Film (1953). Paramount. Directed by Byron Haskin. Produced by George Pal. Written by Philip Yordan and Franz Bachelin, based on the story "Leiningen Versus the Ants" (1937 as "Leiningens Kampf mit den Ameisen"; trans December 1938 Esquire) by Carl Stephenson. Cast includes William Conrad, Charlton Heston and Eleanor Parker. 95 minutes. Colour.
This film is not strictly sf, though it does follow the basic Monster-Movie formula and is made by the team – George Pal and Byron Haskin – that produced several sf epics in the early 1950s. Leiningen, the owner of a South American plantation, is threatened by a vast column of soldier ants whose sudden mass swarming and voracious feeding-frenzy habits are a considerable exaggeration of reality. "Leiningen, you're up against a monster twenty miles long and two miles wide ... forty square miles of agonizing death! You can't stop it!" Despite this warning and many setbacks he finally defeats the ant advance by blowing up a dam and flooding his own property. The sequences involving the ants are unpleasantly convincing, and the script is above average. [JB/DRL]
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