Unearthly Stranger (1964) | A Brief Encounter of the British sci-fi noir kind

Unearthly Stranger (1964)

The terrifying story of Project TP9!
Scientists working on a secret space project start dying in strange circumstances. Top British boffin Dr Mark Davidson (John Neville) is called in to take charge while an internal investigation gets underway. Falling under suspicion is Mark’s new bride Julie (Gabriella Licudi), who turns out to be an alien tasked with killing Mark. Only problem is, Julie really is in love with Mark!

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Terrifying – Weird… Macabre! Unseen things out of Time and Space!
An atmospheric fusion of sci-fi, thriller and romance, Unearthly Stranger, directed by John Krish, is a quietly effective British B-movie that effectively reverses the roles of 1958’s I Married a Monster from Outer Space. Scripted by The Brain That Wouldn’t Die scribe Rex Carlton, this Brief Encounter of the alien kind as a strong air of The Third Man-styled film noir about it, and this is brought to moody monochrome life by cinematographer Reg (Night of the Eagle, Island of Terror) Wyer,  who makes effective use of the London locations, particularly the Shell Centre on the South Bank (which stands in for the space research facility).

John Neville, best known for his star turn in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), is the distraught scientist telling his unnerving tale in flashback, while Gabriella Licudi (who also appeared in Don Levy’s cult 1967 film Herostratus), plays the unblinking alien whose vain attempts at earthly love causes her to shed tears of acid. Providing comic relief is portly actor Patrick Newell as the gruff cigar-puffing Major handling the internal investigation. Newell famously appeared as Mother in TV’s The Avengers, while director Krish would go on to helm three episodes of the cult series in 1967. Watch out for Jean Marsh as Neville’s secretary and Warren Mitchell who dies in the opening scenes.

Unearthly Stranger is presented on Region B Blu-ray (and Region 2 DVD) in a brand-new high definition transfer from the original film elements, in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio, as part of Network’s The British Film collection. This is a fine transfer (so much so you can see the tiny hairs on actor Philip Stone’s bald head), while some of the original source has some grain, but not so much to spoil your enjoyment of this British B. A theatrical trailer, image gallery and promotional material (in pdf form) are also included.

Why not share your thoughts on this release by tweeting using the hashtag #TheBritishFilm or by leaving a comment on Network’s Facebook page at facebook.com/TheBritishFilm



About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on November 12, 2014, in British Film, Might See, Might-See, Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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