Friday, July 22, 2011

#91: The Blob

(Irvin S Yeaworth, Jr., 1958)

I last watched The Blob when I was about 13 and just about the only thing I remembered about it was the horrible theme song which runs over the opening credits (and by horrible, I mean awesome). Watching for the second and final time, I was most struck by two things. First of all, the idea that Steve McQueen is still in high school is not a legitimate premise - was this the beginning of the TV trend to cast 45-year-old actors as teenagers, or had that ship already sailed? (I also love that his name in the movie is Steve. Did they at least have a conversation about changing it? Or did they actually change it to Steve when they cast him? Inquiring minds..) Second was the fact that the film had an enormous amount of talking. Like a lot. In fact, most of The Blob could easily be performed as a play with very few rewrites and only minor set changes. In terms of production values, it makes Equinox look like The Rock.

It's astonishing to watch The Blob and think that just fifty years ago this movie was a blockbuster. The lack of action would have had modern-day studio execs killing themselves before their bosses did. How would they deal with all that talking in the overseas markets? The movie's novelty is no longer the amorphous blob that takes over the town before being frozen out (that is, until global warming, chillingly predicted in the film's final moments), but instead the idea that this movie would have ever entered the American mainstream. At least there's a catchy song, right?

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