Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Giant Claw (1957)

Directed by Fred F. Sears, and written by Paul Gangelin and Samuel Newman, The Giant Claw is an abject lesson in bad movie making. Never mind the fact that the creature putting the fear of god into everyone looks like a heroin-addicted cousin of Gonzo from The Muppets, nothing in this movie works at all. If you watch it in the right mood, and probably with the right company, you should be able to wring some laughs from how bad it is but even that is a struggle. It's too easy, which makes mocking it feel like tripping up a floppy-eared puppy.

Jeff Morrow stars as Mitch MacAfee, a man who upsets everyone when he starts insisting that he has seen a UFO during a flight. Nobody believes him until more flights are affected. Then they start to, reluctantly, consider the possibility that he might be telling the truth. When it comes to light that the UFO is actually some giant creature that seems pretty indestructible there's only one man that the world turns to for a solution. Mitch. He, along with the pretty and intelligent Sally Caldwell (Mara Corday), sets out to find a way to kill the deadly beast.

Apparently, leading man Morrow didn't see the creature until the film's premiere in his home town. When he saw, and heard, how laughable it was he cringed for a while and then left early so that nobody would recognise him. That's understandable but what's harder to understand is how he thought the rest of it would be any good.

It feels like almost a third of the movie is narrated. At least the opening narration accompanies relevant footage. The narration explaining the terror caused by the giant bird has nothing alongside it really showing you any terror.

Director Sears can get most of the blame but I can't imagine anything that would have lifted such a poor script. Full of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo, characters that it's hard to care about and unmemorable dialogue, it's an embarrassment from start to finish. The acting from all involved isn't that great either but as that's the least of the onscreen problems it's an easier fault to overlook.

If you're a connoisseur of bad cinema then this is one that you need to check out. Everyone else should avoid it like the plague. I give it 2 points for making me chuckle but even that is being generous.



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