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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross

Attack of the 50ft. Woman

It’s a legendary movie with a title that has become a part of Americana. It’s been remade, parodied, and referenced numerous times in pop culture. “Attack of the 50ft. Woman” is an infamous 1958 B-movie. Made for about $88,000 and making almost $500,000 at the box office, the film was a huge hit and part of a series of “humans changing size” movies of the time that included “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “The Incredible Shrinking Man.”

“Attack of the 50ft. Woman” is about, well, a 50-foot woman. Sure, it has all the trappings of a shlock film, and I won’t lie there are some elements of kitsch here, yet looking at the movie with modern eyes there is some commentary going on that is deeper than its exploitive title would have you believe. Wealthy Nancy Archer (Allison Hays) has a history of mental illness and alcohol abuse.

Her husband is a pretty worthless man, who is openly cheating on her with a local bombshell (Yvette Vickers) who can’t wait to see his wife dead so she can fully move in. The local police are corrupt and go along with whatever Mr. Archer says, and there's even gaslighting to aid in Mrs. Archer’s mental breakdown. Everyone believes she’s due for another visit to a mental ward after she claims to have seen a spaceship and a giant alien.

These are all real, the alien is after her impressive diamond to fuel his spaceship, and a chance encounter with the giant to prove to her doubting husband he is real leaves her full of strange alien energy that soon begins to transform her into our giant title “monster.” Even the town’s doctor doesn’t know what to do other than keep her drugged with morphine, or he just doesn’t really care or believe her either.

She isn’t a monster, as frankly, everyone she takes her revenge on deserves it. At a breezy 66 minutes “Attack of the 50ft. Woman” is a hell of a good time, it’s a legendary movie for a reason, and it’s hard to not enjoy a giant fake hand picking up that awful husband and carrying him towards his doom. A favorite of mine to watch every Halloween, I am beyond delighted that Warner Archive is giving us all a gift this festive season in a new, long waited, blu-ray edition of the film.

Warner Brothers first released “Attack of the 50ft. Woman” on DVD in 2007 as part of a collection called “Cult Camp Classics” along with “Queen of Outer Space” and “The Giant Behemoth.” Those two films have been released on blu-ray a few years ago by Warner Archive, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the marquee title of that set to get the same treatment.

The results do not disappoint. Mastered from the 35mm negative this new HD transfer of the film is something. The movie is very sharp, with lots of fine detail that have long been lost coming out in the image. The black and white is crisp and rich and the film has never looked better on home video. I was particularly impressed by the “sheen” in some of the 1950s slick hairstyles that come across on this disc.

The very good extras from that 2007 disc have also been carried over, which includes a theatrical trailer, and a wonderful commentary track by historian Tom Weaver, who is joined by the now-late Yvette Vickers. It’s a very engaging track, with lots of great info on the making of the movie and Ms. Vickers is very happy to be there talking about her most famous film role.

I’ve been waiting a long time for Warner Archive to put this one out on blu-ray, and now that it’s here I’m so happy to say it lives up to the high standards we’ve come to expect from them. This disc is a must-own for the 1950s B movie film buff, and honestly, I’d say anyone should have it in their collection. See you next week.


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