Baker’s Log – A Quick Look: 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

20 Million Miles to Earth

In addition to some nifty crime thrillers (and a ton of westerns), Columbia also offered up some pretty cool science fiction/monster pictures in the 50’s. 1957’s 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, starring William Hopper and Joan Taylor (pictured above), is one of the most famous, and considered by many to be animator Ray Harryhausen’s master work of the black and white era (of which this would be the last). The story concerns an astronaut who returns to Earth with a sample of Venusian animal life in a sealed container. When a small boy discovers the container after the rocket crashes into the sea, an ever-growing dinosaur-like creature is unleashed upon the world.

Ultimately, the adventure ends up in Rome. William Hopper is the courageous astronaut, who the same year would find himself facing THE DEADLY MANTIS over at Universal International. Harryhausen’s monster (known as the Ymir, though the word is never spoken in the film) was reportedly his favorite character and puppet. The creature possesses almost no malice, but it keeps getting poked and shot and cornered into attacking. One of the most unique movie monsters of the atomic age, and the Roman setting adds some international spice. (Speaking of Rome, lovers of unusual movies should check out 2015’s RISEN. It approaches the Resurrection of the Christ from the Roman perspective, played like a detective story. Very impressive, and worth a look.)

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Rock is a pencil jockey by trade. He's done work for AC Comics, Main Enterprises, and Moonstone, among others. Some of the strips he's created include Dinosaur Girl (AC Comics, creator, writer, pencils), Crissy Carrots (Main, creator, writer, pencils), and Betsy the Bookwriter (Main, co-creator, writer, pencils). His specialty is cheesecake cartooning (what they call "good girl art" these days).

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