A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema

By Charles P. Mitchell | Go to book overview

Kronos (1957)

Rating: *** Threat: Alien device

Twentieth Century Fox. Written by Lawrence L. Goldman & Jack Rabin based on a story by Irving Block; Photographed by Karl Struss; Special effects by living Block, Louis DeWitt, William Reinhold, Gene Warren, Menrad von Mulldorfer & Jack Rabin; Edited by Jodie Copelan; Music by Paul Sawtell & Bert Shefter; Produced & directed by Kurt Neumann. B & W, 78 minutes.


ANNOTATED CAST LIST

Jeff Morrow (Dr. Leslie Gaskell, astronomer at Lab Central); Barbara Lawrence (Vera Hunter, his assistant and girlfriend); John Emery (Dr. Hubbell Eliot, head of Lab Central); George O'Hanlon (Dr. Arnie Culver, computer expert); Morris Ankrum (Dr. Albert Stern, neuropsychiatrist treating Eliot); Marjorie Stapp (Eliot's nurse); Kenneth Alton (Sam McCrary, truck driver possessed by an alien); John Parrish (Gen. Perry, officer in charge of Kronos crisis); Jose Gonzales Gonzales (Manuel Ramirez, fisherman hosting the science team in Mexico); Robert Shayne (air force general); Robert Forrest (television newscaster); Richard Harrison (pilot); Don Eitner (military meteorologist); John Halloran (Lab Central security guard).


SYNOPSIS

An imaginative, low-budget feature, Kronos is a textbook example of 1950s science fiction. The production makes the most of its small resources. Of course, the special effects are primitive, mostly accomplished by a combination of drawn animation synthesized with models. Its story has a number of fresh concepts and can be appreciated by both a juvenile and an adult audience. When watched on television, Kronos is less impressive unless viewed in the letterbox format, which adds considerably to the film's impact. In the traditional television print, for example, the newspaper headlines are truncated so “ASTEROID HEADING FOR EARTH” comes out as “OID HEADING FOR E.”

The picture opens as a five-mile-wide, saucer-shaped spaceship approaches Earth. A small, glowing ball emerges from the ship and heads toward the planet. Truck driver Sam McCrary is driving down a desert road, whistling along with “Something's Got to Give” on his radio. His motor seems to stall, and as he inspects it, the glowing ball enters his head and possesses him. He is able to start the truck and heads to Lab Central, a restricted secret base. McCrary breaks in and goes to the office of the director, Hubbell Eliot. The luminous entity flashes into the body of Eliot, and the truck driver crumples to the floor. Security men cart the dead body away, and Eliot starts to examine his restricted files.

Elsewhere at Lab Central, Dr. Leslie Gaskell is plotting the course of asteroid

-88-

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A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Overview: Cinematic Visions of the Apocalypse xi
  • A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema: Fifty Films in Depth 1
  • The 27th Day (1957) 3
  • Armageddon (1998) 10
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) 17
  • Crack in the World (1965) 22
  • The Dawn of the Dead (1978) 27
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) 33
  • The Day the Sky Exploded (1958/61) 40
  • Day the World Ended (1956) 44
  • Deep Impact (1998) 48
  • Deluge (1933) 54
  • Doomsday Machine (1967/72) 59
  • Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) 63
  • The End of the World (1930/34) 70
  • Five (1951) 74
  • Holocaust 2000 (1978) 78
  • The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) 83
  • Kronos (1957) 88
  • The Last Man on Earth (1964) 93
  • The Last War (1961) 98
  • The Last Wave (1977) 103
  • The Last Woman on Earth (1960) 108
  • Lifeforce (1985) 112
  • The Lost Missile (1958) 117
  • The Magnetic Monster (1953) 122
  • The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936) 127
  • Mars Attacks! (1996) 133
  • Meteor (1979) 139
  • Moonraker (1979) 145
  • The Night the World Exploded (1957) 152
  • Noah's Ark (1929) 157
  • No Blade of Grass (1970) 162
  • No Survivors Please (1964) 168
  • One Night Stand (1984) 172
  • On the Beach (1959) 177
  • Quiet Earth (1985) 184
  • Robot Monster (1953) 189
  • Runestone (1991) 194
  • The Satan Bug (1965) 199
  • The Seventh Sign (1988) 205
  • Solar Crisis (1990) 210
  • Star Trek—the Motion Picture (1978) 214
  • Target Earth (1953) 221
  • Them! (1954) 226
  • Virus (1980) 231
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) 238
  • The War of the Worlds (1953) 243
  • When Worlds Collide (1951) 249
  • Where Have All the People Gone? (1974) 255
  • The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) 259
  • Zarkorr the Invader (1996) 265
  • Appendices 269
  • Appendix A 271
  • Appendix B 279
  • Appendix C 283
  • Index 285
  • About the Author 311
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