5.8/10
2,261
83 user 48 critic

The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller | June 1957 (USA)
Giant mollusk monsters attack California.

Director:

Arnold Laven

Writers:

David Duncan (story), Pat Fielder (screenplay)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tim Holt ... Lt. Cmdr. John 'Twill' Twillinger
Audrey Dalton ... Gail MacKenzie
Hans Conried ... Dr. Jess Rogers
Barbara Darrow ... Jody Simms
Max Showalter ... Dr. Tad Johns (as Casey Adams)
Harlan Warde ... Lt. Robert 'Clem' Clemens
Gordon Jones ... Sheriff Josh Peters
Mimi Gibson ... Sandy MacKenzie
Marjorie Stapp ... Connie Blake
Jody McCrea ... Seaman Fred Johnson
Wallace Earl Laven Wallace Earl Laven ... Sally (as Eileen Harley)
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Storyline

An earthquake in the Salton Sea unleashes a horde of prehistoric mollusk monsters. Discovering the creatures, a Naval officer and several scientists attempt to stop the monsters, but they escape into the canal system of the California's Imperial Valley and terrorize the populace. Written by Jeremy Lunt <durlinlunt@acadia.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In glorious black & white. (1993 MGM/UA VHS tape cover). See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM Studios [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Jagged Edge See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$254,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gramercy Pictures (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The majority of the underwater scenes were shot near Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles. The close-ups were later filmed in a tank filled with water and plastic seaweed. See more »

Goofs

Just prior to being attacked the lock keeper's shirt is obviously wet from a previous take. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Jess Rogers: From the instant they're born, they're hungry.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Twixt (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Keep kids out of the lab

When an earthquake awakens century-old giant mollusks with tusk-like mandibles and an appetite to match the long-hibernation, naval Captain Twill (former cowboy star of the forties Tim Holt) applies his no-nonsense, practical man skills to solve the problem. But not before some of his friends, subordinates and bystanders are inhaled. Single mother (Dalton) woos the affections of the married-to-the-uniform Twill, while her child (prolific child actress Gibson) causes untold grief while unattended in the laboratory. Oops! Did I bump the humidicrib regulator and accidentally breed a parasitic behemoth that could destroy the base? Evidence of why children should never be taken to the workplace, even if for the purpose of procuring cheap labour.

What distinguishes this picture, however, from the litany of inferiority that contaminate most of the fifties monster sub-genre is its acting. Holt is uber-professional in his timing, expression, delivery and especially interplay with the less experienced cast around him. Dalton, a former theatre actress, is also robust and there's excellent support in veterans Conried and Jones. The monster mollusks, which look like super-magnified maggots make horrendous shrieking yowls and are mostly concealed from view (the 'what lies beneath' imaginings do the job for the most part). Their inspired creation are among the more memorable movie monsters, not entirely absurd nor without some shock value considering the production scale.

Reasonably fast-paced, although the time taken to discover the presence of the monsters is longer that most audiences might expect. The narrative build-up is consistent with the mystery theme most often used in these types of movies, and serves the purpose reasonably well; the early conjecture about the aquatic assailant being a large shark was not an original alibi in terms of plot development, but nevertheless maintains engagement until the true monster is revealed. Certainly one of the key creature-features of its halcyon era and recommended viewing for even the casual admirer.


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