Thursday, October 7, 2010

It Conquered the World (1956)

Yes, It did.  It Conquered the World (1956) is an early horror/sci-fi classic from the prolific Roger Corman (b. 1926).  Corman produced over 350 films, plus he directed 56, and even appeared in 34.  Most of his films can best be described as "campy," but he was helpful in giving many stars an early break.  Peter Graves (1926 - 2010) and Lee Van Cleef (1925 - 1989) star in this one.  It is not available on DVD apparently.

Beverly Garland (1926 - 2008) is also seen in a starring roles as Van Cleef's wife.  Garland has 186 roles on her list, starting in 1950 in the film noir classic, D.O.A. with Edmond O'Brien (1915 - 1985).  Most of her roles were single appearances on TV series'. 

Garland did have some regular roles on TV, starting with "Decoy" in the late 1950s, then "The Bing Crosby Show" in the mid 1960s, her big break as a regular on "My Three Sons" later that decade, and a stint on "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" in the 1970s.  Two later TV series, "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and "7th Heaven" brought her into this century. 

As I look through the cast, most of the actors and actresses made their living by appearing on TV shows, and making an occasional movie.  Most are true Bit Actors, but some went on to more important work.

Russ Bender (1910 - 1969) shows 108 titles.  It was his third film, just after working on The War of the Worlds (1953) with Gene Barry (1919 - 2009).  He was the divorce court judge in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) with James Cagney, and in 1962 he was in That Touch of Mink and Days of Wine and Roses.  Most of his movies have titles like Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) and The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1966).  His last work was on "Bonanza."

One more...Jonathan Haze (b. 1929).  Best known as Seymour Krelboin in Little Shop of Horrors (1960) which was also by Roger Corman, and was Jack Nicholson's fourth movie.  Haze has 38 titles starting with Monster from the Ocean Floor in 1954, and many of them are also with Corman.

That was fun.  Look through the titles produced by Roger Corman and you have the makings of a great Halloween party with film buffs!

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