The Angry Red Planet


Year 1959

Gerald Mohr as   Col. Thomas O'Bannion  
Naura Hayden as Dr. Iris 'Irish' Ryan
Les Tremayne as Prof. Theodore Gettell
Jack Kruschen   as CWO Sam Jacobs
 
Director - Ib Melchior  
Screenwriters - Ib Melchior
  - Sid Pink

The Angry Red Planet is so bad it's infamous or notorious. You may want to watch it for that reason. Why is the reason it's so noteworthy? The acting for the most part is sufficient, so it's not that. It's not even the movie's complete denial of the laws of science, although that's a close second. The "rat-bat" creature pushes the envelope for bad ideas and give a clue. The bad special effects, called "Cinemagic®", is the real villain. (Or is it "Cinemagic©"? I know, it's "Cinemagic☹")

It's bad. Basically, a poorly drawn piece of scenery without any sense of depth is shown with all of the colors but black and red filtered out. Then it is soft focused. The result is something similar to the "rat-bat" above only hazier.

"The leaves aren't even moving in a breeze!" quips one character. Because it's a drawing! Drawings are static!

Thanks to the wondrous advance of Cinemagic☠ you definitely feel like you're on a trip to a world of cheap cheese. But they went to Mars! Not the moon.

I have to admit that when I saw this for the first time back in the 60s, the first sight of the intelligent Martian gave me the creeps. It still did the first time I saw it again. (Say what? "The first time...again"?) It's blue and has three eyes. After that, since it's another line drawing, it loses its effect. If it had only been turned into a rubber suit, or a latex mask, then we would've had something.

Instead we've got rat-bat-balue, a carnivorous plant whose fleshy parts are part of an OB/GYN course, and a city block sized amoeba with a single rotating eye (single celled organism, my patootie). This eye rotates like a top or the rotor on a helicopter. Sometimes the eye is on the left side of the creature and sometimes it's on the right side of this alien, but there's only one eye. How can it be on both sides when there's only one? Must be another important leap forward thanks to the glory of Cinemagic☣.

Okay here's the plot. A rocket ship is in orbit around the Earth. It's the presumed lost manned Mars mission returning home. Thanks to the miracle of Cinemagic☢, uh, remote control, scientists on Earth can land the ship, which they do. This takes fifteen or so minutes. There are two people out of the original crew of four left alive and one of them is comatose and has green slime on his hand. The other has red slime on her hair. Oh wait, she's a redhead. Dr. Iris Ryan (Hayden) knows what has happened on the ill fated journey but has blocked it with her mind, which predates any Vulcan mind trick by about a half-dozen years.

Eventually, thanks to drugs, she let's loose with what she knows. She believes that she went to Mars and saw creatures. I think she went to The Magic Kingdom (nudge, nudge) and can't remember squat except for the grandeur of Cinemagic☑. She's is the world's foremost expert in biology yet in the forty-seven days it took her to get back to Earth, she couldn't figure out what to do about the green slime on O'Bannion's (Mohr's) arm. Some biologist.

Must've been distracted by the grandeur of Cinemagic★.

Some people like to make fun of the rat-bat especially since it's a marionette with both claws and hands. That's too easy. I prefer to make fun of Hayden's acting. She's less than competent as a scientist as well as an actress. Only when she's screaming or fainting is she even remotely credible.

But Mohr and Tremayne are good actors. They're not Grade-A headliners, but they're competent. You've seen them before in other movies and television shows so they're like old friends. I have to say that having Professor Gettell (Tremayne) pass on because of health issues seemed odd. I guess medical check-ups weren't a criterion for a trip to Mars.

Neither was the need to do any reconoitering. There are large cities, bodies of water, etc. on Mars in this movie but nobody on Earth or on the ship ever saw them until the stalwart explorers land and begin exploring. ("We doan need no stinkin' telescopes. We have Cinemagic❤"!)

Then there's the rocket ship that is their trusty celestial steed. It's a Friendship class rocket.

May be the actual movie prop

That seemingly small area contains enough fuel to get to Mars using constant accelleration of 1 Gravity, land on Mars, take off from Mars, get back to Earth, and land on Earth. There's also a hatch, a sleeping floor, and a working floor. There's a kitchen and, I assume, a bathroom. It's a silver stream for the stars. Even if all that makes sense (which it can't possibly even with the help of Cinemagic♂), the fact that the dual thrusters as well as the hatch are at the base of the ship sounds like an accident waiting to happen to me. Cinemagic☉ Fried Critters! Yum.

From what I can tell, at 1 G accelleration, you can travel to the end of the solar system and back (15 billion miles) in about a month and a half. If that's true, then a paltry 60 million or so miles one-way to Mars should not take 47 days. It should take... about a two days for about 100 million miles to Mars. (http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2012/08/30/flying-to-mars-in-three-days/) Yep. Two days. Not 47 as the movie would have us believe. Even the miracle of Cinemagic℞ didn't catch that one.

No nudity, profanity, or blasphemy. Recommended for a male child between the ages of ten and twelve, a fan of cheesy 50s "monster movies", or an adult male who thinks that Telstar is a Jerry Lewis telethon.


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