Battle of the Worlds (Italy-1961)


Iíve come to realize that 1960ís Italy was a cornucopia of low budget science fiction, and "Battle of the Worlds" is a fine example.  This film brings us Claude Rains as Professor Benson, an abrasive old hermit who can deduce more about astronomy through blackboard calculus than his peers can through telescopes and computers.  Heís  tactless, self righteous, and downright abusive to the subordinates who must suffer his condescending barbs.  Only the value of his remarkable genius keeps his associate, Professor Cornfield, from showing up to work with a machine gun and a bottle of whiskey and... well, you can guess the rest.
When a rogue planet enters our solar system Professor Benson is the only scientist who doesnít believe that the "outsider" will strike the earth.  Heís partially correct, but to say any more would give away the plot.
The acting is fair, the dubbing is poor, and the sound effects were lifted right out of "Forbidden Planet" - but thereís something charming about the fiery toy rocket special effects and those ill fitting space suits with their wobbly-loose domed helmets. Besides, cranky old Professor Benson looks almost exactly like the lovable character "Doc" from the childrenís television show "Fraggle Rock".
The brave souls who watch all of "Battle of the Worlds" will be rewarded with one of the corniest closing lines in all of moviedom.
"Battle of the Worlds" earns four out of ten stars.