Our friend Bob Furmanek, Founder and CEO of the 3-D Film Archive, hosted another private screening for Classic Movies and More. This time the Archive’s latest 3-D restoration of Jack Arnold’s It Came From Outer Space had us leaning back in our seats as a huge, one-eyed alien tried to take our identities. Or that’s what it felt like.
Rob and Annmarie, my partners at Classic Movies and More were as blown away as I was with the stunning 3-D and audio restoration of the science fiction classic. I include a short video of our reaction taped right after the screening at the end of this post, but a week or so after that day I can tell you the movie has stayed with me. I urge you to get your hands on the bluray, a Best Buy exclusive, which goes on sale on October 4th.
By now I think most of you know that technical terms usually go way over my head. Bob is likely to describe the It Came From Outer Space restoration using such terms as “original stereophonic three-track magnetic audio,” which was restored for the bluray by his partner, Greg Kintz. I may not be able to explain the details, but I can tell you that the sound on this bluray is so fantastic that I jumped a few times during the screening. Well…also because there were objects flying toward me.
It Came From Outer Space was the sixth feature film to be released with stereo sound and audiences have not heard the audio – as it is on this bluray – for 63 years. The sounds here are matched only by the visuals in what was Universal Studios’ first 3-D movie. Although the action scenes are great, It Came From Outer Space is a dramatic science fiction tale that goes for reality and manages effective 3-D photography without excessive gimmicks. I was impressed with the framing of every scene designed to take advantage of the new format back in the day. Imagine how much fun this was to watch at a drive-in near you in 1953. Here’s one of the original trailers of It Came From Outer Space wherein Richard Carlson explains the new technology.
As far as the story goes It Came From Outer Space will no doubt keep you entertained. Richard Carlson and Barbara Rush play writer/astronomer, John Putnam and his schoolteacher girlfriend, Ellen Fields. John and Ellen witness a meteorite crash in Arizona, which yields little more than curiosity at first. As you can imagine, however, the crash soon becomes the center of their world as John and Ellen try to convince the inhabitants of a fictional desert town that the meteorite was actually an alien vessel with life onboard. While most think that Putnam has lost his mind, it becomes clear he’s right when the aliens start abducting the townspeople turning them into zombie-like replicas of their former selves. It’s quite the scary premise, but all the aliens want is enough time to fix their damaged flying saucer so they can get home.
It Came From Outer Space takes itself seriously and you should too. John Putnam is a somber, rational hero and the Western drama that supports the science fiction elements is played well. The screenplay for Outer Space was written by Harry Essex based on a story by Ray Bradbury. The performances are terrific with Carlson and Rush particularly affecting in their respective roles. Plus you get Russell Johnson, best known as the Professor on Gilligan’s Island in a key role.
You really can’t go wrong with It Came From Outer Space and this Best Buy exclusive bluray restoration is the only way to watch it. Take a look at our impromptu, roundtable review and here’s the link to pre-order the bluray, which is a steal at $9.99.