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A Entries
  Forrest J Ackerman
  Nick Adams
  John Agar
  Philson Ahn
  William Alland
  Irwin Allen
  Woody Allen
  Kirstie Alley
  Gerry Anderson
  Michael Anderson
  Sylvia Anderson
  Jack Arnold
  Isaac Asimov
(1916–1997). American producer.

IMDB credits When John Baxter was researching his pioneering study, Science Fiction in the Cinema (1970), he understandably wanted to find some heroes to focus on; so, properly schooled in the director-as-auteur theories of the French film critics, he went looking for directors. Then, noticing that one man had directed several of the most striking science fiction films of the 1950s, Baxter resolved to celebrate Jack ARNOLD as a major figure in the history of science fiction film, and later commentators have largely followed his example.

However, if an improperly-schooled Baxter had decided to look for producers to serve as his heroes (on the grounds, one might argue, that they are often the true masters of science fiction films), he surely would have found William Alland. After all, with the exception of The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Alland was the producer of all of Arnold's noteworthy films, and his films employing other directors include two marvelous productions, This Island Earth (1955) and The Colossus of New York (1958), as well as other capable efforts. Of course, there are also a few embarrassments in his résumé, but the same is true of Arnold.

Alland began in radio, working for Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre, and followed him to Hollywood to play the reporter in Citizen Kane (1941), for which he seems best remembered today. However, after appearing in a few more films, including Welles's Macbeth (1948) (which he also served as dialogue director), Alland gave up acting to become a full-time producer in the 1950s. At least in the case of This Island Earth, a film I have studied at length, Alland was an active, hands-on producer who kept an eye on all aspects of the production, demanded script revisions to eliminate an unwanted political subtext, and called upon Arnold to direct the climactic Metaluna scenes when novice director Joseph NEWMAN didn't seem up to the task. He also insisted on the incongruous inclusion of the monstrous Mutant, to the chagrin of everyone else involved in the film, but he undoubtedly felt that having such a colorful alien available for publicity pictures would help at the box office, as it probably did.

Indeed, "reasonably dignified science fiction films with a monster to attract the kids" would serve as a good general description of the best films he made with Arnold, It Came from Outer Space (1953),Creature from the Black Lagoon, (1954), Tarantula (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955),  and The Space Children (1958), as well as his films with other directors. Certainly, the unique and powerful This Island Earth must be regarded primarily as a producer's triumph; The Colossus of New York is a hypnotically involving morality play involving a dead scientist brought back to life as an immense robot, driven by an emphatic score and a father-son relationship sensitively explored by screenwriter Thelma SCHNEE; The Deadly Mantis(1957) and The Land Unknown(1957) are unpretentious and entertaining exemplars of, respectively, the giant insect film and the dinosaur film; and The Creature Walks among Us(1956) has effective moments, although it is generally a lesser film than its Arnold-directed predecessors—not due to inferior direction, however, but because the decision to transform the Gill Man into a land creature wrested him away from the chillingly poetic aquatic environment of his earlier appearances. Of all of Alland's genre productions in the 1950s, only the lethargic horror film The Black Castle (1956) and the inane underground adventure The Mole People (1956) are completely indefensible.

However, as the 1960s approached, Alland's career fell apart. After producing the final episode of a forgotten, short-lived television series, World of Giants (1959),  he chose to produce and direct a lame teen-exploitation film starring Paul Anka, Look in Any Window (1960), went on to produce a racecar epic, The Lively Set (1964), and a routine western, The Rare Breed (1966),  and then vanished from the public record until his death thirty years later, surfacing only occasionally to discuss Orson Welles or his science fiction films in documentaries. What else he was doing with his time remains a mystery: perhaps he had earned enough money to enjoy an early retirement, or he spent his days vainly striving to launch new projects in a transformed Hollywood that no longer nurtured his sort of rough-hewn productions. But an internet that regularly provides researchers with detailed biographies and filmographies for even the most undistinguished actors and directors often overlooks producers—because, one must regretfully conclude, they are never considered heroes.

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