Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

This Island Earth (1955)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

This Island Earth (1955)

In this Technicolored, cerebral 1950's science-fiction film by director Joseph M. Newman, the first interstellar space opera in color, based upon the 1952 novel by Raymond F. Jones - first serialized in the Thrilling Wonder Stories magazine from 1949-1950:

  • in the film's opening, electronics and atomic energy expert and pilot Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason), was rescued from a jet crash on his return flight from Washington, DC to his laboratory at the Ryberg Electronics Corporation in Los Angeles, when his jet plane went out of control; he was saved by a mysterious glowing green light that enveloped the plane and allowed for a safe landing; his assistant Joe Wilson (Robert Nichols) was incredulous: "I know everybody's seeing flying saucers and screwy lights up in the sky. Well, you can put me in the booby hatch, too, because, so help me, I saw this ship turn a bright green up there"
  • Dr. Meacham assembled a complex, experimental 3D television screen (or interociter telecommunications device) from unordered and advanced space-age parts sent from a mysterious company known as Electronic Services; it was a miraculous machine, according to the accompanying manual, as Meacham exclaimed: "There's no limit to what it can do. Laying a four-lane highway at the rate of a mile a minute would be a cinch"; when he turned on the finished machine, a big-foreheaded, white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, benevolent, scientifically-intelligent man named Exeter (Jeff Morrow) appeared on the view-screen; he introduced himself a scientific colleague, and then congratulated Meacham for passing an aptitude test by successfully constructing the interociter: ("You have successfully accomplished your task, Dr. Meacham. You've assembled an Interocitor, a feat of which few men are capable"); he added: "Although I admit at the moment, I do appear immaterial. But no matter"
  • as a top research scientist, the intrigued Meacham immediately accepted an invitation to Exeter's research facility; although there was a dense fog, he was effortlessly transported in a remotely computer-controlled, pilotless transport aircraft (without windows) to the facility; upon arrival in Georgia, he quipped: "I kind of expected Neptune or Mars"; he became acquainted with several other noted scientists from around the world, including Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue) with whom he had a 'summer fling' in Vermont three years earlier with a midnight swim, although she denied her previous association with him; later she reemphasized: "I'm still sorry I wasn't the girl in Vermont," but then admitted they had known each other previously when she began to trust him
  • the international group (called a "club") was instructed to work on a top-secret project as "Peace Engineers" in the laboratory of Exeter's mansion; Exeter described their mission as a "way to put an end to war" - they were to discover a way to produce "limitless amounts of free nuclear energy. More specifically, the conversion of lead into uranium" - in other words, to quickly synthesize or produce new sources of nuclear energy and power

Exeter's Mission: To Put an End To War By Creating Free Nuclear Energy

Exeter's Communication Device or Interociter
  • in a revelatory scene, it was shown that Exeter was an emissary from the dying planet of Metaluna, working under the supervision of the planet's supreme leader the Monitor (Douglas Spencer); Meacham and Adams (and Dr. Steve Carlson (Russell Johnson)) were suspicious that some of the other research experts had already been brainwashed or had their "brain cells rearranged" - similar to a lobotomy: "Renders useless certain areas of the brain. Those areas controlling the power of the will"; however, Exeter was clearly against the Monitor's devious and evil plan to brainwash and eliminate the free will of some of the expert researchers/scientists - and eventually all of the Earthlings - by subjecting them to a non-invasive 'thought transformer' or sun-lamp - he feared it would destroy all of their initiative by making them robotic
  • as the house was ordered to be evacuated for an emergency return to the home planet, three of the scientists (Meacham, Adams, and Carlson) decided to flee from the facility in a vehicle; they were detected and Carlson was killed by a neutrino beam, and the mansion was destroyed; as Meacham and Adams flew off in a single-engine plane, Exeter ensnared their plane in his greenish tractor beam and took them in his flying saucer to his surrealistic doomed planet of Metaluna
  • on the journey, dressed in a silver suit and accompanied by other Metalunians, Exeter explained his real goal was to save his ailing planet with a failing ionization force field layer - the two scientists were to help create a protective defense shield (by converting the dwindling supplies of lead to uranium to provide more power for their weakened 'ionization' force shield) to aid the war-ravaged Metaluna fight against their barbaric enemy planet Zahgon with whom they were engaged in an intergalactic or interstellar war
  • during the trip, Cal and Ruth were required to enter narrow tubes where they were electronically disintegrated and reconstructed - to survive the changing atmospheric pressures of the flight
Placed in Tubes To Be Transformed In Order to Survive Changes in Atmospheric Pressure During the Journey
  • as the flying saucer approached Metaluna, the planet was under constant attack by Zahgon's dart-shaped siege starships that controlled and guided meteors as weapons, that were already beginning to penetrate through Metaluna's defenses; the rocky and barren surface of Metaluna was covered with gaping holes and deep caverns created by exploding meteors; the group was beamed down in a tall green pylon-tower to the planet's interior surface
  • afterwards, it was revealed that the sinister Monitor had evil plans to immediately evacuate Metaluna and relocate to Earth - an invasion to take over the planet; in addition, Earthlings would be brainwashed and 'mind-controlled' to eliminate any free-thinking; Cal confronted the Monitor with the statement: "Our true size is the size of our God!"
  • as Cal and Ruth resisted and tried to escape from being taken to the "Thought Transference Chamber" to be brain-controlled, they were confronted by a hideous, bug-eyed, selectively-bred slave known as a "Mut-Ant" (Regis Parton) (a giant insect with an enlarged, exposed brain) that enforced the Monitor's orders
  • Exeter, who opposed the Monitor's plan and regarded it as immoral, offered to help Cal and Ruth rush back to the flying saucer, as Metaluna lost its ionization layer completely and became entirely vulnerable; an explosion rocked the Monitor's headquarters and killed him; the threesome came across another Mut-Ant guarding the ship; Cal battered the Mut-Ant's head with a fire extinguisher to save Exeter from death
  • as Exeter joined them in the journey back to Earth, he regarded Metaluna's extinction, as it was battered by Zahgon meteors, as curiously beneficial: "Intense heat is turning Metaluna into a radioactive sun. Temperature must be thousands of degrees by now. A lifeless planet. And yet, yet still serving a useful purpose, I hope. Yes, a sun. Warming the surface of some other world. Giving light to those who may need it"
  • unobserved, the Mut-Ant stowed-away in the flying saucer and attacked Ruth as she emerged from her converter tube, but then Cal came to her defense as the Mut-Ant disintegrated due to conversion and pressure variables between Metaluna and Earth
Mut-Ant Attacking Dr. Adams Before Disintegrating
  • after entry into Earth's atmosphere and during their approach to the Pacific coast, the wounded and weakened Exeter let Dr. Meacham and Dr. Adams transfer to their single-engine plane (in the cargo hold) to fly off; he lied to them by claiming: "I'll explore, perhaps find another Metaluna," before he sacrifically committed suicide by ditching his saucer into the ocean

Dr. Meacham's (Rex Reason) Green-Glowing Jet When Landing in Los Angeles

Interociter - Exeter (Jeff Morrow) Appeared on Viewscreen

Dr. Meacham in the Interior of Pilot-Less Airplane to Georgia

Dr. Adams (Faith Domergue)

The Supreme Leader, the Monitor (Douglas Spencer)

Meacham and Adams in Single-Engine Plane Ensnared in Green Beam and Brought Onboard Exeter's Flying Saucer

Captured, Leaving Earth - On Journey in Saucer to Metaluna

Viewing the Approach to Metaluna

Landing On the Planet Metaluna

Final Moments of the Monitor's Life

Mut-Ant Guarding "Thought Transference Chamber"

Exeter's Saucer Ditched Into Pacific


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