Unearthly Stranger – 1963 | 78 mins | Fiction, Drama | B&W
John Krish’s accomplished sci-fi chiller Unearthly Stranger (1963) uses the skills of lighting cameramen Reg Wyer to create an atmosphere of tension and mounting paranoia which is unusually effective for a low-budget Beaconsfield production. Rex Carlton’s sharp script, from a Jeffrey Stone story, concentrates on the romance between John Neville and Italian actress Gabriella Licudi whilst interestingly exploring themes of class, gender, nationality and alien origin.
Unearthly Stranger opens with Dr. Mark Davidson (John Neville) running breathlessly through the streets of London to the Royal Institute for Space Research. There, he begins to relay the story that led to this situation and the film goes into flashback. Professor Munro (Warren Mitchell) excitedly enters his office at the Royal Institute for Space Research with some startling new revelations to note down when he suffers an almighty brain haemorrhage caused by a massive electrical charge. It transpires that Russian and American scientists also investigating the power of thought in the use of time travel have died in similar circumstances.
Dr. Davidson continues the project where the deceased Professor Munro left off, under the watchful gaze of Institute director Professor Lancaster (Philip Stone) and chief of security Major Clarke (Patrick Newell) – who has taken an interest in Dr. Davidson’s new and mysterious Swiss wife Julie (Gabriella Licudi). Dr. Davidson’s own fears concerning his wife are raised when he returns home to find his wife dead in bed, with no pulse and her beautiful eyes wide open, then moments later she wakes and kisses him. Also, his new bride never winks. He relays these experiences to Lancaster, who understandably laughs them off, so Davidson challenges the Institute director to come home with him for a meal and observe Julie first-hand.
To Lancaster’s amazement the claims turn out to be true as he himself watches Julie remove a red hot tray from the oven with gloves. When Major Clarke is incapable of uncovering any proof of Julie’s prior existence he suspends Davidson and sends him home on leave. During his leave, Davidson continues working on his notes until making an important breakthrough, he phones Lancaster at home with the news in the middle of the night, and the director aggress to meet him at the Institute immediately. Together they plot to hypnotise Julie and discover the truth but before they can carry this out, Julie admits to being from another world and announces she must leave. Then the droning resonance of alien intervention commences and Davidson flees the house. Davidson returns to his office at the Institute, and an unexpected and uninvited figure arrives.
John Krish: Director
Reginald H Wyer: Cinematography
Tom Priestley: Editing
Trevor Crole-Rees: Makeup Department
Edward Williams: Original Music
Albert Fennell: Producer
Harry Pottle: Production Design
Rex Carlton: Script
John Neville: Dr Mark Davidson
Gabriella Licudi: Julie Davidson
Philip Stone: Prof John Lancaster
Patrick Newell: Maj Clarke
Jean Marsh: Miss Ballard
Warren Mitchell: Prof Geoffrey D Munro