Mst3k Beginning Of The End – Beginning of the d is a 1957 American science fiction film produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon. Starring: Peter Graves, Peggie Castle and Morris Ankrum. An agronomist, played by Graves, successfully grows giant vegetables using radiation. Unfortunately, the vegetables are eaten by grasshoppers (a fascinating phase of short-horned grasshoppers), which quickly grow to gigantic sizes and attack the nearby city of Chicago. Initial d is widely known for its “monstrous” special effects, “and yet,” writes critic Bill Warr, “there is something almost compellingly watchable about this goofy little film.”
The film begins when Audrey Aimes, a newspaper photographer, accidentally stumbles upon a small town (Ludlow, Illinois) that has been inexplicably destroyed. All 150 residents are missing and evidence suggests they are dead. Amazingly, the fields of the place are also barren, as if locusts have eaten all the crops. Aimes suspects that the military went into hiding and traveled to an experimental farm near the United States Department of Agriculture to find out what creature might have wreaked havoc on the farm. She meets Dr. Ed Wainwright, who is experimenting with radiation as a way to grow giant fruits and vegetables until the world starves. Wainwright reports that a number of mysterious incidents have occurred nearby, and that locusts have eaten all the radioactive wheat stored in a nearby grain silo.
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Mst3k Beginning Of The End
Giant jumping grasshoppers are rampaging through the countryside. Wainwright and Aimes set out to find the source of the mysterious events and soon discover that the locusts that have been eating the grain have grown to the size of a city bus. The monsters had eaten all the crops in the area and now turned to humans as a source of nourishment. It is also clear that they are heading to Chicago. Wainwright and Aimes meet with Geral Hanson, Colonel Sturgeon and Captain Barton to try to find a solution. Machine gun and artillery fire seems ineffective against the creatures and there are far too many to deal with at once. The US Army and the Illinois National Guard are called in to protect the city. But the monsters quickly invade Chicago and begin feasting on human flesh, as well as various buildings.
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Geral Hanson concludes that the only way to destroy the animal mass is to use nuclear weapons and destroy Chicago. However, Wainwright recognizes that grasshoppers are warm-weather creatures. He concludes that he may be able to lure grasshoppers to Lake Michigan with a grasshopper call generated electronically using test tone oscillations. There the cold water will incapacitate them and they will drown. The plan works on the last possible mother. The monstrous locusts drown, but Wainwright and Aimes wonder if other insects or animals may have eaten other radioactive crops.
The start d was funded by American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters (AB-PT). The company was formed in February 1953 when the American Broadcasting Company and United Paramount Theaters merged.
In September 1956, AB-PT (sometimes called “Am-Par”) announced the creation of a film studio and unveiled a plan of six films a year in January 1957.
The studio’s focus was on the low-budget conditions it could create in its theaters in the North-East and South.
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AB-PT hoped to expand to 20 films a year and struck a distribution deal with Republic Pictures to bring them to theaters.
D wt began production in 1956, the first of the “boom years” for science fiction films in the United States.
AB-PT announced on November 29, 1956 that it had approved production of its first film, Beginning of the d.
Gordon began as a supervising producer for television commercials and network television programs, producing his first feature (Serpent Island) in 1954 and directing his first feature (King Dinosaur) in 1955.
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However, the final screenplay is credited to Fred Freiberger (an old B-movie writer) and Lester Gorn.
The story of the play is strikingly similar to the 1904 H. G. Wells novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth.
(Gordon would adapt this novel twice, once for Embassy Pictures in 1965’s Village of the Giants and again for American International Pictures in 1976’s The Food of the Gods).
Casting was completed within two weeks of the start of production. In late November, AB-PT reported that actress Mala Powers was being considered for the female lead.
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But on December 2, the studio revealed that Peter Graves and Peggie Castle had been cast in the lead roles.
Three days later, AB-PT announced that Don C. Harvey, Morris Ankrum, Pierre Watkin, Ralph Sanford and Richard Bedict had also been hired.
The studio also said that Pat Dean, her “sex boat” discovery (and former dancer at the El Rancho Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada) will also appear in the film.
Larry Blake, Duane Cress, James Douglas, Eile Janns, John Kranston, Ann Loos and Jeanne Wood joined the cast a few days later.
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Ankrum, Hry, and Seay were cast because they usually played armies in B-movies, a role they also played in Beginning of the d.
Veteran cinematographer John A. Marta and longtime film editor Aaron Stell also worked on the film.
That’s probably why he was hired (given AB-PT’s relationship with that studio and Marta’s quick, fast shooting style). Albert Glasser wrote the musical.
Glasser worked in the same office building where Gordon had his offices and Gordon wrote his score for the war film Huk! from 1956. (B-movie from Pan Pacific Productions).
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Glasser wrote the score for Beginning of the d as well as five more of Gordon’s films.
Glasser was paid $4,000 for his work on The Cyclops, which may indicate how much he was paid for the musical for Beginning of the d.
It is not clear what the film’s budget was, although descriptions often use the term “low budget” or “ultra low budget”. According to a statement by AB-PT president Leonard Goldson in 1957, the average cost of the AB-PT films to date was $300,000.
Filming took place on the Republic Pictures set at 4024 Radford Avue in Los Angeles, California (built by Mack Snett and now home to CBS Studio Cter).
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He also praised actress Peggie Castle and said he felt privileged to work with an actor of Morris Ankrum’s stature.
But his most important effort was the one he used in King Dinosaur: putting living creatures on still images and blowing air at them to encourage the creatures to move.
Gordon bought 200 live grasshoppers in Texas (which witnessed an outbreak of exceptionally large grasshoppers) for the film.
But when he tried to bring them to California for filming, state agriculture officials demanded that each of the animals be inspected and slaughtered.
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I had to get my grasshoppers from Waco, Texas. They had the only type large enough to carry a focus. I could only import males because they didn’t want the stuff to breed. They had some time from the Department of Agriculture or some place like that come out to take a head count, or a wing count. Locusts became cannibals.
Gordon only kept the grasshoppers in a box for a few days, but during that time the grasshoppers ate each other and only 12 remained that Gordon finally managed to shoot.
Gordon also considered building miniatures for grasshoppers to climb on, but this too was deemed too expensive.
Instead, Gordon used still images of the Wrigley Building and other famous Chicago landmarks and simply photographed grasshoppers moving across the top of the image.
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Since the monsters are supposed to be wounded or killed by gunfire, Gordon just tilts the picture and grasshoppers slide off it.
According to one film historian, the effect looks (almost) real until one of the grasshoppers walks off the “building” into what is supposed to be thin air.
She starred as part of a double act with The Unearthly (a film loosely based on 1932’s Island of Lost Souls and 1956’s The Black Sleep), another AB-PT production.
Initial d was an appropriate title for a section of his studio. AB-PT shut down its operations immediately after the film’s release, for reasons that remain unclear.
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That week, Gordon began filming his next feature, The Amazing Colossal Man, for AIP.
For example, in its first week in San Francisco, it grossed $16,000 — just behind the top-grossing film of the week for the region, the remake of Bambi (which brought in $18,500).
The film’s debut in Los Angeles brought its gross to $16,500, although it was a soft box office market.
Critics and film historians point out that the film is just one of many that tapped into most Americans’ fears about nuclear weapons, aerial nuclear testing, and the possibility of nuclear war.
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Initial d, however, has very little of the metaphorical creativity of films like Godzilla or Them!
A more reasonable assessment, however, leads to the conclusion that the image is deeper in 1950s Americans.
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