Thursday, September 1, 2011

Magnetic Monster (1953)


Never heard of this film, but managed to catch it on TCM the other night. I wasn’t expecting too much more than some fun ’50s style sci-fi hokum. Turns out this little movie was trying for something a bit more.


Dr. Jeffrey Stewart (Richard Carlson) and his partner Dr. Forbes (King Donovan) are sent to investigate a strange case of magnetism at a local hardware store. After messing with the employees and throwing metal objects around they finally go into the loft above the store and discover large amounts of radiation and a dead man. They perform some detective work and trace back the source of the radiation to a new and highly unstable radioactive element. The two must work against the clock to determine this elements properties and figure out a way to stabilizes it before it destroys the world.

Good Points:

  • Mixes plenty of science in with the fiction
  • Moves at a pretty good pace
  • The finale set piece is pretty intense

Bad Points:

  • Seen that before? Sure. Lots of stock footage
  • Earnestly and seriously ‘50s
  • A bit on the talky side


What a fun surprise this was. Sticking with the science the film crafts a good story with plenty of tension. The use of stock footage from other films is handled well with some creative editing. While the movie is dialogue heavy, it never really loses it’s pacing. Fans of ’50s sci-fi flicks will enjoy this one quite a bit.

Scores (out of 5)

Visuals: 3

Sound: 3

Acting: 3

Script: 4

Music: 3

Direction: 4

Entertainment: 4

Total: 3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. Wow, I somehow missed this one while growing up. Since my power at home has been out all week (Irene) I haven't been cruising TCM either. It sounds fun.

    The manufacture of new elements was still a fairly new notion in 53, of course. A small amount of plutonium was created in 1940, but this was under most people's radar until 1945. Heinlein took notice right away and used them in several short stories though. SF is usually first on the scene with such things.

  2. Definitely check this out. I caught it on TCM back in June. It was part of their "drive-in"movie features on Thursdays. It had a nice double bill with "The H Man".