Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Golden Age of Giant Woman Movies

Many of my readers, even many of My People who share Our Agenda, may be unaware there ever was a Golden Age of Giant Woman Movies. This is not surprising. This Golden Age does not match the glory of Ancient Greece or even the splendor of Florence under the rule of the Medici family. The age is pretty short and not all that golden. But in the space of eight years, 1958 to 1965, there were six films starring or featuring giant women, and there were also some shrunken or tiny man movies thrown in for good measure, though I will not mention them in this post. Sadly for My People and Our Agenda, this was not the start of a trend, and movies with giant female characters after 1965 became very rare indeed.

The Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman (1958) It's hard to start a good Golden Age with such a bad movie, and even most of My People agree, this was a bad movie. It's very short but it feels longer than it is, because you wait around forever through a bad soap opera to get to the scenes where a giant Allison Hayes trashes a tiny town looking for her cheating little pipsqueak of a husband. The special effects are beyond awful, but if there is anything in this quickly and poorly made movie that can be called "interesting", it's interesting that Miss Hayes plays the giantess scenes nearly silently. You can hear her voice some times when she is off screen, but when on screen, she has this impassive look on her face you see here. She shows almost no emotion, but it feels like contempt and disdain for the tiny little mice that look like humans scurrying around beneath her.

The Thirty Foot Bride of Candy Rock (1959) This film is famous only as an answer to a trivia question. What movie did Lou Costello make without Bud Abbott? He made this in 1959, two years after splitting with Abbott, when tax problems made Costello desperate for money.

Lou plays Artie Pinsetter, a junk collector who hopes to become a famous inventor. His girlfriend Dorothy Provine is turned into a giant, and he still wants to marry her. Good on ya, Artie!

For My People, the problem is that Ms. Provine spends most of the movie whining about being big. She has a short rampage scene where she lords it over the little people in the town where she lives, but most of the rest of the movie her character is just mopey, and that kind of spoils the mood.

The best known of the rest of the cast are Gale Gordon, playing a pompous windbag, and Charles Lane, playing a miserly curmudgeon. In other words, Gordon and Lane played the roles they played for their entire careers.

Costello died the same year the movie was released and never reconciled with his longtime partner Bud Abbott.

The Three Worlds of Gulliver (1960) It's a bit of a stretch calling this a giant woman movie, but I include it and a later entry on the list because of the work of special effects artist Ray Harryhausen. Compared to special effects today, stuff from the sixties looks incredibly fake and cheesy, but back in the day, Harryhausen did effects work that was much better than most of his competitors. He is most famous for his stop action animation work, but he also did a lot of work with special effects shots that included giants and little people interacting.

The three worlds mentioned in the title are Gulliver's own world in England, tiny Lilliput and gigantic Brobdingnag. Most of the scenes with Gulliver and a giant are opposite Sherry Alberoni as Glumdalclitch, who was just a kid when this was made. I may be a weirdo, but I'm not actually into giant jail bait. There is a scene with Gulliver and the Queen, but this movie is the only one on the list where the giantesses are not played by fabulous babes.

Later in the 1960s, Sherry Alberoni had a regular role on Family Affair as oldest sister Cissy's friend Sharon.

The Temptation of Doctor Antonio from Boccaccio '70 (1962) The movie was originally supposed to be a collection of four short films about sex and money, directed by four different Italian directors. The problem was that Federico Fellini didn't keep his segment that short, so one of the four was dropped from the version shown in movie houses. It has been restored on the version of the film you can now get on DVD.

Long story short. A prudish man who lives in Rome is offended by a billboard put across from his apartment, with a voluptuous Anita Ekberg lounging on a huge white sofa in an ad for milk. She escapes from the poster as a giantess and torments the little fellow throughout the streets of Rome.

The special effects here are fairly good, and Miss Ekberg has a much sexier attitude than all of her gigantic predecessors. This easily has the best production values of all the films on the list and the most competent director. It was also the movie Matty Boy first saw, probably at the age of eight or nine on TV, where he realized that the idea of giant women gave him funny feelings down there.

Okay, too much information. Sorry.

Jason and the Argonauts (1963) Like Three Worlds of Gulliver, this movie has special effects by Ray Harryhausen. Also like Three Worlds, it's a bit of a stretch to put this film on a list of giant woman movies. In the earlier film, there are no giant fabulous babes. In this one, Honor Blackman as the goddess Hera is clearly a giant fabulous babe, but she only has one short scene with tiny Jason visiting Mount Olympus. When I was a kid, this was the only giantess movie I actually saw on the big screen. Everything else was on TV years after it was released.

Village of the Giants (1965) Here it is, the swan song for giant woman movies. It's a monster movie, it's a beach party movie, it's two great tastes that go great together. The two actors from the film that were best known at the time were probably Tommy Kirk and Johnny Crawford. The two best known names today are Beau Bridges and Ron Howard. But if you have seen the movie or the trailer or the poster, you will know that the film really starred Joy Harmon and Her Very Large Breasts.

I wrote a post back in 2007 that if she were magically transported from her heyday to present day Hollywood, Joy Harmon would be derided as being too fat. I have never, ever heard one of My People, or any heterosexual male, for that matter, say that Joy Harmon was too fat. She had a face that was like Julie Christie's, big eyes and a wide mouth, but she wasn't as talented an actress. Like many starlets, she was used as scenery, and I for one certainly admired the view.

Special effects are better today, but no one is making movies about giant women anymore. The most My People get are videos, and while some of them are pretty good, I would like to see a real giant woman movie on the big screen.

C'mon, Hollywood! Throw us a bone. We are an incredibly loyal audience and relatively easily amused.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Mmmmmmm, giant women.

Tara Mobley said...

Well, the movie Monsters vs. Aliens has a giant lady in it voiced by Reese Witherspoon. It isn't live action, but I believe she is the main character.

Matty Boy said...

Yes, Monsters Vs. Aliens is the closest thing to an actual giant woman movie in many years. She's on a super hero team, so she's more like one of the main characters, but at least it's something.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I dated a couple of six footers in my day and that's a bit too much woman. Too much ground to cover, if you get my drift. ;)

BobManDo said...

Ok what about "Bee Movie" ? Srunken man (as bee) not Giant women... Maybe furriers or "insectiers" would enjoy. It was fun never the less even if it doesn't fit the mold.

bogone said...

You should check out Garganta: The Amazing Colossal Woman from Bill Black. It's an homage to Attack of the 50ft Woman. He's got several other giant women movies in the works as well.

Anonymous said...

There was the 1960s Tv series Irwin Allen's Land of the Giants. Episodes can still be seen on

Matty Boy said...

Yes, anonymous, but "Land of the Giants" was a show full of missed opportunities.

OzoneTom said...

Heidi Klum was one of many giants in "Ella Enchanted".

Matty Boy said...

@OzoneTom: Quite true. There have been some major cameos by giant women in live action movies this century, notably in Dude, Where's My Car?, Bedazzled and Ella Enchanted.

Tywest said...

Ive been making these clips for over 5 years now.. --TywestVideos---

Matty Boy said...

Hi, Tywest. I've seen your stuff and it certainly makes sense for you to put a link on this post.