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The Beast with a Million Eyes (a.k.a. The Unseen) is a 1955 independently made American black-and-white science fiction film, produced and directed by David Kramarsky, that stars Paul Birch, Lorna Thayer, and Dona Cole. Some film sources have said that the film was co-directed by Lou Place.[citation needed] The film was co-produced by Roger Corman and Samuel Z. Arkoff.[3] and was released by American Releasing Corporation, which later became American International Pictures.

The Beast with a Million eyes
Poster of the movie The Beast with a Million Eyes.jpg
Directed by
Produced byDavid Kramarsky
Written byTom Filer
Starring
Music byJohn Bickford
CinematographyEverett Baker
Edited byJack Killiferart
Production
company
San Mateo Productions
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
Release date
  • June 15, 1955 (1955-06-15) (United States)
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$33,000[1][2]

The film's storyline concerns a space alien that is able to see through the eyes of a large array of Earth life that it can also mentally control, part of its plan to conquer the Earth.

PlotEdit

The isolated Kelley family struggle to survive on their small "date ranch", located in a bleak desert landscape well away from civilization. After a mysterious object crashes nearby, both wild and domesticated animals, and finally the farm's handyman, turn on the family, attacking them. It is finally revealed that a space alien ("the beast" of the title) has taken total control of the area's lesser animals and is working its way up to humans, all part of its master plan to conquer the Earth. In the end the family bond together, fighting against the alien menace, finally thwarting its plan of conquest.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

The Beast with a Million Eyes was the third of a three-picture deal Roger Corman had with the American Releasing Company following The Fast and the Furious (1955) and Five Guns West (1955).[4] Only $29,000 remained to make the film for Pacemaker Productions. The tiny budget meant music in The Beast with a Million Eyes, credited to "John Bickford", is actually a collection of public-domain record library cues by classical composers Richard Wagner, Dimitri Shostakovich, Giuseppe Verdi, Sergei Prokofiev, and others, used to defray the cost of an original score or copyrighted cues.[5]

American Releasing Company president James H. Nicholson had come up with a title and ad treatment that had film exhibitors signed on before seeing the finished film. When the company vice-president Samuel Z. Arkoff received The Beast with a Million Eyes he was unhappy that it did not even feature "the beast" that was implicit in the title. Paul Blaisdell, responsible for the film's special effects, was hired to create a three-foot-tall spaceship (with "beast" alien) for a meager $200. Notably, the Art Director was Albert S. Ruddy, who would later win two "Best Picture" Academy Awards for The Godfather (1972) and Million Dollar Baby (2004).[6]

Filming took place in Indio and the Coachella Valley, California.[7] Corman shot 48 pages of interiors in just two days at a studio on La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles.[4]The Beast with a Million Eyes was a non-union film originally titled The Unseen, with Lou Place set to direct. After one day's filming, the union threatened to shut down the production unless everyone signed with the Guild. Roger Corman, who was producing, took over the film's directing chores and replaced the cinematographer with Floyd Crosby; however Corman took no official screen credit.[1] Another version of this story has Corman allocating directing duties to Dave Kramarsky, his associate director on Five Guns West.[4]

ReceptionEdit

Film historian Leonard Maltin called The Beast with a Million Eyes, "Imaginative though poorly executed sci-fi melodrama with desert setting; a group of people is forced to confront an alien that can control an unlimited number of animals, hence the title." He further described the film as, "(an) early Roger Corman production (that) features Paul Blaisdell's first movie monster."[8] In 2007 Metro-Goldwyn Mayer distributed The Beast with a Million Eyes as part of its Midnight Movies catalog on a double-feature DVD shared with The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955).

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b McGee 1996, pp. 24–27.
  2. ^ Harmetz, Aljean. "The dime-store way to make movies-and money." The New York Times, August 4, 1974, p. 202.
  3. ^ Lentz 1983, pp. 608, 629.
  4. ^ a b c Smith 2014, pp. 18–19.
  5. ^ "Movieland events; Gig Young obtains 'A Man in Eritrea'." Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1955, p. B6.
  6. ^ Smith 2009, p. 21.
  7. ^ The Beast with a Million Eyes at the American Film Institute Catalog
  8. ^ Maltin, Leonard. "Leonard Maltin Movie Review." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: March 23, 2015.

BibliographyEdit

  • Lentz, Harris M. III. Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Film and Television Credits, Vol. 1. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1983. ISBN 978-0-7864-0952-5.
  • McGee, Mark. Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1996. ISBN 978-0-7864-0137-6.
  • Smith, Gary A. American International Pictures Video Guide. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7864-3309-4.
  • Smith, Gary A. American International Pictures: The Golden Years. Albany, Georgia: Bear Manor Media, 2014. ISBN 978-1-5939-3750-8.
  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition (revised and expanded). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. ISBN 0-89950-032-3.

External linksEdit