Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

50ftwoman00On TCM, the intro by Ben Mankiewicz points out that the movie cost less than $100,000 and was shot in a week.  He gleefully points out some of the shortcomings. Fine, they did the best they could.

We open with a newscast report sightings of a UFO in the Barents Sea, Cairo, Capetown South Africa and leaving Aukland NZ travelling northeast.  Using a globe that looks like the one I had as a kid that had a pencil sharpener in it, he estimates that it will reach California in just a few minutes.

Strangely, he seems to be in California, however his station KRKR is an actual station, located in Nebraska.

Shrewish heiress Nancy Archer is getting her kicks on Route 66 when she sees a huge sphere descend onto the road.  The car stalls and she takes off on foot as a giant hairy-knuckled hand makes a grab for her.  Meanwhile, her husband Harry is getting pretty handy himself with floozy Honey Parker in the local malt shop.  They are talking about how they can get their hands on Nancy’s fortune — that stay in “the booby hatch” might be the ticket.  Hmmmm, if only she made some outrageous hysterical claim.

She hoofs it back to town and tells the police the story of the 30 foot giant.  Harry blatantly slips the deputy a fiver to keep his whereabouts quiet while the police go to look for the giant.  They find Nancy’s car, but nothing in an extra large.

Back at Casa de Archer, Nancy warns Harry to stay from Honey.  She tries to tell him about the giant, how she could feel his hand on her throat, and that maybe he was after her diamond.  He carries her up to bed, and gives her a sleeping pill.

The next day on the news, Nancy hears a story describing her encounter with a “satellite” and its 30-foot inhabitant.  “Was he pink with big ears and tusks,” the impertinent newscaster asks.  After he mocks her rocky marriage, she hurls a scotch bottle glass through the TV (tellingly, not the half-finished cocktail glass already in her hand).  Half-full kind of gal, that Nancy.

She insists that Harry get his gun and take her to the desert to find the giant.  After hours of driving around, they do find the “satellite.”  Nancy gets out of the car and runs to it.   A bald giant starts pawing at Nancy.  Harry fires a few shots to no effect, then gets in the car and abandons Nancy to the hairy-knuckled brute.


Obligatory scale-establishing powerline shot

Harry returns to their home to pack a bag.  When the butler demands to know where Mrs. Archer is, Harry belts him, and they have a pretty well choreographed fight.  It ends abruptly with Harry grabbing yet another whiskey bottle — clearly the weapon of choice in the Archer home — and braining Jeeves with it.  He meets Honey at her hotel, but the deputy hauls them both in.

Mrs. Archer is found mysteriously at home.  When Harry tries to give her a fatal overdose of her medication, the nurse switches on the light and catches him.  She shrieks when she sees Nancy’s gigantic hand, and presumably proportionately gigantic body.  Not having a 7,000 gallon whiskey bottle to clock her with, Harry backs away.  How the rest of this enormous woman is able to fit in the bedroom is unexplained.

The doctor places an order to Acme Medical Supplies which oddly enough stocks meat-hooks, chains, block & tackle and an elephant syringe.

After finding some giant footprints, the sheriff inexplicably sends the deputy to the office to man the phones, and drafts Jeeves into service to find the giant.  They locate the “satellite” and are able to enter it.  Oddly, the interior, heavy on pegboard and thick with smoke, is scaled to accommodate a normal sized man.

In a scene reveled in by Ben Mankiewicz and IMDb, the giant grabs their car throws a completely different model of car to the ground.  To which, I say shut up.

Nancy wakens from her coma and begins screaming for Harry.  She bursts through the roof, raining debris upon her doctors.  “I know where my husband is!” she bellows.  In this scene, she also reveals a luscious mane of hair as opposed to the effect of gigantism on men, which is to make them bald.

Nancy, in a true 1st-wife move, pulls Harry out of the malt shop and kills Honey.  She makes the obligatory giant move towards the power lines and is killed.

Despite taking almost an hour for the 50-foot woman to appear, this is highly recommendatable.


  • Satellite.  They keep using that word.  I do not think it means what they think it means.
  • The newscaster helpfully notes that it must have been a Boer in South Africa that made the sighting.  Perhaps because it was reported as a UFO and not a MOFO.
  • Yvette Vickers (Honey Parker) was Miss July 1959 in Playboy, photographed by Russ Meyer.  Sadly, when she died, her body remained undiscovered in her home for a year, leaving her mummified.
  • Writer Mark Hanna also wrote the screenplay for The Amazing Colossal Man released one year earlier.  You want to make a movie about giant people, he’s your guy.  Or was until 2003.
  • Director Nathan Juran also directed 5 episodes of Land of the Giants.
  • OK, I’m no better than Ben Makiewicz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.