The Cyclops sets in with all the trademark aspects of a Bert I. Gordon film. There is the crude direction and photography. The drama is dreary going. Even when the party encounter the cyclops, all that we get is a scene of them trapped in a cave and blinding the cyclops and then the film is over (the entire show only runs to 66 minutes in length). And naturally, there is Gordon back at his old standby of trying to persuade us that regular optically enlarged animals, birds and insects are giants. To his credit, Gordon does an okay job of convincing us we are in a remote valley when in fact the film never even ventures beyond Bronson Canyon in L.A.s Griffith Park, the famous location used in numerous B Westerns and serials to Robot Monster (1953) and episodes of Star Trek (1966-9).
The Cyclops also has Gordon readily tapping into the atomic monster fad that had begun only a few years earlier with the successes of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) and Them! (1954). Gordons one clever idea with the film is to take the Greek myth of the Cyclops Polyphemus by name who was encountered by Odysseus and his men in Homers The Odyssey, who imprisoned them in a cave before they escaped by plunging a stake into its eye and transport it into the age of the atomic monster, making the cyclops an actual mutated human monster and retelling everything as a lost valley story. The same idea also informed the earlier, much better budgeted Dr Cyclops (1940) although there it was miniaturised people up against an ordinary-sized (giant) scientist. The giant with the deformed face was an image that Gordon returned to in War of the Colossal Beast, although here it is a much more rudimentary figure Gordon gave the atomically mutated giant in The Amazing Colossal Man far more pathos than he does the cyclops here.
The only recognisable name present in the cast today is Lon Chaney Jr, who had come to fame as The Wolf Man (1941) in the previous decade and maintained a genre career before a slide into real Z cinema a few years later. He has a supporting role as a member of the party ruthlessly determined to obtain uranium where at least Chaney animates his usual jowly, hangdog presence with more fierce determination than usual. The other actors fade into the scenery. Gloria Talbott did play the lead in Daughter of Dr Jekyll (1957), which was released on a double-bill with The Cyclops, and the next year went onto her best-budgeted and final genre role as the wife who was able to make the title proclamation of I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958). The top-billed name of the film is actually James Craig who had appeared as the lead in a number of B Westerns throughout the 1940s, although is a forgotten name today.
Bert I. Gordons other films are:- King Dinosaur (1955), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Beginning of the End (1957), Attack of the Puppet People (1958), Earth vs the Spider (1958), War of the Colossal Beast (1958), the fantasy adventure The Boy and the Pirates (1960), the ghost story Tormented (1960), the fantasy The Magic Sword (1962), Village of the Giants (1965), the psycho-thriller Picture Mommy Dead (1966), the occult film Necromancy (1972), The Mad Bomber (1973), The Food of the Gods (1976), Empire of the Ants (1977), the witchcraft films The Coming/Burned at the Stake (1981) and Malediction/Satans Princess (1990), and Secrets of a Psychopath (2015).