Day 74, No. 74. The Amazing Colossal Man

The Amazing Colossal Man posterHAIRCUT 100: Day 74, No. 74. Sticking with middle aged naked bald guys, Lt. Col. Glenn Manning (played by Glenn Langan) in The Amazing Colossal Man. This 1957 movie directed by Bert I. Gordon and distributed by American International is an uncredited adaptation of The Nth Man (1928) by Eon Flint, a novella about a ten-mile-tall man. It was intended to capitalise on the success of The Incredible Shrinking Man, released six months earlier, although the climax feels more like King Kong. Korean War vet Manning is caught in the blast during an atomic test in Nevada while trying to rescue the pilot of a crashed aircraft, receiving terrible burns and losing his hair. Mysterious cellular regrowth follows, leading him to not only recover but grow eight feet in height a day, also acquiring a rather dark sense of humour. Increasingly depressed by his condition, Manning eventually loses it. He escapes his military doctors, picking up his fiancée, Carol, during a long chase in which he trashes the Las Vegas strip, moving into classic monster movie territory by demolishing famous cultural landmarks, in this case the Riviera Hotel, the Royal Nevada, the Silver Slipper, the Sands Hotel, and the Tropicana. (Vegas weddings, ‘eh?) He is eventually stopped at the Boulder Dam, taken out by a giant syringe full of ‘anti-growth serum’ and police and army gunfire, apparently falling to his death in the Colorado River.

Actor Thomas Glenn Langan – who did have hair – was a bit of a heart-throb in the forties, probably best known for his performance as the French professor in Margie, the privateer captain in Forever Amber, and as the young doctor protecting Gene Tierney from Vincent Price in Dragonwyck; he was also one of Olivia de Havilland psychiatrists in the The Snake Pit. By the fifties he had disappeared into what Bruce Campbell has described as ‘Blue collar Hollywood,’ with mostly one-off appearances in television shows, until achieving a certain amount of cult status through The Amazing Colossal Man. He later got into real estate. Box Office returns were good enough for Allied Artists to knock the movie off the following year with the seminal Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman starring Alison Hayes and directed by Nathan H. Juran. ‘I just don’t want to grow anymore!’ Well, maybe some hair…

Please click here for Day 75

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