Scientists investigate what appears to be a meteorite that crashes into the ocean. After a few days and nights of mysterious lights and noises, a giant machine comes out of the ocean. The machine is the creation of an alien race, that is trying to syphon energy from earth. A true classic, in that it is so different from anything in the time period. To this day, nothing else has come out like it.
Directed by: Kurt Neumann
. Starring: Jeff Morrow
, Barbara Lawrence
, John Emery
, George O'Hanlon
, Morris Ankrum
, Kenneth Alton
, John Parrish
, Jose Gonzales-Gonzales
, Richard Harrison
, Marjorie Stapp
, Robert Shayne
, Don Eitner
, Gordon Mills
. Music by: Paul Sawtell
, Bert Shefter
Jeff Morrow is Leslie Gaskell, Barbara Laurence is Vera Hunter, and John Emory is Hubbel Eliot. Along with some ancillary Air Force personnel and a comic geek, they are in charge of a super-secret underground laboratory on the West Coast. Morrow is thrilled when he discovers a meteor passing through the atmosphere but nonplussed when the meteor decides to take a dip in the Pacific Ocean and emerge as a fantastic machine on the Mexican coast.
Nobody knows what this colossal, blocky structure is. Obviously it's some kind of carpentered artifact because it's all made up of right angles with a kind of bald sphere half visible on top.
It turns out that the machine, dubbed Kronos, is from some far-away planet and has been sent here to rob the earth of energy. You see, here on earth, we have learned how to convert matter into energy, but on Kronos' planet they have figured out the other half of the equation -- how to convert energy into matter. And now they're running out of energy on the other planet. Are you taking notes on this? Good.
Maybe you'll be able to fill me in on some of the scientific questions raised by Kronos' mission. For instance, if Kronos' builders can convert energy into matter and vice versa, why don't they just convert a little of their own spare matter into energy instead of sending elaborate machines to earth to extinguish LA's lights? But it's doubtful the writers could explain it either. Reversing the polarities of two antenna is described as an "anthropic conversion," which means a "towards-human change", which doesn't make sense. But it doesn't seem that any of the science makes sense for that matter. The diagram that Morrow draws on the board has the current going in the wrong direction, from positive to negative.
There's a problem with Kronos' locomotion too. It marches along the coast, threatening "populated areas" (read Southern California), but it has no joints in its two or three legs. These stumps just thump slowly up and down, squashing some people. The film doesn't make much of these squashed people. They're shown as Mexican peasants, so maybe they don't count for too much. The USAF also drops a hydrogen bomb on Kronos -- while it's in Mexico, mind you. Nobody raises an eyebrow.
Not much acting is called for and not much is given. Jeff Morrow has a distinct and resonant voice, great for radio or for TV voice overs. His face is less expressive. He has only one expression, no matter what the situation is -- a tight smile, as if he's having his picture taken at the Universal Studios Tour. Barbara Laurence had a fine, golden quality when she made "Street With No Name" a few years earlier. She was a slender seventeen-year-old as Richard Widmark's wife. Here, her grooming and demeanor reduce her to the level of B-movie actress, though she's still beautiful. It's always good to see Morris Ankrum in one of these movies. He's made so many, I get them mixed up.
On the whole, the film comes across as flat, I'm afraid. (There are some nice shots of a B-47 in flight, though.) The sets reveal a low-budget enterprise. That's not necessarily bad in itself, but there's nothing to make up for the barren settings. Little tension in the script, no directorial display, and little effort put into the performances.
You might get a kick out of it -- a relaxed high -- because this is distinctly unchallenging. It's just that there are so many better films of the genre out there.
Review by Robert J. Maxwell from the Internet Movie Database.