jocelyn||Nurse Wilson|
|Stanley Lachman||Lt. Cline|
|Harry Raybould||MP at Main Gate|
|Jean Moorhead||Woman in Bathtub|
|Scott Peters||Sgt. Lee Carter|
|Myron Cook||Captain Thomas|
|Michael Harris||Police Lt. Keller|
|Bill Cassady||Lt. Peterson|
|Dick Nelson||Sgt. Hansen|
|Edmund Cobb||Dr. McDermott|
|Diana Darrin||Hospital Receptionist|
|Lyn Osborn||Sgt. Taylor|
|Jack Kosslyn||Lieutenant in briefing room|
|William Hughes||Bombsite Control Officer|
|John Daheim||Soldier (uncredited)|
|Judd Holdren||Robert Allen (uncredited)|
|Harold Miller||Official (uncredited)|
Jim Nicholson of American International Pictures had the rights to Homer Eon Flint's novel The Nth Man (1928), about a man who was 10 miles high. Nicholson thought it could be adapted to cash in on the success of The Incredible Shrinking Man (released six months earlier in 1957) and originally announced Roger Corman as director. Charles B. Griffith was hired to adapt the novel, and he turned it into a comedy. Then Corman dropped out, and Bert I. Gordon was hired. Gordon worked on the script with Griffith, but the collaboration only lasted a day before Griffith quit. Instead, Griffith's regular writing partner Mark Hanna stepped in.
Before Gordon became involved, the film was conceived with Dick Miller in mind for the lead. It was Gordon's first film for AIP. Principal photography began late in June 1957.
Distributed by American International Pictures (AIP) in 1957, the film appeared at the top of a double bill with Cat Girl. Critical reviews were generally positive, with film reviewer Richard W. Nason at The New York Times commenting: "... imaginative story premise". A similar review in Variety, noted: "... Glenn Langan delivers persuasively ... Technical departments are well handled".
At the film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 38% based on 8 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 5.4/10.
In popular culture
The film and its sequel were featured and riffed on the cult classic mocking series Mystery Science Theater 3000; actor Mike Nelson portrayed the title character twice in the mid-movie host sections of the series' season 3, episodes 9 and 19. On episode 9, the character seems more aggressive to Joel and the bots when the Satellite of Love hit him and nearly proceeds to attack the trio after Tom Servo unintentionally insulted Glenn before leaving when suffering from a brief heart attack, as portrayed in the film.
The film was parodied on Season 1, episode 2, of Robot Chicken in 2005 when a large bald giant, wearing a sarong as a diaper, is struck in the crotch with a wrecking ball as he terrorizes a city, as part of the "Ode to the Nut Shot" sketch.
The film, as well as Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, were both parodied in the animated science fiction comedy Monsters vs. Aliens. When Susan is struck by a meteor, she mutates into a 49'11" monster. The scene borrows from The Amazing Colossal Man when Susan is injected with an oversized hypodermic needle, which she throws back at her attackers before passing out.
The trailer has also been shown in the film projected at the Disney's Hollywood Studios restaurant, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.
- List of American films of 1957
- The Incredible Shrinking Man, a 1957 film
- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, a 1958 film
- War of the Colossal Beast, the 1959 sequel
- McGee 1996 pp. 105–108.
- Rubine, Irving. "Boys meet ghouls, make money." The New York Times, March 16, 1958, p. X7.
- Smith 2009, p. 11.
- "Original print information: 'The Amazing Colossal Man'." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: April 8, 2015.
- Holston and Winchester 1997, p. 30.
- "The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "Nutcracker Sweet; 'Robot Chicken': Season 1, Episode 2, February 27, 2005." IMDb. Retrieved: April 8, 2015.
- "Movies Previewed in Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater". WDWMAGIC - Unofficial Walt Disney World discussion forums. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
- Holston, Kim R. and Tom Winchester. Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Sequels, Series and Remakes: An Illustrated Filmography. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1997. ISBN 978-0-7864-0155-0.
- McGee, Mark. Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and fattened Fable of American International Pictures. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1996. ISBN 978-0-7864-0137-6.
- Smith, Gary A. The American International Pictures Video Guide. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7864-3309-4.
- Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties (covers films released through 1962), 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009 (First Edition 1982). ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
- Wingrove, David. Science Fiction Film Source Book. London: Longman Group Limited, 1985. ISBN 978-0-5828-9310-8.
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