Sci-Fi The Colossus of New York (1958)


Jul 9, 2008
North Carolina

Ignore any unfavorable reviews you might read about this unheralded gem. I saw it in 1958 as the first feature at a drive-in, and I shouldn't have bothered to wear socks that night — because this movie just knocked 'em off anyway. :D

Ross Martin plays a renowned scientist and humanitarian with big plans to end world hunger by developing techniques to grow food in desert and polar regions.

He's got a wonderful son and a lovely wife — but he dies in a tragic auto accident, and his father (a famous surgeon) removes Martin's brain so that his other son (an automation expert) can construct a huge robot body which will allow Martin to live and continue his humanitarian research.

Martin's wife and son aren't aware of the bizarre experiment. They both think he's dead.


Trapped in the unfeeling robot body, longing to see his family again, the sanity of the poor man begins to deteriorate, and his former humanitarian nature changes drastically.

He also develops paranormal powers; he can "see" events which occur many miles away and he can kill with deadly rays from his glowing eyes (great special effects by John P. Fulton).


The exciting climax takes place when the robot/man smashes his way into the United Nations building during a meeting of top scientists. Death rays abound.


The death ray effects are the most impressive I've ever seen — and all this in a low budget movie that didn't get released on DVD until 2011!

The robot/man's young son (Charles Herbert) plays a key role in the exciting climax.


Mala Powers is both attractive and effective as Martin's grieving wife.


John Baragrey is superb as the jealous and ill-fated brother who has designs on Mala. Otto Kruger portrays the brilliant, atheistic father who learns a hard lesson about what makes humans act humane.

The robot body (worn by Ed Wolff) is an awesome creation, one of the best robots Hollywood has ever produced. The Colossus of New York was directed by Eugene Lourie, who did Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Gorgo, and The Giant Behemoth.


The screenplay is by Thelma Schnee, based on a story by Willis Goldbeck.

Despite its modest budget, the movie delivers more than its fair share of genuine suspense, as well as being intelligent and thought provoking. The strange and beautiful music score is by Van Cleave, who did The Conquest of Space and The Space Children the latter of which was specifically made by Jack Arnold to serve as a second feature at drive-ins for The Colossus of New York — one of my absolute all-time favorite science fiction films.
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