The Giant Claw (1957)

73 or 75 mins | Science fiction | June 1957

Director:

Fred F. Sears

Producer:

Sam Katzman

Cinematographer:

Benjamin Kline

Production Designer:

Paul Palmentola

Production Company:

Clover Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Mark of the Claw . The picture opens with voice-over narration describing the importance of radar as a national security defense to detect "objects in the sky." The narration then continues intermittently throughout the film. According to a Jan 1957 HR news item, location filming was done in Mexico City, ... More Less

The working title of this film was Mark of the Claw . The picture opens with voice-over narration describing the importance of radar as a national security defense to detect "objects in the sky." The narration then continues intermittently throughout the film. According to a Jan 1957 HR news item, location filming was done in Mexico City, Mexico. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Jul 1957.
---
Daily Variety
19 Jun 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Jun 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Sep 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 1957
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 1957
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 57
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Jun 57
p. 426.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Tech eff created by
Tech eff created by
2d unit spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Mark of the Claw
Release Date:
June 1957
Production Date:
11 Feb--20 Feb 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1957
Copyright Number:
LP9002
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
73 or 75
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At the North Pole, civil aeronautics engineer Mitch MacAfee calibrates a new radar facility being installed. While conducting a test flight to gauge the capability of the radar, Mitch spots an unidentified flying object the “size of a battleship.” Although the radar fails to detects the presence of the UFO, Mitch sounds an alert, prompting the Air Force to dispatch three planes to investigate the incident. When one of the aircraft and its pilot is lost, Maj. Bergen, the base commander, blames their loss on Mitch’s “false alarm” until word comes that a commercial flight disappeared soon after its pilot reported a UFO. With the installation complete, Mitch and Sally Caldwell, a mathematician on the project, fly back to New York. When their plane is attacked by a UFO, the pilot is killed and the engines burst into flames, forcing Mitch to land the crippled aircraft in an open field. After pulling the pilot’s body from the craft, Mitch and Sally watch as the plane explodes. They are rescued by French-Canadian farmer Pierre Broussard, who takes them to his cabin where Air Force general Van Buskirk contacts Mitch. Although the general is skeptical about Mitch’s report, he agrees to send a team to investigate. That night, as the wind howls and lightening crackles, Pierre ventures outside to calm his animals. Hearing screams, Mitch and Sally hurry to his side and Pierre, terrified, claims that he was attacked by a monstrous apparition. Soon after, the police come to escort Sally and Mitch to a plane sent to pick them up. On the flight to New York, Sally ... +


At the North Pole, civil aeronautics engineer Mitch MacAfee calibrates a new radar facility being installed. While conducting a test flight to gauge the capability of the radar, Mitch spots an unidentified flying object the “size of a battleship.” Although the radar fails to detects the presence of the UFO, Mitch sounds an alert, prompting the Air Force to dispatch three planes to investigate the incident. When one of the aircraft and its pilot is lost, Maj. Bergen, the base commander, blames their loss on Mitch’s “false alarm” until word comes that a commercial flight disappeared soon after its pilot reported a UFO. With the installation complete, Mitch and Sally Caldwell, a mathematician on the project, fly back to New York. When their plane is attacked by a UFO, the pilot is killed and the engines burst into flames, forcing Mitch to land the crippled aircraft in an open field. After pulling the pilot’s body from the craft, Mitch and Sally watch as the plane explodes. They are rescued by French-Canadian farmer Pierre Broussard, who takes them to his cabin where Air Force general Van Buskirk contacts Mitch. Although the general is skeptical about Mitch’s report, he agrees to send a team to investigate. That night, as the wind howls and lightening crackles, Pierre ventures outside to calm his animals. Hearing screams, Mitch and Sally hurry to his side and Pierre, terrified, claims that he was attacked by a monstrous apparition. Soon after, the police come to escort Sally and Mitch to a plane sent to pick them up. On the flight to New York, Sally and Mitch are affectionately bickering with each other when Mitch suddenly recognizes a pattern in the sightings of the creature. The next day, as members of the Civil Aeronautics Board fly to investigate the crash, their plane is attacked by a giant bird. When the passengers parachute out of the craft, the bird gobbles them up as they float by. Alarmed by the report of the airplane's panicked pilot, Van Buskirk sends for Mitch and Sally. At their meeting, Sally suggests checking the cameras housed in observation balloons to see if they might have photographed the bird. When the film strips clearly reveal a flying creature, the general classifies the project as top secret and puts his troops on combat alert. Mitch, Sally and Van Buskirk then fly to Washington, D.C. to report their findings to Lt. Gen. Edward Considine. Considine orders the bird shot down, but even the most advanced weapons are useless against the creature. Government scientist Dr. Karol Noymann, who has been studying the wreckage of the planes in his lab, reports that the bird radiates an invisible barrier of anti-matter, thus preventing its detection by radar and destruction by conventional weapons. The doctor concludes that the bird must be an extra-terrestrial from an anti-matter galaxy. Soon after, the bird begins to strafe the ground, igniting a worldwide panic. Several days later, as Mitch struggles to formulate a plan to destroy the creature, Sally deduces that the bird must have landed at Pierre’s farm to build a nest. As Sally and Mitch ready to fly to the farm, Considine announces that atomic weapons have proven ineffective against the creature and he is therefore declaring a state of emergency and instituting martial law and a dusk-to-dawn curfew. At the farm, Pierre, Sally and Mitch locate the nest and discover that it holds a single egg. After Pierre flees in fright, Sally and Mitch shoot holes into the egg with their rifles. Infuriated, the bird attacks and kills Pierre. Upon returning to Washington, Mitch devises a plan to bombard the bird’s shield with a rare atom. Because few of the atoms exist, Mitch, Sally and Noymann race to develop a large enough quantity to penetrate the anti-matter shield. As experiment after experiment fails, worldwide panic intensifies. One day, Mitch experiences a breakthrough, creating an explosion in the lab that proves his apparatus works. As they are wiring the device onto the tail of a plane, word comes that the bird has attacked New York. The plane immediately takes off, and as Mitch completes the installation of his device, the bird topples the Empire State Building, then targets the United Nations. Upon reaching New York City, Mitch's plane attracts the bird’s attention. Just as the bird closes in on the craft, Mitch fires his weapon, destroying the bird’s protective shield. Rockets then shoot down the creature, sending it to its death in the East River. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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