The Colossus of New York (1958)
Some titles like the recently viewed Daimajin and this low budget effort are films that it has taken me years to finally see for the first time. I grew up seeing images of them in film history books and magazines like Famous Monsters. While the Japanese film turned out to be one of the better surprises of late, the same can’t be said for this Paramount release from director Eugene Lourie.
I suspect it’s one of those titles that would play much better for me personally if I had seen it years ago and was revisiting it. As we all know films viewed in childhood linger and quite often are forgiven for there shortcomings when we see them as adults.
As it stands we have a Frankenstein like tale here involving brains and a Golem like man of monstrous proportions.
When Pulitzer Prize winner Ross Martin is killed in a vehicle mishap his father (Otto Kruger) who happens to be a brain surgeon and a bit “off his rocker” claims the body and takes it to the family lab. He’s not talking to any of the other members of the household including the widow, Mala Powers, the brother John Baragrey who quickly has his eyes set on the grieving widow and the little boy now in need of a father figure played by Charles Herbert.
Luckily Baragrey happens to be a genius as well and Kruger cajoles him into building a giant robotic man for the still active brain he has stored in a fish aquarium. Kruger’s argument is that his the human race must keep the brains active that belong to the planets smartest men. He wants his son to continue his work for the good of mankind. Naturally there are sure to be complications in that thought process.
Eventually little Charles is going to see a gigantic man lumbering around the property and widow Powers seems to be losing her sanity. Thankfully genre stalwart Robert Hutton is on set to hold her hand. Meanwhile the very Zachary Scott like Baragrey realizes that his brother/monster isn’t too happy with his lusting after Powers. He’s on the run and the Colossus is on the loose with supposed ESP and the ability to fire rays from his robotic “phaser gun” like eyes.
At seventy minutes this is not as fast moving as I suspected though it has the customary overly melodramatic music through out that one would expect from a low budget affair. Down the list of credits the name John P. Fulton jumped out at me and it”s no wonder. He’s the credited FX man on countless classics ranging from the 1933 classic The Invisible Man among many other Universal Monster titles up to Hitchcock titles like Rear Window and Vertigo. One really should check out the list of credits to this multi Oscar winners name.
Leading man Robert Hutton did a slew of monster themed titles including The Slime People, The Vulture, one of my fave guilty pleasures Invisible Invaders though sadly he did turn up in Trog.
This isn’t the first time I have been somewhat disappointed by a film I have long been looking to see but then as a film collector it can finally have a check mark placed beside it and a home on my library shelf.