Assignment Outer Space (Italy) (a.k.a.Space Men)

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Assignment Outer Space (Italy) (a.k.a.Space Men)

Post  BoG on Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:07 am

From time to time, Assignment: Outer Space verges on becoming a thoughtful space opera. It's got good concepts and a surprising amount of good lines. As Bill Warren and others have noted, it establishes a believable future in which space travel is taken for granted and in which personnel treat their space duties as any other job. Unlike so much 1950s SF before it, it never tries to wow us with austere countdown sequences or condescending explanations of inertia or freefall. The mood is staid and serious, with no pandering. It includes a black officer among the crew. A different character (George, the commander) actually develops in the course of the film: jaded and cold at first, he at last seems the most human of them all.

But the good ideas are never fully developed. The philosophy is no more than tidbits. The acting is listless. It takes a really long time for things to happen . The pacing is so slow that the picture often resembles Eastern Bloc mopefests such as Battle Beyond the Sun or First Spaceship on Venus. It's dubbed , even though it was recorded in English to begin with. The spaceship interiors look fine: understated, solid, functional yet graceful. But the special effects are embarrassingly obvious (Bill Warren calls the special effects "ignorant") and the miniatures look like plastic toys. The best scenes are an early refueling sequence and a late sequence where our hero must navigate between invisible "photonic" heat shields by throwing objects left and right to see where they dissolve. This is among the earliest movies I can think of that takes space shields or force fields seriously.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 2974-2983). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.

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