WATCH THE SKIES! SCI-FI, THE 1950s AND US

Published August 23, 2008

WORDLSINGER’S NOTE: Here’s another example of categories being limiting. Should this documentary be filed under Pop Culture, DVD reviews, Steven Spielberg? I think, given the visionary ├╝ber-directors involved, I will put it under The Auteurs.
The Day The Earth Stood Still
Critic and film historian Richard Schickel’s documentary, Watch The Skies! Science-Fiction, The 1950s and Us is a fascinating look at Hollywood sci-fi films, post-World War II. Produced in 2005 by TCM, the hour-long doc features George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Ridley Scott riffing on the alien, monster and nuclear-menace movies from their Cold-War paranoiac childhoods. They speak with love and affection of these pulp classics, explaining at length how they were influenced by such.

There are many clips from movies like, Forbidden Planet, Invaders From Mars, The Thing From Another World, The Day The Earth Stood Still, among others. The film wraps up with Steven Spielberg talking about his update of War of the Worlds (released the same year) and is a nice cap to this utterly fascinating and very entertaining program.
Forbidden Planet
Hey, I just noticed something. The two posters above both feature robots carrying scantily-clad damsels in distress. Perhaps such titillation was the fetish o’the day — King Kong would understand. Regardless, they sold millions of tickets and thrilled a generation of adolescent (and grown-up) filmgoers.

Whether you lived through the fifties or were born long after, this is a must see for cinemaphiles and sci-fi fans. And remember … just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Here you go.

NOTE: A couple of the videos below begin with a few seconds of bit-mappy static, but they all clear up shortly.


WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 1




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 2




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 3




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 4




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 5




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 6