Name: The Giant Claw
Director: Fred F. Sears
Music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff
Release date: June 1957 (USA)
Tagline: Flying Beast Out of Prehistoric Skies!
Review by: Patrick Mondolis
Well, since I can remember, i've read, heard or seen something about this movie pretty much everywhere there is something about monster movies.
And still, with such a reputation that makes it take it's part in most lists, be it good or bad ones, the movie is very underated.
Why, may you ask, well, I honestly don't think that 90% of the people out there wuld enjoy sitting and watching this movie, be it because it's in black and white, or because of the effects, or because of any possible reason they could find for not watching it, i don't care, but it's still underated as it is unfamous.
Now, i must be honest, from the minute i started downloading it, to the moment i started viewing it, to the moment i ended viewing it, this movie already had it's 4 bloodsplats earned, and i really couldn't think of something this movie could have to not earn them, but anyways, as it was 4 bloodsplats, it still remains 4 bloodsplats, that's all I can say.
The movie is black and white, filmed back in the '57, with horrible effects, but this was one movie that i've always wanted to see.
Now, the effects were supposed to be done by the master of stopmotion Ray Harryhousen, but the greedy little bastards that called themselves producers decided to cut off all of the money that they would spend on Ray, and a mexican special effects studio ended up doing the job.
Of course we can't totally blame the producers, because think of it, a big part of this movies fame comes from the fact that it's special effects are a total piece of shit, yet again, we canstart blaming them once more, becuse if it would've been Harryhousen's work, it would've been very much more appreciated than it is right now, just because of that.
And although i can't imagine how would this movie be in Harryhousen's hands, at the same time i'd like to see a version of the film where Harryhousen makes the bird with his excellent stopmotion techniques, partly because the only thing that sucked about the movie were the effects. Say, the script was well developed, the movie was nicely filmed, the acting good and even the music was good, in fact, the movie looked pretty serious everytime the bird wasn's on-screen.
so, considering all of these, the movie would've been 100 times better if the producers wouldn't be a bunch of greedy leprechauns.
anyways, i think it's time to get to the plot.
Well, how can I start the whole thing.
There's this guy, Mitch, who is a technician, and is flying a plane, so while he's happily flying in the skies, he sees what at first looks like a giant hairball, flying across the sky at incredible speeds.
that's actually the first glimpse we get of the monster.
Mitch reports this, but gets his ass kicked because none of the radars detects a thing.
so pretty much until here, there's a giant ghostly hairball that can't be detcted by anyone or anything except Mitch
as the movie goes on, Mitch and his friend, Sally are the only ones who believe in the bird.
then, there is a scene, around the 20-30 minutes of the movie, where the giant claw makes it's first official appeareance, and we get to see the whole thing.
the scene is aboout the giant claw attacking a plane, but what we actually get to see on-screen is priceless.
a goofy looking giant space antimatter-shielded turkey with enormously huge popping eyes and terryfing movieng nostrils.
I mean, what the fuck is that! Have you ever seen something like that before.
and there've been rumors of that Jeff Morrow (Mitch) went to the premiere of the film, and as soon as they saw the bird, the whole audience started laughing so hard that he got depressed, left the cinema and drunk a lot.
I guass that's ruining Morrows career forever, and it's pretty sad, because throughout the whole movie, he achieves a very good acting, and *sorry for having to mention it again* if it hadn't been for the budget, and Ray would've done the effects for the film, this would've been a very good movie for morrow, although after these, he has acted in around 30 different productios, including a lot of T.V. series, until 1986. Later, in 1993 he died.
So, continuing with the movie, after the plane attack, showed here below:...
notice the horrible quality of the plain, which you don't notice because you're too busy laughing at the horrendous monster.
...Mitch finally got everyone to believe in the monsterm, and now everyone was afraid and asking for help.
later on, they go to shoot the giant bird down, where they fail because their shootin' doesnt affect the bird at all, but instead of giving up, they start thinking, and get to the conclusion that the bird is surrounded by a special antimatter shield, which is the reason why it can't be destroyed.
then, after a lot of attacks from the giant claw, who is (i counted) exactly 8 times referred to as a giant battleship, they find a potential way of destroying it.
what they say is that they must build an apparatus that will destroy the bird's antimatter shield, and after that, they will be able to destroy it.
so they work, work and work, and failure after failure they finally get to do the machine, and as they fly and shoot at the bird, it's shield gets destroyed, and then they shoot it down to his death.
now, there was one thing that i wanted to tell you, that for me, it may go to a list of "the most stupid moments in monster movie history".
this is the one line that for me pushed the movie from the cliff, into a pit of /comedy/bad effects/kinda monster/ genre.
this one image represents all the stupidity both of the movie and the bird itself, and the reason for it being down here, after the plot, is because it deserves a special place of it's own.
this may as well be the funniest line in the entire movie, and it's supposed to be ok, until you actually notice that he is talking totally serious.
this is one scene where Mitch and Sally are talking, so Mitch deduces something and tells Sally.
He deduces, from the things the birt has been doing, where has it been attacking and at what time, that the bird is following a pattern, but not just any kind of pattern, just look and you'll see.
what type of pattern do you think it is?
yes, i copuln't believe it either, and i'm alughing as much as you are right now.
so, apart of being a giant antimatter turkey from outer space with giant terryfing moving nostrils and enormous popping eyes, it flies in a spiral.
well, overall, the movie, if not counting the effects, was totally enjoyable, but believe it or not, the bad effects just added the right flavor to it, and now it has the perfect and balanced taste of "The Giant Claw", and that's pretty much.
what else can I say, i mean, the director did a grat job always keeping us interested in what will happen next, of course, not in a suspenseful way, but in a way of, OMG what could possibly happen now, and the camera is very well handled too, and finally, the music, the music accompanied the movie very well, it gave this sense of old black and white science fiction movie, so, as i said before, adding up all the proportions of different elements that are present in this movie, i can say that it's a very well proportioned and balanced motion picture of the late 50's.
Stupid things I learnt from this movie
- You should never cut out the budget of a film, if it is regarding the special effects.
- always be afraid if you see a giant hairball in the sky, it means destruction and death and it's called "la cacania"
- if a giant bird is destroying your plane, it is safer to stay insida than jump from a parachute, apparently, the ones who stayed inside survived
- if bullets do not affect it, it must be an antimatter shield
- the fact that the time goes on and new technologies in the filmmaking industries are always being developed, once in a while, you'll se a movie with VERY crappy effects.
- dated effects also existed back in the late 50's
- never look at la cacania, it means your death
- if you shoot the eggs of a giant bird that came all the way fromouter space to earth only to make a nest, the bird will violently respond, throwing branches at you
Narrator: there was no mistaken urgency in Mcafee’s voice.
Something, he didn’t know what, but something as big as a battleship.
Well, I saw this something that looked like a cloud, but it was moving too fast for a cloud.
Sally: Well, what happened, looked like something colliding with us up there.
Mitch: Yeah, a flying battleship that wasn’t there.
Sally: Oh, nothing as a flying saucer sir, just a flying battleship.
Sheriff: well have a good time with your flying battleship, your car will be here soon.
Mitch: this glass must have a hole in it, the beer is disappearing.
Mitch: a pattern, a perfect pattern in time and distance, each incident, each cross.
Sally: Something like your flying battleship?
Narrator: a bird, a bird as big as a battleship, circling and preparing to attack the CAB plane.
Did he say what it was.
Yes, a bird, a bird as big as a battleship circled and attacked the plane.
This doesn’t make sense, it’s like we’re hitting a battleship with a slingshot!
Pilot: We’re gonna have to….*bird cries*…no…no…it’s coming after me, no, no!......
Any suggestions, Macafee?
Sure, electronic spitballs!
Mitch: close to, general, close. Only not electronic spit balls, atomic spitballs.
Doctor: If there is matter, there must also be antimatter.
Doctor: that bird is extraterrestrial, it comes from outer space, from some god forsaken antimatter galaxy millions and millions of light years from the earth.
Mitch: no, not la cacania, a million times worse.
Sally: I’m from Montana.
Sally: Well, is everybody ready for some work.
Doctor: Work or maybe magic. What we need here is a miracle.
Some of the best effects this movie gets to are directly taken from earth v.s the flying saucers (1956), what an irony, because that one IS done by Harryhousen.
jeff morrow said that no one in the crew knew what the monster was going to look like, because the producer (Sam Katzman) had ordered it from a low budget studio in Mexico.
before the movie ended, jeff morrorw went away from the theatre, embarassed.
before the marionette, the producers were going to use a stopmotion model created by Ray Harryhousen, bu you know, butgetary stuff. *cough* greediness *cough*