Missing films I can't locate on Letterboxd:
Blonde Ambition (1981)
I Like to Watch / Caballero (1982)
Mona the Virgin…
20 Million Miles to Earth
When the first manned flight to Venus returns to Earth, the rocket crash-lands in the Mediterranean near a small Italian fishing village. The locals manage to save one of the astronauts Colonel Calder, the mission commander. A young boy also recovers what turns out to be a specimen of an alien creature. Growing at a fantastic rate, it manages to escape and eventually threatens the city of Rome.
Produced as an excuse for effects wizard Ray Harryhausen to take a Roman vacation, 20 Million Miles to Earth is a fairly standard b-movie elevated above many others thanks to a few interesting touches. The plot involves a team of astronauts who crash off the coast of Sicily on their return flight from Venus. They brought with them a lifeform from the planet in the hopes of studying its biology, however, the crash allows the creature to escape and it quickly grows to monstrous proportions.
The story is nothing special, setting the stage for your run-of-the-mill monster on the loose movie. The banal nature of the proceedings isn't…
Fascinating. Horrible, but fascinating.
You don't watch a film like this because of the director or the actors in it, you watch it because Ray Harryhausen did the special effects. Not to disrespect the director though, Nathan Juran, who had a legendary career directing genre films and television even though his movies and tv shows are better known then he is.
One of the reasons the film is so much fun even when you don't have a monster on the screen is because the film seems to be in on the joke that it's filled with bad actors. It skirts the perfect tone of never taking itself to seriously and being tongue-in-cheek at the right moments.
Ray Harryhausen never…
Another minor work made enjoyable by Ray Harryhausen's animation. The alien (which looks a lot like the Kraken in the later Clash of the Titans) crash lands in Italy with the lone survivor of an exploratory mission to Venus. The location seems to have been chosen to allow the monster ample opportunity to rampage through Rome, specifically the final showdown at the Coliseum. The plot is serviceable and the acting plodding and workmanlike, but the real focus is on the monster. The attention to detail and the lovingness with which Harryhausen crafted his creations is obvious in each frame. It's a pleasure to see his work evolve in this and other films of the era (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms).
I felt pretty bad for the creature. Taken 20 Million Miles from it's home planet, involved in a crash landing, caged, attacked by a dog, poked with a stick, stabbed with a pitchfork, shot at, chased, netted, electrocuted, chained up, blasted by flame throwers and bazookas and then picked on by a meanie elephant! All he wanted was a nice sulfur snack and a nice day at the Colosseum!
The monster in 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH may be just another big hunk of rubber dinosaur and setting it in Italy only allows for a lot of B-Movie actors, including the obligatory 'cute kid' to strut their stuff with funny. not-very-Italian sounding voices but otherwise Nathan Juran's movie displays some imagination and is a lot of fun, particularly when the creature goes on the rampage through Rome flattening monuments that have been around for a few thousand years, (beating pesky old San-Francisco or Tokyo any day), that alone earns it some kind of cult status.
Extremely fun popcorn movie. Pretty much all I have to say.
All this trouble because an Italian child needed a 200 lira hat from Texas.
Like I'm sure most have, I only really watched "20 Million Miles to Earth" for Harryhausen's stop motion work. After all, it is the only reason the film got made in the first place.
So in that sense, yes, it's excellent. His stop motion work is top notch, and doesn't just include the Venusian creature Ymir, but also a person (being horribly attacked) and an Elephant. It stands out from a lot of other creature features in that the Ymir isn't really a bad guy. He doesn't run amok attacking and killing people just because he can, but is rather a scared alien taken from its home and then chased around the countryside. It can be quite sympathetic actually.
Notable for its Harryhausen effects. The rest is a pretty average affair.
A United States Air Force rocket ship crash lands off of Sicily after a secret expedition to Venus, and a fisherman's kid finds an egg-like item in the ship's wreckage. After the egg is sold to a local zoologist, it hatches, and the reptilian alien creature inside begins growing at an exorbitant rate. The race to prevent it from doing damage is led by the ship's only surviving crew member and the zoologist's attractive granddaughter. Good effects by Ray Harryhausen, and the ending scene at the Colosseum is pretty good, but not much happens before the end.
I love Ray Harryhausen movies to death but this one I have only seen once. I felt so incredibly sad for the Ymir all movie long that I haven't been able to watch it again.
Ray Harryhausen Festival No. 4
Another enjoyable slice of rampaging action with yet another sympathetic creature. It all brings back harrowing memories of Shadow of the Colossus...
Brilliant characterisation and some stunning lighting add up to some of my favourite Harryhausen effects so far.
Harryhausen's Effects - 4 out of 5
My daughter (5 years old at the time) had been asking to see "scary movies," and I thought between the b/w photography and the old-style stop-motion animation this old B-movie would be remote enough from her world to be scary without being too scary. Actually, it was a bit too scary! When people got hurt, it was distressing for her (though the violence is mostly implied... the main exception is when rubble falls on some bystanders in Rome, which made her cry out) and - this is a tribute to Harryhausen's genius, and empathy for his monsters - when the Venusian died, it was distressing as well. Still, I want to recommend this movie as having certain virtues for younger…
Missing films I can't locate on Letterboxd:
UPDATE 7/21/2015: Another film has been taken off of Letterboxd. This time it's a film from 1973 called The Case…