Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

July 4, 2020, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie was the 1957 film “The Black Scorpion,” with Richard Denning, Mara Corday, Carlos Rivas, Mario Navarro, Carlos Muzquiz, Pascual Pena, Fanny Schiller, Pedro Galvan and Arturo Martinez. Screenplay by David Duncan and Robert Blees from a story by Paul Yawitz. Photography by Lionel Lindon, edited by Richard L. Van Enger, art direction by Edward Fitzgerald, sound by Rafael L. Esparza, orchestrations by Bert Shefter, electronic music by Jack Cookerly. Special effects supervised by Willis O’Brien, animation by Peter Peterson, assistant directors Ray Heinze and Jaime Contreras, sound effects by Mandine Rogne. Music composed and conducted by Paul Sawtell.

Produced by Frank Melford and Jack Dietz. Directed by Edward Ludwig.

“The Black Scorpion” is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Archive.

I wanted a mystery giant creature (or giant mystery creature) film that was not too well known (like “Them!”) or too obscure. And I did “Night of the Lepus” several years ago, exhausting the entire oeuvre on gigantic bunnies. I almost ran a Santo movie, but Santo mainly fights zombies, witches, vampires, etc., rather than giant critters. So I settled on “The Black Scorpion,” which follows most traditions of the genre: Nature is in upheaval (a volcano), we have terrified crowds, lots of military whose weapons are, of course, useless against the giant critter, we have a cute but troublesome kid, lots of scientists and a love interest.

Cue the scorpion.

Harrison’s Reports (Sept. 21, 1957) said:

This latest dish of science fiction horror is a fairly good melodrama of its kind, but it does not rise above the level of program fare, and its running time is much too long. At least 15 minutes could be cut out to advantage.

Film Bulletin (Oct. 14, 1957) said:

Warner Bros., which hit the jackpot recently via “Curse of Frankenstein,” has a new addition to the nightmare league, a horrendous bit of other-worldly flimflam called “The Black Scorpion.” Backed by one of Warners’ hard-hitting showmanly promotion campaigns, it will probably enjoy surprising success in the ballyhoo houses.

H.H.T., writing in the New York Times (Oct. 12, 1957), did not approve of such goings-on, but what else would you expect from the NYT?

“The Black Scorpion,” a 100-foot-tall beauty, along with a score of deadly playmates, tried to subdue Mexico City yesterday at the Paramount.

According to this strictly standard shocker from Warners, these varmints had been marking time for years in a volcanic cave, waiting to have a go at humanity. After what happened on the screen yesterday — a pallid romance between Richard Denning, a geologist, and pretty Mara Corday, and the usual aging scientist, Carlos Muzquiz, leading an organized counterattack on the monsters — a spectator can only wonder why the critters emerged.

June 29, 2020, Mystery Photo

Several members of the Brain Trust (you know who you are) requested a mystery movie involving gigantic creatures. And so here we are. For Monday, a frightened mystery crowd flees from one or more mysterious gigantic creatures, who will appear Friday.

June 29, 2020, Mystery Photo

Another mystery crowd flees. Is it “mystery giant creature(s)” or “giant mystery creature(s)?”

June 30, 2020, Mystery Photo
For Tuesday, a herd of mystery moo-cows realizes that “something is wrong,” unlike the humans in the mystery film. It turns out that our mystery giant creature(s) — or giant mystery creature(s) — have a taste for mystery moo-cows.

June 30, 2020, Mystery Photo
Also for Tuesday, we have a mystery baby who survives an attack by the giant mystery creature(s) –- or mystery giant creature(s) – that wiped out the rest of the family.

Update: Our mystery baby is so far unidentified. His character’s name is Manuel Tiburcio.

June 30, 2020, Mystery Photo
Finally, our mystery police officer was not as lucky and was killed by the GMC (or MGC).

Update: Our mystery police officer remains unidentified. His character’s name is Sgt. Vega.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie) and Sylvia E. (mystery movie).


For “Hm Wednesday,” we have one of the stock figures in any giant mystery creature(s) film: a mystery gentleman in a white lab coat with a lot of glassware. A microscope may be involved.

Update: This is Pascual Garcia Pena.

July 1, 2020, Mystery Photo

And here is another stock character of the giant mystery creature(s) film: An expert on regular-sized mystery creature(s) who has never seen anything like this.

Update: This is Carlos Muzquiz.

Brain Trust roll call: Blackwing Jenny (mystery movie), Mike Hawks (mystery movie), Thom and Megan (mystery movie), Sarah (mystery movie) and  Sylvia E. (Tuesday’s mystery characters’ names).  Half-credit to Howard Mandelbaum: He’s in the movie, but in a different role.

July 2, 2020, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we have this dignified mystery cleric, a respected leader in our mystery town.

Update: This is Pedro Galvan.

July 2, 2020, Mystery Photo
We also have this mysterious vaquero. And Back of the Head Woman, who will appear Friday.

Update: This is Roberto Contreras, who appeared in “The High Chaparral,” with Mara Corday as Back of the Head Woman.

July 2, 2020, Mystery Photo
And we have one of the essentials of the mystery giant creature(s) movie: The obligatory cute kid who is always getting into trouble. His mysterious companions seem to be well armed. The weapons, of course, are useless because the mystery giant creature(s) are heavily armored everywhere except the throat. This will be important later, when the mystery giant creature(s) is/are lured to the soccer stadium.

Update: This is Mario Navarro.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery scientists), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery scientist No. 2), Sylvia E. (Wednesday’s mystery scientists) and Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery scientists).

July 3, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have our mysterious second leading man.

Update: This is Carlos Rivas.

July 3, 2020, Mystery Photo

We also have our lovely mysterious leading lady.

Update: This is Mara Corday.

July 3, 2020, Mystery Photo

Our mystery leading man….

Update: This is Richard Denning.


July 3, 2020, Mystery Photo

And finally, our mystery giant creature … or giant mystery creature.

July 3, 2020, Mystery Photo

The giant mystery creature (or mystery giant creature) drools a lot.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (all of Thursday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (all of Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery cleric, mystery troublemaking kid and Back of the Head Woman), Beachgal (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery scientists, Thursday’s mystery cleric, mystery vaquero and mystery troublemaking kid), Benito (mystery movie, Thursday’s Back of the Head Woman and references to the Tom Servo version) and Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery guests and peering into the future to see Friday’s mystery guests).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1957, Animals, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Howard Mandelbaum says:



  2. Mary Mallory says:

    THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, because it has Bill Hopper in it.


  3. Rogét-L.A. says:

    20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)


  4. Bruce says:

    Is it “Them”?


  5. E. Yarber says:

    I used to have an 8mm reel of “The Deadly Mantis.” Maybe those scenes are from the seventy minutes of the film that were left out of the home version.


  6. Sylvia E. says:

    Just for grins, I’ll chime in, too. Only because the movie trailer says there are “…thousands in the cast!” and the images look like the movie may be set in Latin America somewhere.

    “The Black Scorpion” 1957


  7. Mary Mallory says:



  8. “The Black Scorpion”!


  9. Mary Mallory says:

    Monolith Monsters.


  10. B.J. Merholz says:

    Frank Puglia ?


  11. Chrisbo says:

    The Beast of Hollow Mountain?


  12. mike hawks says:

    THE BLACK SCORPION 1957. Send in the Cows.


  13. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Manuel Sánchez Navarro.


  14. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Manuel Sánchez Navarro


  15. Thom and Megan says:

    Our mystery movie is The Black Scorpion.


  16. Gary says:

    The casts appears to me to be Japanese thus my guess …any one of the thirty two Godzilla films.


  17. Sarah says:

    It’s the “Black Scorpion” (1957). It had to be that or “The Beast of Hollow Mountain.” But since the latter was not filmed on a location with paved streets, it has to be the former. At last all my Saturday gigantic creature movie watching pays off!


  18. Sylvia E. says:

    Am enjoying reading about Willis O’Brien and Pete Peterson’s stop-motion animation wonders for the film.

    Anyhooo…Tuesday: The steers are probably upset because they know they will be used as bait later.
    The ‘orphaned baby in the crib’ will be taken to the villagers by Mr. Denning and Mr. Rivas (have seen one very sweet photo of Mr. Denning holding the baby, but haven’t found the baby’s name anywhere. As for the ‘doomed policeman’ found by Mr. Denning and Mr. Rivas, I’ve only found his character name – ‘Sgt. Vega’ – in the TCM breakdown.


  19. Sylvia E. says:

    In IMDB, found the character name for the baby, ‘Manuel Tiburcio’. Missed that before.


  20. Earl Boebert says:

    La Nave de los Monstruos? If so, you dug deep for that one 🙂


  21. Mary Mallory says:

    THE BLACK SCORPION. Arturo Martinez Tuesday,, and Pascual Garcia Pena and Carlos Muzquiz today.


  22. mike hawks says:

    Carlos Muzquiz as man in lab coat.


  23. Sylvia E. says:

    Image #1 is Pascual Garcia Pena and image #2 is of Carlos Muzquiz.

    On a separate note and recalling the Zoom conversation last week, I think this movie uses the “Wilhelm scream”, does it not? When one of the (GMCs) grabs a lineman I think. Not sure though.


  24. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Pascual García Peña; Carlos Muzquiz.


  25. Mary Mallory says:

    Pedro Galvan, Roberto Contreras with BOTH woman Mara Corday, and Marion Navarro.


  26. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Pedro Galván; Roberto Contreras, Mara Corday; Mario Navarro.


  27. mike hawks says:

    our cleric is Pedro Calvan, the kid is Mario Navarro and our back of head leading lady is Mara Corday.


  28. beachgal says:

    Our film this week is The Black Scorpion. Never been a fan of horror films. But recognize a few of this cast of characters.
    Our Padre is Pedro Galvan.
    Expert on small creature black scorpions is Carlos Múzquiz
    Our scientist on Wed is Pascual Pena
    The little boy might be Mario Navarro
    Might our Thurs vaquero be Roberto Contreras?


  29. Benito says:

    THE BLACK SCORPION 1957, so BOHW is 50s horror/sci fi vixen Mara Corday. Don’t miss the very funny MST3K version, which streams free on shout tv, tubi etc


  30. Sylvia E. says:

    Thursday – image #1 is Pedro Galvan, image #2 is Roberto Contreras (w/ BOTHW Ms. Corday) and #3 is Mario Navarro.

    If you save the reveal shots of the MGCs for Saturday, Friday will bring Richard Denning, Mara Corday and Carlos Rivas..

    This was fun. Thanks.


  31. Mary Mallory says:

    Carlos Rivas, Mara corday, and Richard Denning.


  32. beachgal says:

    Our Second leading man is Carlos Rivas.
    Maria Corday is our lead lady.
    Our leading man is Richard Denning.


  33. mike hawks says:

    Carlos Rivas, Mara Corday and Richard Denning.


  34. Gary says:

    Seems Im always late to the party. Richard Denning Mara Corday and The Black Scorpion.


  35. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Carlos Rivas; Mara Corday; Richard Denning.


  36. B.J. Merholz says:

    I’d have to see the movie, but till then I still say it’s Frank Puglia, working off the books.


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