The UK’s 1956 answer to Destination Moon is visually impressive, but marred by a tedious script and uninspired direction. But it does offer a chance to see Lois Maxwell before her Miss Moneypenny fame, and Thespian Donald Wolfit in a space suit. 5/10
A Russian scientist has three months to live after falling victim for strange radiation from the bottom of the sea in this maritime 1956 Soviet SF. For friends of low-key hard SF, this sympathetic submarine effort is well worth a watch. 7/10
A company offers “time trips” 25 years into the future through the science of time dilation in space. It’s a passable entertainment romp, but this French 1942 comedy fails to make anything interesting out of the intriguing premise. 5/10
The gravity from a passing “dead star” pulls a small British village into space in this 1934 comedy. Class tensions and romantic rivalry come to the fore as the villagers try to adapt to their new roles as inhabitants of Earth’s newest moon. 4/10
Jules Verne meets James Bond in this 1957 Soviet spy-fi film. The two-part colour movie concerns the hunt for spy aboard a Russian super-submarine. It’s not bad, but at 145 minutes it’s simply too long and sluggish for its own good. 5/10
The third and final Gill-man film from 1956 toys with interesting fish-out-of-water themes. Despite competent direction and good acting, the low budget and aimless script fail to give this movie buoyance. 5/10
Much of the heritage in SF movies comes from non-English language films from the first half of the 20th century, many of which are largely unknown to an English-speaking audience today. Here we list the 25 greatest non-English language science fiction movies made prior to 1950. How many have you seen?
The first US time machine film from 1956 is a fun but clunky Technicolor adventure. Astronauts accidentally travel 500 years into the future, where the meek, pacifist human survivors hide from barbaric mutants in an underground civilisation. 5/10
The famous 1925 adaptation of H. Rider Haggard’s novel is best remembered for Betty Blythe’s varied states of undress. While UFA provides handsome set pieces, the British production falters in the directing and cinematography departments. 3/10
Percy Stow was one of the pioneers of British trick films, and often took on science fiction subjects in his short films made between 1901 and 1915. In these he showcased high technical quality and a touch of originality.
A treat for so-bad-they’re-good movie fans, this 1955 clunker from ARC/AIP takes place almost exclusively on a California beach where FBI agents hunt movie history’s most incompetent spy and a radioactive sea monster. 1/10
a star cast, this 1954 Disney blockbuster is regularly seen as the best Jules Verne adaptation of all time. Shot in majestic Technicolor, it is a magnificent adventure film with groundbreaking special effects, despite a so-so script. 8/10
The film that kickstarted B-movie legend Roger Corman’s career in 1954 is a surprisingly well-made no-budget schlocker about a young woman investigating claims of a sea monster off the coast of Mexico. 5/10
Universal’s 1954 aquatic take on King Kong inspired an entire subgenre. Jack Arnold superbly directs this atmospheric story of an Amazon expedition in search of a prehistoric monster merman. But the clichéd script is the real missing link here. 7/10
Villains thwart a scientific expedition to a lost city rising out of the sea, and a damsel is distressed by lava quicksand and giant crab monsters. The valiant cast battles a thin, juvenile script, cramped sets and a low budget. 3/10