Film / Attack of the 50-Foot Woman

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/attack_fifty_woman4.jpg
The citizens are either fleeing in terror, or enjoying the view.

Attack of the 50-Foot Woman is a 1958 American black-and-white science fiction film that acted as something of a Distaff Counterpart to The Amazing Colossal Man. One of the classic B-Movies, it is well remembered for its rather silly premise, as well as being a rather large source of Fanservice. The movie was also remade for HBO in 1993.

The basic plot is that Nancy Archer, a woman with a drinking problem and a cheating husband, has a close encounter out in the desert with aliens. In an attempt to convince her husband of what she saw, she takes him back out into the desert, where he abandons her when the aliens reappear. She's found later, and her husband plots to kill her, but she's grown giant in her sleep. She goes on a classic Kaiju rampage upon awakening, looking for her husband. During her rampage, she kills the other woman and kidnaps her husband King Kong style. She's killed by an exploding power line transformer, which kills off her husband in the process.

The remake, with Daryl Hannah, ramps the unsympathetic portrayal of her husband Up to Eleven, and has a much happier ending for Nancy. The remake has some markers of a Lifetime original movie, with every man being despicable or useless, and all the women, including her husband's mistress, getting sympathetic portrayals and happy endings.

Obviously the Trope Namer for Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever.

The 1958 movie contains examples of:

  • Acme Products: The doctors get everything they need to sedate and restrain giant Nancy from Acme Medical Supplies, including chains and meat hooks.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: After she grows, all we see of Nancy until the final attack is her enormous hand.
  • Auto Erotica/Terror at Make-Out Point: A young couple making out in their car are startled by the giant Nancy.
  • Battle Butler: Jess, Nancy's butler since childhood, gets in a rumble with Harry when he tries to skip town.
  • Covers Always Lie: The famous poster, besides depicting Nancy as being much bigger than 50 feet, has her attacking a highway overpass in a city, whereas the movie takes place in a small desert town with nary a paved road.
  • Clueless Deputy: Charlie, who also serves as the Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Death by Woman Scorned: Nancy kills Honey by dropping a roof beam on top of her. It's unclear whether she then kills Harry by squeezing the life out of him (he is heard saying "I can't breathe!" when she picks him up) or else he got killed during the transformer explosion that does Nancy in at the end.
  • Fanservice: The poster sure seems to promise it, doesn't it? True enough, she is wearing only a bra and skirt. Alas...again, we don't see her post-growth (besides her hand) until the final attack.
  • Film Posters: One of the most iconic in cinema history, better known than the film itself.
  • Giant Woman: The Trope Codifier.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: While fighting Jess, Harry hits him with an empty bottle.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Heinrich von Loeb.
  • Improvised Clothes/Monster Modesty: Giant Nancy wears a bra and skirt supposedly made from her bed sheets. How they got on her while in her tiny bedroom is unclear.
  • Kent Brockman News: The newscaster openly mocks Nancy after she reports seeing the alien giant. It is implied that she is just imagining it.
  • Medication Tampering: Harry tries to kill Nancy with a morphine overdose. He's stopped when the nurse turns on the light, which also reveals Nancy's growth.
  • My Car Hates Me: Nancy's car won't start when she tries to get away from the alien giant. Also, the sheriff's station wagon gets stuck in the mud when he finds the giant.
  • Monster Delay: You have to wait until the final ten minutes to see giant Nancy in all her glory.
  • No More for Me: The old prospector throws away his bottle when he sees giant Nancy.
  • Old Retainer: Jess has been Nancy's butler since childhood.
  • Prospector: One of the first to see the giant Nancy. In a modern twist, he's looking for uranium.
  • Say My Name: "HAAARRY!"
  • Spheroid Dropship
  • Stock Footage: The same scene of giant Nancy walking is used over and over.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Deputy Charlie isn't willing to shoot Giant Nancy in the middle of her rampage. Her own husband is another story.
  • You Have to Believe Me: No one believes Nancy when she claims that a giant in a satellite tried to grab her. No surprise, as she's a known alcoholic who was once committed to an asylum.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Characters use the word "satellite" when referring to the spaceship. This was because Sputnik had launched the year before, so "satellite" was the latest popular buzzword for anything from 'up there'.
  • Your Size May Vary: Giant Nancy doesn't seem to stay the same size throughout.

The 1993 remake contains examples of:

  • Apologizes a Lot: Nancy is set up as having no backbone before she grows.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Naturally.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As soon as she started to realize that she couldn't be pushed around at 50 feet tall, Nancy starts telling off her father for controlling her.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Nancy's husband does this to her. Kind of justified, as he knows of her heart condition and is trying to stress her out.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!
  • Feminist Fantasy: This is a movie that ends with three giant women keeping their husbands/boyfriends in a jar as they all fly off in the spaceship. Also, the closest thing to a sympathetic male character is the sheriff who is morally neutral. Even Nancy's husband's mistress is treated more sympathetically.
  • Flying Saucer
  • Gender Flip: Dr. Cushing, who was male in the original, becomes Nancy's female therapist. Also done with the sheriff's deputy.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Nancy, that's sick! What, do you want me to get a wetsuit and a flashlight?"
  • Giant Woman: Well duh.
  • Human Aliens: Maybe. In the end we see Nancy beamed onto a spaceship with two other giant women, but it's not clear whether they're the same as her or actual aliens.
  • Implied Death Threat: "Try again... or else."
  • The Ingenue: Nancy falls way into this, being too naive and sweet to realize that she's used as a pawn by both her father and husband to get her money.
  • Jerkass: Every male character.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Nancy's husband ends up trapped with two other men in an endless sensitivity training session controlled by giant women.
  • Lifetime Movie of the Week: Men are abusive, sex-obsessed monsters? Check. Women are weak, spineless victims? Check. This thing could have been made by Lifetime.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Her husband's a philandering asshole and her father only cares because he needs her to sign papers so he can keep accessing her trust fund. Her only friend is her psychiatrist.
  • Magic Pants: As Nancy grows her clothes rip apart, yet her underwear remains intact. When she grows a second time, the dress she made stays on, although noticeably shorter.
  • Menstrual Menace: Discussed. When the doctor says that Nancy's condition is due to a hormonal imbalance, Harry quips that he's discovered a new kind of PMS.
  • The Mistress: One girl plays the mistress to both Nancy's husband and father. Surprisingly, she's played sympathetically, and Nancy gives her advice when she catches her during the rampage instead of squishing her.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: After she sees a UFO, her father tells her to stop embarrassing him. He uses this same line when asked to talk her down from her rampage...
  • Touched by Vorlons
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: When Nancy grows.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:Noticeably only for the female characters.
  • Woman Scorned: She grows when she's scorned, too.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The least of her husband's crimes.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/AttackOfThe50FootWoman