Angry Red Planet

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Angry Red Planet

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:04 pm

Director: IB Melchior!

A spaceship returns from Mars; a couple of months or more before, a 4-person expedition had been sent to the red planet. Most of the picture is a flashback to what transpired over there. The picture is saddled by inane, melodramatic dialog, typical of many sci-fi efforts of the fifties & sixties, but more severe than usual. Note, for example, how the ship's commander (Gerald Mohr) tells another crew member to "stay there" for no reason; as if moving to another spot inside the ship will cause a problem. Later, the commander orders two of the crew to remain in the ship while he and another go outside. The two whom he ordered to stay say "no way" and follow out; I didn't have high hopes for the expedition's success by this point. There's much talk of 'ears twitching' and hugging a freeze-ray gun named 'Cleo' (short for Cleopatra, of course). It would at least be pretty funny, unintentionally, if the story didn't drag.

There's a very slow pace to the whole thing; the astronauts spend as much time looking out the ship's window portals (which change color from red to blue), commenting on what they see, as they do outside actually exploring. The martian landscape, advertised as filmed in 'Cinemagic,' usually resembles animation cut-outs or drawings, shot through an orange filter to give the strained illusion of interacting with the actors, who do take on an odd surrealistic appearance due to the process. But I don't think it fools anyone over 10 years old. The one clever mention I did notice was that the memories of the surviving astronaut would be tinged with unreality, so that would explain the unreal nature of the martian vista. Oh, okay... Rolling Eyes

I was amused by some of the astronauts' actions as they begin to explore; right off the bat, they test their freeze gun on a plant, killing it, just for the hell of it. Then the female member hacks with a machete at what she thinks is a tree but turns out to be the leg of the spider-rat monster. Nice going, lady. Look up next time. No wonder the 'intelligence' on Mars gets upset and doesn't mind that one of the lower lifeforms, a giant amoeba, attacks the explorers.

The acting isn't too impressive. Gerald Mohr, especially, had a very annoying technique - saying a line and then abruptly erupting into a huge grin which always disturbed me,  reminding me of It! the Terror From Beyond Space for some reason (maybe because It! came from Mars?).  The ending is fairly anti-climactic; don't expect any huge revelations beyond the 'no-more-expeditions' with freeze guns named Cleo.  Rolling Eyes This was in 1960, but was very fifties, low-budget sci-fi. OK for a Saturday lazy afternoon. BoG's Score: 3 out of 10

Angry Red Trivia: that map behind the military officer above in one of the first scenes was a common one collected by kids; I had one. There's a rumor that the spider-rat monster influenced the appearance of the monster in the recent pic Cloverfield.
Some better ones: Robinson Crusoe on Mars (64); Mission to Mars (2000) and even Red Planet (2000)
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