On the surface this 1954 movie appears to pretty bare-bones in comparison to other 1950s sci-fi epics. Richard Denning (Frank) and Kathleen Crowley (Nora), along with two others, are holed-up in a deserted hotel in a large American city (probably Chicago). The city's inhabitants have been evacuated, but these four have been overlooked. The menacing Venusian robot force (actually one robot), while a bit clunky and one dimensional, presents a threatening, underlying presence throughout the movie. When will it strike with its death-ray? Can anyone survive its monomaniac pursuit?
The movie's director, Sherman Rose, deftly explores the theme of loneliness and isolation among the crew's cast. Nora's failed suicide attempt and Frank's stoic acceptance of his being "rolled outside a bar after flashing a big roll" the night before seem to create a credible chemistry that bonds the characters' fates together. If misery loves company, Frank and Nora want no part of the company that waits outside the flimsy boundaries of their hotel room.
Black and white movies occasionally intensify austerity in a way that color films do not. The seeming hopelessness of Frank and Nora's situation, the desertion of the city, and unblinking, unnerving robot presence raise the emotional level of "Target Earth" up a couple of notches.
Viewers will like movie's ending too. The "science" portion of "Target Earth" gets the viewer to a strong visual climax as military scientists race against time to develop an ultrasonic sound wave generator that will defeat the invading menace. Will they get to Frank and Nora in time? Or will the lurking robot(s) find them first?
Kudos must also go to supporting actors Virginia Grey (Vicky) and Richard Reeves (Jim) as a pair of Pol Roger champagne guzzling reprobates who vow to drink their way from one end of the city to the other. As down-and-outers in their own isolated existence, their being trapped with Frank and Nora aptly points out that they have something more to live for than imbibing and gambling on the "daily double."
The acting is first rate and the story's plot comes from a nice short story called "The Deadly City" by Paul Fairman.