The Angry Red Planet (1959)

IB MELCHIOR

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 1959Story by , Screenplay by Ib Melchior, Sidney W. Pink.  Cinematography by Produced by , Sidney W. Pink. Music by Production Design by Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

A probe returns to Earth from Mars with only two of its four passengers still present, one of them unconscious and covered in green goo, the other, the only female scientist on board the expedition (played by ), physically intact but unwell.  She is taken to hospital to rest before being interviewed about the experience of her crew on their mission, and she spins a harrowing yarn about traveling to the Red Planet with what fifties sci-fi movies love to make us think are credible scientists, which is basically gas station attendants who can work a console but spend most of their time talking about baseball and sexually harassing the one female on board.   Outside the ship the foursome faces the dangers of giant lobster-like creatures that surround them, and see a malevolent alien appear in their window before a very large amoeba completely envelopes their craft and threatens to break in.   Credibly structured and featuring some cool effects, particularly a red filter applied to the scenes on the surface of Mars, this is well in line with the silliness of genre offerings of the time, right down to the ridiculously spacious rocket that features high ceilings and a kitchen.   The in-camera techniques work much better than any attempts at visual effects created in post, but these kinds of movies have a cult of fans who love them even more when they fail; it helps in this case that the story at least carries you somewhat along.

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