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.