BEGINNING OF THE END (1957) Directed by Bert I. Gordon. Stars Peter Graves, Peggie Castle, Morris Ankrum, Thomas B. Henry. I have a soft spot for this film simply because it’s so audacious. All the references to (real towns) Ludlow, Rantoul, Paxton, Champaign and Urbana are fun, even though Gordon forgot to hide the Southern California mountain ranges. This ridiculous movie is obviously based on THEM! and stars Graves as a government scientist who engineers a radioactive pesticide that creates giant crops. Unfortunately, it also creates thousands of giant locusts. They destroy Ludlow, Rantoul and Joliet on their path of destruction towards Chicago. Instead of building fake-looking mechanical locusts, special effects “wizard” Gordon used unsatisfactory mattes of real insects. They're made to attack Chicago skyscrapers by having them walk on glossy photos of buildings! Believe it or not, Irwin Allen appropriated Gordon’s climax for THE SWARM two decades later. Music by Albert Glasser.