Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Giant Claw (1957)

As I continue to limber up in anticipation of my return to full fledged schlock movie reviews, I thought I'd do another, brief, 'Random Movie Trailer', this time for what is surely one of the most ludicrous of all fifties monster movies: The Giant Claw.  When I was a kid, this one sometimes turned up in the early evening schedules on ITV, gathering a cult following among us pre-pubescent school boys.  (TV looked very different in the early seventies, most of the 'prestige' films available to the BBC and ITV were usually of considerable vintage, with B-movies and TV movies being used to fill movie slots.  ITV, in particular, were fond of padding out their midweek prime time schedules with such fare).  Even to our uncritical eyes the titular monster looked ridiculous, the script seemed confused and the acting performances perfunctory (although, with that script, they could never be anything else).  Yet The Giant Claw still exuded a certain insane charm.

Presumably inspired by Toho's 1956 giant flying monster movie Rodan - and seemingly timed to cash in on that film's US release in 1957 - The Giant Claw sits several steps below that movie in every department.  Which shouldn't come as a surprise bearing in mind that it was produced by notorious B-movie maestro Sam Katzman, and directed by his house director Fred F Sears.  The lattwe had previously produced the surprisingly impressive Earth vs The Flying Saucers for Katzman's Clover Productions the previous year. That film had boasted excellent stop motion effects by Ray Harryhausen in order to create the flying saucers and aliens.  The story goes that Katzman subsequently approached Harryhausen to provide the effects for The Giant Claw, but had been put off by the price Harryhausen quoted him.  So, he instead farmed the work out to a Mexican effects studio.  The results are predictably dismal, with a laughable looking and stiffly moving monster - its strings clearly showing in most sequences - and some utterly unconvincing miniatures work.  The attack on the train is particularly hilarious as the giant space chicken, or whatever it is, appears to carry off part of a Lionel train set.

But, when all is said and done, The Giant Claw is undoubtedly highly entertaining, although not for the reasons intended by its makers.  In spite of everything wrong with it, the film has that feverish feel characteristic of all truly great schlock movies.  In fact, it is so schlocky that even it's trailer is confused, unable to make up its mind whether its monster is from outer space or some kind of prehistoric survival.  Watch it - I defy you not to like it.  You'd have to possess a heart made of stone not to be amused by its surreal ineptitude.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home