The Amazing Colossal Man (also known as The Colossal Man) is a 1957 American black-and-white science fiction film from American International Pictures. Produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon, it stars Glenn Langan, Cathy Downs, William Hudson, and Larry Thor. It is an uncredited adaptation of Homer Eon Flint‘s 1928 short science fiction novel The Nth Man. AIP theatrically released it as a double feature with Cat Girl.
The film’s storyline concerns a U.S. Army Lt. Colonel who survives a plutonium explosion and grows 8 to 10 feet a day, ultimately reaching 60 feet tall, but loses his mind in the process.
During the 1960s, American International Television syndicated the film to television
Jim Nicholson of American International Pictures had the rights to Homer Eon Flint‘s novel The Nth Man (1928), about a man who was 10 miles high. Nicholson thought it could be adapted to cash in on the success of The Incredible Shrinking Man (released six months earlier in 1957) and originally announced Roger Corman as director. Charles B. Griffith was hired to adapt the novel, and he turned it into a comedy. Then Corman dropped out, and Bert I. Gordon was hired. Gordon worked on the script with Griffith, but the collaboration only lasted a day before Griffith quit. Instead, Griffith’s regular writing partner Mark Hanna stepped in.
Before Gordon became involved, the film was conceived with Dick Miller in mind for the lead. It was Gordon’s first film for AIP. Principal photography began late in June 1957. AIP’s special effects technician Paul Blaisdell designed and built all of the tiny-sized props used in the film. These props later appeared again in the film’s 1958 sequel War of the Colossal Beast via flashback footage.
Cat Girl is a 1957 British-American horror film, produced by Herbert Smith and Lou Rusoff, directed by Alfred Shaughnessy, that stars Barbara Shelley, Robert Ayres, and Kay Callard. It was an unofficial remake of Val Lewton‘s Cat People (1942). AIP released Cat Girl on a double bill with their 1957 film The Amazing Colossal Man.
This was the first of two cat-related films starring Barbara Shelley, the other being The Shadow of the Cat (1961).
Leonora Johnson (Barbara Shelley) is a woman who returns to her ancestral home and is told she will inherit money, but also that there is a family curse: being possessed by the spirit of a leopard in spite of her disbelieving psychiatrist Dr. Brian Marlowe (Robert Ayres). After she wishes her husband dead, he is found clawed to death in a park by an animal. An escaped leopard appears to be the culprit, but Leonara is convinced she is transforming into a were-cat. When the leopard is struck and killed by a car, Leonora strangely dies simultaneously.
The film was the first Anglo-U.S. co-production from American International Pictures. They put up $25,000 of the budget and a script by their regular writer Lou Rusoff in exchange for Western Hemisphere rights.
The script was originally entitled Wolf Girl. British director Shaughnessy thought the script about a were-cat was silly, so he rewrote the script to make it more of a psychological thriller wherein the lead character becomes convinced that she is transforming into a monster, but it’s all really just in her mind. When the AIP executives watched the film, they were furious. Sam Arkoff wanted to know “Where is the Cat Monster?”, so they hired special effects artist Paul Blaisdell to create a furry cat mask and claws (in less than 3 days) to splice into the film’s finale for its U.S. release.
Unfortunately, the cameraman shot most of this extra footage slightly out of focus, making it look really shoddy in Paul Blaisdell’s opinion. Blaisdell also was disappointed at how little footage of his cat mask actually wound up in the finished film (the shots comprised only a matter of seconds). Blaisdell took the mask and claws home with him afterwards, and used them to make some home movies with his friend Bob Burns at Blaisdell’s Topanga Canyon home. The cat mask wound up being one of the “props” that got destroyed in the fiery climax of AIP’s How to Make a Monster (1958 film).
here’s a vintage AIP TV sci-fi double feature for you! black & white, mono, fullscreen. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!