director Jack Arnold
What? A 1950’s Jack Arnold sci-fi picture I’d never seen? Sign me up!
Unsurprisingly, the 1958 movie The Space Children is not exactly a hidden gem. It’s a good-looking film and it features the likes of Jackie Coogan and Russell Johnson in character roles, but it’s not quite the likes of It Came from Outer Space (1953), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Tarantula (1955), or The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), but that’s okay. It’s still some strange wonder of 1950’s Cold War paranoia and while no great thing, it’s interesting enough.
At a secretive military base on the California coast where families live with their scientific husbands/fathers, the children find a glowing space brain in a cave that communicates with them telepathically. Turns out that the scientists are launching a warhead of sorts into space, a provocative/protective/proactive part of the arms race and the space race. But this brain from outer space is really against all the violence and dangerous potential in human nuclear warfare and technology.
It grows in size as it prepares itself to destroy the missile, protecting the weak from the violent (Johnson plays a drunken and abusive step-father). Why it communicates with the children? Well, the story isn’t overly well-conceived, so a lot really doesn’t play out in significant or notable ways.
It’s weak stuff, overall, though it did vaguely call to mind the Ivan Tors cautionary flick Gog (1954) that I watched a couple weeks back. Maybe there was a lot of cautionary sci-fi then.