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TARANTULA starring JOHN AGAR, LEO. G. CARROLL, MARA CORDAY, NESTOR PAIVA, RAYMOND BAILEY, ROSS ELLIOT, EDWIN RAND and CLINT EASTWOOD (look quick!)

This Jack Arnold-directed movie was made for the old Universal-International at a time that studio wasn't nearly the behemoth it is today. But U-I, or rather its management, wanted to be big, and were aiming to grow. Kind of like the eight-legged creature in this film.

TARANTULA is set in an Arizona desert town whose handsome young Dr. John Agar is trying to solve the mysterious death of a man from a condition known as acromegaly (or acromegalia, as it's called in the film). His quest takes him to the laboratory of research scientist Leo G. Carroll, who, though outwardly polite, clearly doesn't want to be bothered. He doesn't want his beautiful young assistant, Mara Corday, to be bothered, either, least of all by the romantic Dr. Agar. As luck would have it, Carroll and his former associate and friend,--let's call him the acromegaly man, and leave it at that--were working on a nutrient that they hoped would cure world hunger. To make a long story short, one of the creatures they were experimenting on, a tarantula already the size of a Volkswagen, escaped from the lab when the acromegaly man set it on fire, as he had gone mad. He also injected Dr. Carroll with the formula that would in time give him acromegaly, too. Some friend.

In a brief period of time the spider has grown to the size of a house, then an office building. He's either very shrewd or very lucky to avoid being spotted, feasting mostly on ranchers and men in remote areas where he won't be seen by others. Guns are useless against the big guy. Dynamite can't kill him, either. He just ambles on right through it. The Air Force has to be called in. I won't tell you any more because I don't want to spoil the ending for you.

As big bug movies go, TARANTULA is near the top of my list. It's very well photographed, and the life of the small town is presented with just enough credibility so that even when the story gets a tad weird, the people seem real. I especially liked Nestor Paiva's aggressive performance as the sheriff. Forceful as he is, he's never obnoxious, just assertive. Mara Corday is fine as the young scientist/love interest, and the late John Agar is quite good as the town doctor. Leo G. Carroll is the doomed scientist, and he delivers yet another nuanced performance. There's something about Carroll's manner and delivery of dialog that makes you want to hear more. His role is substantial, and in a way it's his low-key underacting that keeps the movie anchored in something that resembles reality. Put a more flamboyant type in the part, a Rathbone or a Lugosi, and the film would be over the top. And keep a weather eye out for a very young Clint Eastwood, at the time a Universal contract player, in the cockpit of a fighter jet calling for dropping ALL the Napalm. Also listen for an excellent score by Herman Stein and Henry Mancini, with great monster cues which would be re-used and re-used and re-used in later features.

MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM ***All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you!*** and here is the basic disc info: MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you! MEDIA, LABELED WITH FULL COLOR ART. PICTURE AND SOUND ARE ALWAYS 10 OUT OF 10, UNLESS NOTED, AND ARE COMPARABLE TO, OR BETTER THAN ANY COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED DISC. THEY ARE HOUSED WITH FULL-COLOR BOX ART IN STANDARD DVD CASES.
1) Movies are on archival quality Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM ***All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you!*** and here is the basic disc info: MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you! MEDIA, LABELED WITH FULL COLOR ART. PICTURE AND SOUND ARE ALWAYS 10 OUT OF 10, UNLESS NOTED, AND ARE COMPARABLE TO, OR BETTER THAN ANY COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED DISC. THEY ARE HOUSED WITH FULL-COLOR BOX ART IN STANDARD DVD CASES. media, labeled with full color art. Picture and sound are always 10 out of 10, unless noted, and are comparable to any commercially produced disc. They are housed with full-color box art in standard DVD cases.

3) For one DVD, U.S. shipping is $4.00. Canadian shipping is $8.00. World shipping is $12.00. (My apologies for the high cost of shipping outside the US---USPS raised their rates a LOT in January 2013. And they’re still much less expensive than either UPS or FedEx!) Add $2.00 per disc for orders of two or more. Add $2.00 per disc for orders of two or more. Payment is through Google Checkout, which accepts all major credit cards, by Money Order or by personal check. Personal checks take at least seven business days to clear. Sorry, PayPal is not available.

5) DVDs are in English (no subtitles) and are Region-Free (Region Zero), unless noted.