Thursday, May 3, 2012
YEAR 1958: THE FIFTY-FOOT WOMAN
In terms of the title (though not so much the story), ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WOMAN is one of the best-known of the female-oriented "creature features" of the 1950s. The film has been remade (with several changes to the Mark Hanna script) and parodied in assorted venues. It would seem to be the only "femme formidable" film for director Nathan Juran/Hertz, though scripter Hanna also produced the "lady sheriff" western GUNSLINGER, which will be covered in a future post.
Like CAT GIRL, ATTACK deals with a rich woman beset with the problems of having a rat for a husband. Wealthy Nancy Archer, neglected by her cheating husband Harry, has the additional misfortune of a "close encounter" with a gigantic male alien. She becomes sick from the encounter and her husband and his girlfriend plot to kill her secretly. However, she becomes a giantess-- albeit one who manages to remain adequately clothed at all times-- and goes out looking to avenge herself on the plotters.
The tone of the film's final sequence is perhaps a little too jokey, what with Nancy stomping around the local dives calling her husband's name, "HARRRRY!" I can't exactly say that ATTACK exploits the themes of the soon-to-be-burgeoning feminism as such. But I imagine it gave some women in 1950s audiences a charge out of seeing themselves as "the bigger sex."