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Teenage lovebirds Steve (Steven McQueen) and Jane (Aneta Corseaut) are out necking in Steve's car when a meteorite soars across the night sky. It lands nearby but when Steve tries to locate it he almost runs over an old man who is screaming in pain. The man was first to find the fallen sphere but when it cracks open a slimy gel-like goo latches onto his arm. Steve rushes the victim to a doctor but the old man is quickly consumed by the jelly monster which then devours the doctor. With each feast of flesh The Blob grows larger and seems impervious to everything that man can throw at it. Humanity is in peril unless The Blob is destroyed.

Review by Keith Lofthouse:
"Beware of The Blob; it creeps and leaps, and glides, and slides across the floor." These are the words of the cult sci-fi pic's surprising hit song, written by Mack David and Burt Bacharach who, of course, went onto better tunes. So too did McQueen (billed here as "Steven" for the last time), at 28 in his first starring role, playing a teenager not all that convincingly but still aglow with that mysterious and unmistakable presence.

With a face that someone else said was "like a cross between a Botticelli angel and a chimp," McQueen signed for the film after he "bumped into" the director while out walking his dog. Part funded by Philadelphia Methodists using cast and extras recruited from the church, The Blob was shot on a shoestring budget of $120,000 but when it was "picked up" by Paramount to support its own horror quickie, I Married A Monster From Outer Space on a double-bill it became an unexpected hit.

Producer Jack H. Harris cashed in on 1950s sci-fi fever and cleverly twisted a trend in depicting youth of the day to be delinquent and troubled by showing his teens to be heroic and resourceful. Of course, no-one believes the kids when they report the goo monster to the cops...the dead doctor, they say, is out of town; the dead nurse...well, no one seems to miss her at all. Soon the red menace (at least one critic tried to insinuate "rampant commie phobia" as a political subtext) is chomping at terrified teens trapped in a supermarket and, in a tricky piece of irony, attacks patrons at the local cinema's midnight spook show, turning bright red from all the human blood it consumes.

Looking as crisp and as clean on DVD as it did when The Blob first lobbed at the drive-in, the effects a generation before CGI are of course archaic, so that when the slime oozes over the Downingtown diner it rather looks like raspberry jam smeared on a postcard. Of those in the cast, only McQueen enjoyed a substantial career afterwards although Corseaut popped up in TV's Andy Griffith Show (1964-67) as Andy's girlfriend, Helen Crump. The generous Special Features bundle includes a self-congratulatory commentary by Harris which is mildly critical of McQueen as a "bad boy kid who had to show off all the time."

McQueen was as difficult then as he was for most of his career and he would often disparage his modest start in films but when he died a virtual recluse in 1980 his bedroom walls were bare except for a single poster from The Blob. Harris recalls how he once chided McQueen at a supermarket checkout when he overlooked "Blobby" while reeling off a list of credits to an inquisitive checker. "It's not Othello," the actor snapped...but it's definitely more fun and (beware the spoiler) it's infinitely more topical. "At least we got it stopped!" says a cop, at last. "Yeah," says Steve, "as long as the Arctic stays cold."

Published April 21, 2005

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(US, 1958)

CAST: Steven McQueen, Aneta Corseaut, Earl Rowe

DIRECTOR: Irvin S. Yeaworth

SCRIPT: Kate Phillips, Theodore Simonson

RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes

PRESENTATION: Aspect Ratio 16 x 9. Dolby digital

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentaries by producer Jack H. Harris, Film Historian Bruce Eder, director Irvin S. Yeaworth (and actor Robert Fields uncredited); theatrical trailer, memorabilia includes posters and stills.


DVD RELEASE: March, 2005

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