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The Cyclops (1957) - Blu-ray Review

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The Cyclops (1954) - Blu-ray Review

2 beers

Even by Atomic Age standards, this low grade exploration into the effects of radiation on living animals is pretty terrible.  Maybe drunk enough, this low budget matinee flick comes alive.  As it is, The Cyclops is hit-and-miss adventure that features rather large lizards, snakes, and spiders thanks to some seriously wonky special effects.

The Cyclops, written and directed by Bert I. Gordon (Beginning of the End, The Amazing Colossal Man) and independently financed by RKO, might boast of Lon Chaney Jr’s name on its roster, but Chaney, who was just coming off the high of The Black Sleep, has nothing to do but complain about going back home and abandoning the brand new search for a missing pilot who has been missing for over a year.  What’s worse is that, if reports are accurate, the actor was drunk during much of the filming and, yes, it shows in his performance which is oddly punctuated by him squealing about radiation.

"this black-and-white grunt of a matinee flick is definitely full of old school appeal.  Unfortunately, no one  - not even a drunk Chaney – has enough steady charisma to make this one worth the concentration."


So what does he know about where these poor fools are conducting their search?  Because his anxiety about the search is near panic level.

The Cyclops is a movie filled with mutants.  From oversized mice and eagles to reptiles, and, yes, even a person (hence the title), this black-and-white grunt of a matinee flick is definitely full of old school appeal.  Unfortunately, no one  - not even a drunk Chaney – has enough steady charisma to make this one worth the concentration. 

And, at a mere 60-minutes, this paper-thin flick simply blinks at its expression at radiation’s effects on all creatures and then moves on, bawling cyclops man and all.  Its single commentary seems to be that we don’t know radiation’s effect yet.  Could be good, but it has to be mostly bad.  Just look at what it does to the sole human on the island!  It turned him into a damn cyclops!  And all the poor bastard can do is mumble and moan.

True, Gordon doesn’t quite understand his own use of science but all the actors make you believe he does and, surrounded by a story in which Susan Winter (Gloria Talbott) gets a group of willing men to go after her missing boyfriend, that counts for something when it comes to island adventures.  Of course, we have to sit through some fairly boring conversations in order to get to the contaminated island.

The discovery of large animals on the island is muted at first.  Winter and the dude that wants to date her, scientist Russ Bradford (James Craig), go looking for her lost lover, the missing pilot, and come across a rather large mouse.  I mean, this creature is HUGE.  I’d be running away if I were them.  Quickly. 

But these two dopes can only gawk in the corner as an even bigger hawk lands on the mouse and starts to nibble away at the poor creature.  They appear to be grossed out, but neither seems to be concerned about the size of the vermin and its hunter.  They hilariously (because it is obvious that the backscreen projection scale is off) remain out in the open, hoping not to be seen by either creature.  They later claim the mouse was as large as a dog. No. That damn mouse was as big as a house.

The Cyclops (1954) - Blu-ray Review

Anyway, the other creatures – also brought to you by a combination of backscreen projection and matte work – look like ghosts as their flickering image are not convincing in the least.  All that can be forgiven and is once the cyclops shows.  The poor bastard.  His story is a tough one because, as you can already guess, the one-eyed monster is the reason for the adventure in the first place.

The Cyclops arrives on blu-ray courtesy of the Warner Bros Archive Collection

The Cyclops (1954) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
66 mins
Director
: Bert I. Gordon
Writer:
Bert I. Gordon
Cast:
James Craig, Gloria Talbott, Lon Chaney Jr.
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
50 FT. HIGH MAN-THING in a land of NATURE GONE MAD!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "He's looking at her."
Theatrical Distributor:
Allied Artists Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 28, 1957
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 25, 2018
Synopsis: Lovely Susan Winter organizes an expedition deep into the wilds of Mexico. She hopes to find her aviator fiancé, lost after his plane crashed. Instead, she and her three male companions find behemoth bugs, giant battling lizards, mountains practically glowing with uranium and a 25-foot-tall human beast with a single eye, a melted-cheese-sandwich face and a very scary attitude.

The Cyclops (1954) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Archive Collection
Available on Blu-ray
- September 25, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The Cyclops arrives courtesy of the Warner Archive Collection. The 1.78:1 aspect ratio serves the original film’s release well. Gray levels are solid and whites offer a nice balance in this crisp presentation. Shadows hold their edges and there’s a new depth to the black and white images that is perfect. The sound is presented in a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • • None

Special Features:

Nothing much.

• Theatrical Trailer

The Cyclops (1954) - Blu-ray Review

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