The Deadly Mantis (1957) – Film

“The Deadly Mantis”

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When mysterious attacks on military outposts at the DEW line occur then happen farther and farther south heading for New York and Washington DC.   Col. Joe Parkman recruits the help of paleontologist, Ned Jackson and museum magazine reporter, Marge Blaine to identify and defeat this menace.

This late Golden Age gem features a lot of stock  footage which helps give an understanding of U.S. defenses  at that time, as well as giving the film a feel of world encompassing menace.  Unfortunately, it also slows the pace of the movie.  The story is interesting enough, though strongly military.  A prehistoric, giant preying mantis, trapped in suspended animation, is suddenly freed from an ice burg in the Arctic and goes on a search for food.  There is nice chemistry among the cast, especially the banter between Marge and Ned.  The romance between Marge and Joe is a little stiff, though, even for the period.  The creature effects are good, a very small amount of actual gore early in the film (which I was surprised to see), effective use of light and fog in the scenes with the mantis.  The sound effects and soundtrack are wonderfully suspenseful, even thrilling.

I gave this classic flick 2 1/2 glasses of wine, because while the film was good, I felt over use of the stock footage slowed the action without contributing enough to the story.

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