Movie Review: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1958 movie starring Allison Hayes and William Hudson.

Synopsis: Driving through the desert after a fight with her adulterous husband, wealthy heiress Nancy Archer encounters a spaceship and a 30-foot alien. However, partly because of her history of drinking and mental illness, her report isn't taken seriously. Fearing she will once again be institutionalized, she forces her husband to accompany her in search of the craft. When they find it and the alien once again grabs for her, her husband flees and leaves her for dead. She survives but her exposure to the spaceship causes her to grow to gigantic proportions and, when she wakes up, she uses her new enlarged size to get revenge on her husband.

Review

I spent a good chunk of my day yesterday doing yard work and, by evening, decided I deserved to take a break and watch a movie. I knew this classic film was showing and, after considering a couple other choices, decided to finally take the time to watch it. Unfortunately, it just wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be.

There's a list of things I found I did not like about this movie with the first one being the poor special effects. Now, normally, I do give classic films a pass when it comes to this type of thing because CGI and many other special effects technologies weren't around yet. But, even with me taking the time period into consideration, I thought the movie was sloppy.

In particular, I hated how Nancy (Hayes) and the giant alien (Michael Ross) appeared to be transparent at times because of being transposed onto a background. I probably could have lived with this had the movie made any effort to explain that appearance (even a vague "the radiation did it" explanation would have been fine). But, that just was not the case and the viewer is apparently expected to ignore it.

Also, much like many other classic monster movies, the film makes you spend a whole lot of time waiting for the 50 Foot Woman to make her debut. Her actual "attack" only happens in the final minutes of the film. The rest of the time, the movie just shows her hand as she remains in a coma and doctors talk about how to address her condition. The movie would have been considerably better had we seen her commit a lot more destruction than she ultimately does, especially since it ultimately wasn't too hard to kill her.

Another thing I found I didn't like about the movie was the way the cheating husband (Hudson) was portrayed. Essentially, he seemed to be motivated by just two things, money and sex. He married Nancy for her money and let his mistress (Vickers) use sex to convince him to try to kill his wife.

I think his character would have been much more human had film given us some evidence that he once had feelings for his wife and was only cheating on her because of her drinking and mental health problems. In fact, I kind of wished it would have had a little more irony at the end, with him realizing he made a mistake and trying to break things off with his mistress and having a recently-awake Nancy seeing this, misunderstanding and going into a rage because she thinks he is still cheating on her.

 

Final Opinion

I was excited to finally see this movie. But, ultimately, it failed to live up to expectations. In fact, I think the 1993 remake might have been slightly better.

My Grade: D

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Updated: 06/16/2019, StevenHelmer
 
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