Hosted by 50 Westerns From the 50's
"It Was A Monster - Yet It was a Man !"
"You'll Hardly Believe What Your Eyes See !"
Talbot plays Susan Winter who gathers together a disparate group of four men in order to search for her missing fiance who disappeared in a remote valley in northern Mexico while exploring for uranium several years before. Along for the ride are Roger Craig (WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS) as Russ Bradford who was a friend of Talbot's fiance and has ulterior motives for the trip as he wants to prove the fiance dead in order to marry Talbot. He also serves as the film's nominal hero and scientist who's there to explain the strange goings-on with writer Bert I. Gordon's typical head-scratching "scientific" explanations (we can tell Russ is a scientist as his first introduced wearing Clark Kent-like glasses and continually puffs away thoughtfully on his pipe).
Plus there's a scenery-chewing Lon Chaney Jr. as prospector Martin "Marty" Melville who hopes to find a rich uranium strike and Lee Brand, a pilot with a shady reputation who will fly them to the mysterious valley (who talks constantly about himself in the third person) and is played by Tom Drake (who showed up on practically every TV show in the 60's and 70's).
After being forced to evade the Mexican authorities who will not give them permission to venture into the valley, the group makes a rough landing in the valley as a suddenly crazy Marty (a personality trait he lapses into about every 15 minutes or so here) grabs the controls of the plane and knocks out the pilot. Upon landing Marty immediately finds his uranium and pleads with the group to head back immediately.
The group soon discovers a giant roaming the area with a huge lump of flesh over one eye, a snaggle tooth grimace (along with a loin cloth) and appears to be a distant cousin of the creature in Bert's WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST. Some wreckage from a plane and bits of clothing from Susan's fiance are also found and after venturing into Bronson Caverns they're trapped by the "Cyclops" as he rolls a huge boulder in front of the entrance and then spends some time snarling and grunting at them. Susan seems to have some sort of connection to the giant as Russ ventures the theory that she is recognized by him. and it soon becomes exceedingly obvious to everyone except for Susan and her intrepid group who the giant really is.
Talbot's Susan shows the most backbone of all the characters and in a bit of a change is the one who's constantly pushing and prodding along the somewhat ineffectual males, although the climax finds Russ going to full hero mode (along with channeling a bit of Odysseus from Homer's The Odyssey) and the somewhat shifty Lee rises to occasion while constantly reminding everyone he's part Cherokee.
Gloria Talbot had a couple big roles in major pictures such as Douglas Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (in which she's quite good in a small, but important role) and Michael Curtiz's WE'RE NO ANGELS, but seemed to settle into roles in TV and low budget westerns and horror and always seemed to gamely try her best no matter what the film (as here). She gives a great little performance as the unknowing wife in I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE from 1958.
Sporting the classic pencil-thin mustache and a shock of Brylcreem laden hair, Roger Craig is OK as the co-male lead and a somewhat stocky hero who in addition makes his feelings toward Talbot's character obvious from the get-go (which doesn't seem to bother her too much). His best role was probably in Fritz Lang's newspaper crime drama WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS where carried with on with Rhonda Fleming behind hubby Vincent Price's back.
Warner Archive has released THE CYCLOPS in a nice anamorphic 1.78 transfer. The initial release mistakenly was cut as it was minus a bit of bloody cyclops eye spearing but Warner quickly issued a new version.
A big thanks to my very good friend Toby over at 50 Westerns From The 50's for putting this blogathon together.