The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) – Bert I. Gordon

The stories of atomic mutation continue as I delve deeper into DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies. This one ends up being a rather bland tale, as it doesn’t really try to do a character piece, but it definitely doesn’t have any action set pieces. It’s more of a point to point narrative that tries to make things seem terrible, as opposed to allowing the characters and their actions demonstrate that.

It starts out well enough, a nuclear test is underway, and a civilian plane crash lands in the test site, and Lt. Col Glenn Manning (Glenn Langan) races to the wreckage despite the impending explosion (which didn’t go off when it was supposed to). As luck and the really haphazard script would have it, the explosion happens when Manning is at his most exposed, and the clothes appear to be literally blown off of his body.

Somehow, he survives, and is delivered to the military hospital with burns over 90% of his body. Nothing is said of the pilot he went to rescue. While his fiancee, Carol (Cathy Downs) paces and worries, something untoward happens.

When his bandages are removed there are no burns, Manning is miraculously healed, though he now seems to be completely hairless, but for his eyebrows. But this is only the beginning, and despite Carol’s desire to be with the man she loves, she is separated from him as Manning is sequestered…


It seems he’s grown larger and larger, seemingly unstoppably. This could be a bit of a great character study, and there are moments when Manning seems to be introspective and hints at a little more, but it ends up just being fairly routine, I’ma freak, I’m a monster rant.

Strangely, even as he grows bigger, there is one organ that isn’t keeping pace with the accelerated growth that seems to be affecting every other part of his body. Manning’s heart isn’t growing at the same rate, consequently less blood flow, consequently increasingly aggressive and impulsive behaviour as not enough blood is getting to his brain to facilitate intelligent thought.

He soon escapes his bonds, and heads to Vegas, because who wouldn’t? And it is at Hoover Dam that he will have a final confrontation with Carol, the army, and his own existence!

It’s goofy, silly, has some nice model work for Langan to interact with, and some half way decent visual effects for the time. But nothing can save the story, there’s no big explosions, there’s no set pieces. There’s more going on in the poster than the movie, and that was probably the plan anyway, separating young matinee-goers from their pocket change with the promise of an exciting tale.

And whether it succeeded it enough, and despite the way the film ends, we were delivered a sequel, which is coming up on the blog in the near future.

Pick up a copy of DK Books’ enjoyable Monsters in the Movies and enjoy it with me. Find something else truly monstrous to watch!




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