***/**** Image B+ Sound B Extras A+
starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Russell Johnson
screenplay by Harry Essex, based on the story by Ray Bradbury
directed by Jack Arnold
by Walter Chaw The first Universal International science-fiction release, the first motion picture to be shot in 3-D "Nature Vision," and the first genre film to primarily use the theremin in its score (by an unbilled Henry Mancini, Irving Gertz, and Herman Stein), Jack Arnold's It Came From Outer Space is influential in so many ways that it would take twice and again the space allotted for this review to list them all. (A short list includes Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind and his statement to (again unbilled) screenwriter Ray Bradbury that it would not exist without this picture (Dreyfuss's profession in that film pays homage to Russell Johnson's profession in this one); The Abyss and its watery fish-eye point-of-view; and countless "desert" sci-fis, including such recent incarnations as Evolution and the opening sequence of Men In Black.) It Came from Outer Space is a prime example of how nuclear terror and the red scare informed the B-horror films of the Fifties, and that genre movies today would do well to take a few lessons from their predecessors.