Thursday, April 22, 2010
THE ANGRY RED PLANET
THE ANGRY RED PLANET (1959). Director: Ib Melchior.
A space flight to Mars returns with half the crew dead or missing, and one with a weird parasitic infection. Only the female member of the group, biologist Iris Ryan (Nora Hayden), is able to answer questions, and she barely remembers anything. Most of the movie is a flashback to the spaceship landing on Mars, encountering its weird life forms -- including man-eating plants and a marvelous rat-bat-spider (pictured) which stands very tall on crab-like tree trunk legs. Gerald Mohr as Colonel O'Bannion comes off as a hokey make-out artist -- or used car salesman -- while Hayden seems more like a Las Vegas show girl than a scientist. Les Tremayne is more on the mark as Professor Gettell. Effectively weird score by Paul Dunlap, whose closing credit music is fun. Second best scene [after the bat-rat-spider]: Chief warrant officer Sam (Jack Kruschen) gets digested by a giant amoeba. Director Melchior wrote the screenplay for Reptilicus.
Verdict: Fun -- and in cinemagic, too! ***.