• Angriff Der Riesenkralle (The Giant Claw)



    Released by: Anolis Entertainment
    Released on: April 13th, 2017.
    Director: Fred F. Sears
    Cast: Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, Louis Merrill, Edgar Barrier, Robert Shayne
    Year: 1957

    The Movie:

    Produced by Sam Katzman for Columbia Pictures in 1957, The Giant Claw opens with a scene where all American test pilot/scientist guy Mitch MacAfee (Jeff Morrow) is flying a jet for the purpose of trying to help fix a military radar system. While flying the friendly skies Mitch’s jet is passed by something that he believes to be a huge U.F.O.! Despite the fact that this thing didn’t show up on the aforementioned radar, Mitch’s word is good enough to get a squadron of fighter planes launched into action. One of these planes, and a cargo plane, go missing… never to be seen again.

    Shortly after, Mitch and a fox named Sally Caldwell (Mara Corday) are on a plane heading home when what should happen but another run-in with the presumed U.F.O. - this knocks into their plane and sends it crashing to the ground. The pilot is killed but our heroes are lucky enough to make it out of the flaming wreckage before it explodes. As it turns out, they’ve crashed near the homestead of a French Canadian named Pierre Broussard (Louis Merrill) who takes them in, offers them moonshine, and then heads out into the night. See, someone or something has been frightening his farm animals and he intends to find out what it is and put a stop to it. Well, clearly it’s the same thing that’s been making life so tricky for Mitch and the others, a lesson that kindly Pierre learns first hand.

    Mitch and Sally hop on the next plane back to D.C. when, after Mitch hits on Sally while she’s sleeping (huh?) they meet up with General Van Buskirk (Robert Shayne) who fills them in on the latest developments. It seems that yet another plane has gone missing but before it did, they pilot called in about a massive bird that was attacking them. The Air Force send out their best men to find and eliminate the winged menace and learn the hard way that it is somehow protected by an anti-matter shield. Eventually a scientist named Dr. Noymann (Edgar Barrier) figures this out and notices that the shields go down when the thing needs to eat… so it does have a weakness – but how to exploit this weakness to save the day?

    How did a bird ‘the size of a battleship’ get to Earth and what is it doing here? The science behind this is a little complicated at first, but then at one point one of the scientists in the film explains it all quite clearly:

    "That bird is extraterrestrial. It comes from outer space. From some godforsaken antimatter galaxy millions and millions of light years from the Earth. No other explanation is possible."

    So there you go. No other explanation is possible so we just go with it. Never mind the massive logic gaps, the obvious gaffs (planes are erroneously switched out in the same scene) and the fact that large parts of this movie don’t make a damn like of sense, because The Giant Claw is b-movie heaven. We get a great monster that looks like a huge killer turkey, we get a manly man hero and a beautiful female sidekick, we get some great scientist types who ramble on about all sorts of great scientist stuff and we get a hard drinking French Canadian supporting character.

    On top of that, the monster in the movie is pretty great. Sure, he looks like a Muppet but when he’s on, he’s on. He not only takes down jive talking teenagers but he eats parts of buildings, snaps up a train and eats some well-meaning paratroopers before he’s eventually taken down. The movie is well-paced, it’s never dull, and while the characters are all one dimensional stereotypes they’re still pretty fun, mainly because they are exactly the sort of one dimensional stereotypes you’d expect to see in a movie like this. The whole thing is as dumb as a bag of rocks but it sure is fun.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Anolis gives The Giant Claw its worldwide Blu-ray debut in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 that looks excellent. The black and white image has great contrast, deep black levels and solid greyscale throughout playback. The picture is quite clean, showing virtually no print damage at all while still looking very much like film, with a natural amount of film grain evident throughout playback. Detail is strong, frequently quite impressive, while texture and depth are solid as well. There are no noticeable compression artifacts to complain about nor are there any issues with obvious edge enhancement or noise reduction.

    Audio options are provided in DTS-HD 2.0 Mono in English and German language tracks with optional subtitles available in German only. The English audio on the disc sounds just fine. Understandably range is somewhat limited by the original recording but clarity is pretty good and there’s about as much depth to the track as you could expect from an older single channel mix. There are no noticeable problems with any hiss or distortion to comment on and the track is properly balanced throughout playback.

    Extras start off with two audio commentary tracks, the first of which is with Ingo Strecker and Thomas Kerpen and the second one with Dr. Rolf Giesen, Uwe Sommerlad and Ivo Scheloske. Both tracks are in German with no subtitle options, unfortunately, so we can’t comment on the quality of them.

    The disc also includes an introduction from Dr. Rolf Giesen that discusses the special effects featured in the picture. This piece runs four and a half minutes and it is available in both English and German language variants. Here Giesen talks about how the puppet used in the feature looked like a cartoon buzzard and the mystery behind how and why the prop turned out that way after Ray Harryhausen declined Katzman’s offer to work on the picture.

    Outside of that we get alternate American and Spanish title sequences, the film’s original American theatrical trailer, a great eight minute long English language Super-8 version of the movie, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, we also get a DVD version of the movie that contains the same extras as the Blu-ray disc. Also tucked away inside the DVD sized keepcase that the movie is packaged in is a sixteen page booklet that includes some artwork from the feature as well as an essay on the picture by Ingo Strecker (German language only).

    The Final Word:

    The Giant Claw is a B-movie blast, a picture that delivers all the brainless monster mayhem you could hope for alongside some fun characters and some ridiculously goofy special effects. Anolis are to be commended for bringing this one to Blu-ray looking and sounding as good as it does, and hey, if you speak German there are a lot of extras to enjoy here as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!
























    Comments 4 Comments
    1. paul h.'s Avatar
      paul h. -
      The greatest movie of all time. Is it region locked? Where might I be able to purchase if it were region free?
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      It's region B and it's on Amazon.de, you'll find it by searching for the German title.
    1. C.D. Workman's Avatar
      C.D. Workman -
      I had hoped that Mill Creek would release this in the states; Indicator could possibly do it in Great Britain.
    1. paul h.'s Avatar
      paul h. -
      Hmm. Okay then. Thank you.