The Giant Claw (1957)

Genres - Horror, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Alien Film, Creature Film  |   Release Date - Jun 1, 1957 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 76 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The Giant Claw has a terrible reputation that isn't entirely deserved -- to be sure, producer Sam Katzman opted for the cheapest, worst-looking monster that one could imagine, a ridiculous-looking giant bird puppet that makes the movie seem ludicrous. But except for those moments when the title monster is on the screen, the movie isn't bad -- so for the first 27 minutes, until it appears for the first time and evokes its first rounds of laughter, the picture is working just fine within the confines of its budget, script, and cast. Jeff Morrow is the best thing in the picture and he's good enough and charismatic enough to carry the movie whenever the monster isn't on screen; and Mara Corday -- always a delight to the eye -- is serious enough in her role of a systems analyst (and is this the first time that the latter term was ever used in a feature film?) to make her scenes worth seeing as well. Morris Ankrum and Robert Shayne also have a great time chewing the scenery whenever they're on screen, in some of their respective broadest work. Otherwise, the movie holds up surprisingly well in the editing and effects departments -- apart from the giant bird itself -- but that's not entirely a surprise, given that the best of the special effects and second-unit footage is lifted from the much-superior Ray Harryhausen-designed (and Sam Katzman-produced) Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers.