It Conquered the World ★★★

Obviously shows strains of its budget etc, but with many qualities worth noting. Occasionally, Corman finds a particular shot that I found expressive or unique, such as a well-placed lamp near the foreground of the frame or a zoom-in during the mad scientist’s speech to his wife that leads her to not let go. It’s also economical in its narrative and a somewhat darker work than, say, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, which was screened as part of a double feature. The final fifteen minutes features a parallel editing montage between no less than I think five different planes of action, and I’m not going to say Corman is as good as Griffith, but it certainly felt similar to the final chase scenes out of the latter’s best Biograph work. While Lee Van Cleef is probably the reason people will search this out, it’s Sally Fraser’s performance that grounds the film, providing a vulnerable touch to her character as she sees her world shattered by her husband. Is it simply her conviction to the cheesy material? Not sure, but part of I think what makes it work is she never has to sell the science fiction – she only sells her crumbling disillusionment from her husband. And that’s a very real feeling anyone can relate to.

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