Jack Arnold

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Jack Arnold , born as John Arnold Waks (born October 14, 1916 in New Haven , Connecticut , † March 17, 1992 in Woodland Hills , California ), was an American film director . In the 1950s he created a number of science fiction and horror films such as Peril from Space , The Horror of the Amazon and Tarantula , which are now considered classics of their genres .

Early years

Jack Arnold was a child of Matthew Waks, a Russian - Jewish born emigrants, and Edith Pagovitch in New Haven, Connecticut. After early engagements as a stage actor, he joined the Air Corps with the outbreak of World War II , where he gained his first experience in filmmaking as a cameraman for the well-known documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty . After the war he founded the production company "Promotional Film Company" with Lee Goodman, which specialized in industrial films.


In 1950 Arnold made his debut with the documentary feature film With These Hands , which was nominated for an Oscar and earned him a seven-year contract with the production studio Universal .

In 1953, Arnold made his first science fiction film and, at the same time, Universal's first 3D film . The film was produced by William Alland , with whom Arnold and Tarantula had a successful collaboration. He achieved great commercial success with the horror film Der Schreck vom Amazonas , made the following year , which many critics and film historians such as Georg Seeßlen regard as representative of the monster film sub-genre and an important influence on films such as Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) becomes.

In addition to the sequel The Revenge of the Monster (1955), Arnold directed two other important genre films in the 1950s, Tarantula (1955) and The Incredible Story of Mr. C. (1957) based on a script by Richard Matheson . For Metaluna IV Doesn't Answer (1955, director: Joseph M. Newman ) he shot scenes, but was not mentioned in the titles .

In 1957 Arnold's contract with Universal ended. His later science fiction films, including the William Alland production The Space Children (1958) made for Paramount , as well as his excursions into other film genres are considered less significant in retrospect. On the other hand, the satire The Mouse That Roared (1959), filmed in Great Britain and which Arnold counted as one of his personal favorites, along with The Incredible Story of Mr. C.

In the 1960s, Arnold increasingly shifted his work to television series such as Dr. Kildare (1961), Gilligan's Island (1964), Whenever He Took Pills (1967), Her Appearance, Al Mundy (1968), Three Girls and Three Boys (1969) and A Sheriff in New York (1970).

From the 1970s, his health deteriorated noticeably, but until 1984 he still shot episodes for series such as Love Boat (1979) and A Colt for All Cases (1981). In 1984 he made a brief appearance in John Landis ' comedy Upside Down the Night .


“While the science fiction / monster films best reflected the zeitgeist of the 1950s, within this genre the films by Jack Arnold were most significant for the traumas and neuroses of the decade. [...] By 1958, under his direction and co-authorship at Universal, a number of science fiction films were made whose mythopoetic qualities they raise far beyond the monster films, which are gradually becoming more and more formulaic. While in most films of the genre the feelings and movements of the characters are completely secondary to the appearances, in Arnold's films rather "the characters are a - somewhat alienated - staging of feelings" [...] His overall work in the genre can be seen in a progressive line as the melancholy treatise of the various stages of erotic domestication: the first, unconscious erotic attack, the first, just as unconscious seduction ("Creature from the Black Lagoon"), the violent breakup of a relationship and the restoration of the status quo ("Revenge of the Creature ”), man's beginning fear of the power of woman (“ Tarantula! ”), marriage and its consequences for man (“ The Incredible Shrinking Man ”), the uprising of children (“ The Space Children ”) and finally the unpleasant side effects of the academic-scientific socialization authority (“Monster on the Campus”). […] His films are the mythopoetic description of the American family and their genesis. ”- Georg Seeßlen

Filmography (selection)

other functions


  • Dana M. Reemes: Directed by Jack Arnold , McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson 1988, ISBN 0-89950-331-4 .
  • Frank Schnelle, Frank Arnold, Lars-Olav Beier , Robert Fischer et al .: Hollywood Professional. Jack Arnold and his films , Fischer-Wiedleroither, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-924098-05-0 .
  • Peter Osteried: The Films by Jack Arnold , MPW, Hille 2012, ISBN 978-3942621113 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Ron Ford: Jack Arnold: Life Beyond the Camera. A Conversation with Betty Arnold in Filmfax No. 37 February / March 1993, Evanston (Illinois) 1993.
  2. Article on Widescreenmovies.org, accessed March 5, 2012.
  3. Article on All-about-3dtv.com, accessed March 5, 2012.
  4. Interview with Jack Arnold by Frank McGee for the US fanzine "Photon", 1979, online at Monsters411.com, accessed on March 5, 2012.
  5. ^ Georg Seeßlen: The films by Jack Arnold in Kino des Utopischen. History and mythology of science fiction films , Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1980.
  6. Ronald M. Hahn , Volker Jansen : Lexikon des Science Fiction Films, 5th edition, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1992.
  7. Phil Hardy (ed.): The Aurum Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction , Aurum Press, London 1991.
  8. ^ Georg Seeßlen: The films by Jack Arnold in Kino des Utopischen. History and mythology of science fiction films , Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1980, with the help of a quote from Fernand Jung , Claudius Weil , Georg Seeßlen: The horror film: directors, stars, authors, specialists, themes, etc. Films from A to Z. Encyclopedia of Popular Films Volume 2. , Munich 1978.