Phantom from Space
Phantom from Space has nothing to do with ghosts, but does involve an invisible extra terrestrial. According the the very helpful and nearly constant voice over narrator a meteor has fallen off radar tracking and presumably crashed south of Santa Monica, California. Special agents driving Packards with televison antennas mounted on the roof are in hot pursuit and soon they are on the trail of the alien throughout the afternoon, I mean night, i mean…geez, the day for night photography is Ed Wood bad. If the characters didn’t keep saying it was night, who would know. I mean even the colorization artists put blue skies in certain scenes. Anyway, the alien soon ditches with space suit rendering him invisible. One problem he can’t survive long on Earth without his suit and helmet. The invisible E.T. decides to lock himself in a room at an observatory with a beautiful lab assistant (Noreen Nash) to try to tell her what he needs through code. She can’t decipher the code, but does determine that the alien can be seen under ultra violet light. More scientists try to help but the code goes un-decoded as the alien dies and briefly becomes fully visible before disintegrating. Huh? That’s it? Actually that is probably closer to what would actually happen with an E.T./human contact. I mean Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese have nearly insurmountable communication difficulties, I don’t think that creatures from Saturn are going to quickly pick up English. Still it isn’t quite satisfying dramatically. If maybe we knew the alien had the key to world peace or the cure for cancer the ending might have had poignancy but as written the film just stops and feel terribly amateurish. The film is not a total waste and up until the end it was pretty entertaining in a people talking in wood paneled room sort of way. Not a classic, but fun in a Saturday afternoon monster movie sort of way.
Phantom from Space is available in nicely priced edition from Legend Films. The disc boasts a restored black and white print and a newly colorized version. No extras beyond some Legend Films trailers, but with a price point under ten bucks, who needs extras?