- A review by Richard Harrison (2020)

Looking back, it's astonishing just how many good sci-fi films were made in the 1950s- a decade that saw Man's fascination with the solar system, the stars and the potential of alien life reach epic proportions. It Came From Outer Space was just one of the many, but it's also as good a place as any to start for those unfamiliar with the genre. The poetic opening- small town America where an unidentified craft lands- is liberally laced with drama and intrigue, which does continue throughout the film. It is almost more about reaction than action , as John Putnam (played by Richard Carlson- a familiar face in movies such as these) is the sole witness to the spaceship's existence, and, therefore, not believed. "This may be the biggest thing that ever happened" Putnam states, which sounds somewhat lame and vague considering the circumstances- but he's written off as a "publicity-seeking astronomer" in any case, though he is trusted by Ellen (Barbara Rush). The idea of trust- and who can be trusted- is central to the film, as Putnam has to convince those around him (including the gung-ho Sheriff Warren) into giving the invaders time, but this (and patience) are running out.

It is interesting that, aside from some genuinely terrifying moments, the film doesn't actually have much in the way of violence- and the aliens have actually come in peace, a marked change from many other sci-fi films made in the 1950s where the aliens are the obvious aggressor, thereby drawing easy parallels to the Communists of Russia. If anything, this pacifist alien 'invasion' makes It Came From Outer Space even more intriguing, as its resolution is less predictable than, say, a film featuring a hostile alien life-form (who are logically dispatched in the final reel so that the Earth shall remain in peace). "It wasn't the right time for us to meet" declares Putnam as the film ends, suggesting that the belief in extra-terrestrial life is ever-present in 1950s sci-fi.

The print on this newly-issued DVD is crisp monochrome, the sound excellent. The cinematography (by the respected Clifford Stine) is superb, and the quality of this print enables the aestheticism of the shots to be seen in all their glory. The extras: a photograph and poster gallery, the theatrical trailer, an original documentary and a feature-length commentary from film historian Tom Weaver. This is colloquial and informative- and packs a wealth of trivia and information into its time. It Came From Outer Space is one of the most respected films in its genre from a very special decade, but it's still nice to see it given such lovely treatment. One can only hope for more releases of this fine quality to descend upon our shop shelves, for that would truly be an invasion worth celebrating.

It Came From Outer Space is available on both DVD and Blu-Ray from Fabulous Films.

Fabulous Films website