The Deadly Mantis (1957)

Before they hit it big on TV Craig “Peter Gunn” Stevens and William “Paul Drake” Hopper were battling movie monsters. This time it’s a praying mantis that broke out of an iceberg. Not one of the most fun flicks of the 50’s SF movies but it has its moments. I’m still trying to figure out why the above poster makes it look like a song and dance performer.

A volcano erupts in the South Pole. The vibrations crack open an iceberg in the North Pole. We’re in trouble now. The mantis destroys a weather station. Colonel Joe Parkman (Craig Stevens) and a Lieutenant investigate. There are two skid marks in the snow. Brushing the snow away Parkman finds the imprint of a huge…something. The men inside are missing.

Next on the mantis menu..a jet and its crew. It knocks it out of the sky. Parkman investigates. Same deal. Then because it can the mantis attacks an Eskimo village.

Part of the creature broke off and the piece is sent to the Pentagon. Scientists don’t have a clue. The piece is sent to paleontologist Dr.Ned Jackson (William Hopper) at the Museum of Natural History. With him is the Museum’s magazine editor, Marge Blaine.  Jackson narrows it down that the piece is from a huge praying mantis. Up to this point no one has seen it except the Eskimos. It seems no one asked them what it looked like.

Ned and Marge go to the North pole to visit Parkman at the DEW line monitoring station.. The men are real happy to see a woman. Jackson and Marge are working late and Parkman tells them to get some rest. None of them bothered to look out the window to spot the mantis checking them out. Finally Marge turns and….time for a loud scream.

The men at the base scramble into their planes while a couple on the ground try shooting at it. Bullets tickle and a flame thrower makes it laugh. Having had enough of this, the mantis takes off. It’s flying in the Gulf Stream possibly to take a South American vacation. Along the way it manages to wreck a train and then a bus.

The movie has the usual final battle scene to keep the monster from getting into New Jersey. Typical kiddie matinee stuff. Lots of jets and military artillery to keep things going. Not a must see but if you’re out of 50’s SF to watch it’s worth a look.

The mantis can’t resist buildings

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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2 Responses to The Deadly Mantis (1957)

  1. Several additional points: the lunatic level of stock footage used at the beginning of the film (it must be well into the second reel before any original footage is uncovered…talk about budgetary economy!), and the footage of the Eskimo village is taken from Arnold Fanck’s 1933 “S.O.S. Eisberg” starring Hitler’s favorite mountain gal Leni Riefenstahl.

  2. vintage45 says:

    Thanks for the additional info. It makes the movie even more fun.

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