Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

RIDERS TO THE STARS


RIDERS TO THE STARS (1954). Director: Richard Carlson.
"Gordon's d-d-disintegrated!"
We're a far cry from Queen of Outer Space with this picture. A scientific team which includes Dr. Stanton (Herbert Marshall) and Dr. Flynn (Martha Hyer) assembles a group of bachelors for physical and psychological tests. Turns out they are looking for men who can fly a spaceship in order to see if man can survive in space; their assignment will be to catch a meteor in flight. James Best of Killer Shrews is one of the candidates, and Michael Fox (not to be confused with Michael J. Fox), who appeared in everything from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms to The Bold and the Beautiful, is the psychiatrist. Three men played by Richard Carlson (who also directed), pretty-boy William Lundigan, and busy actor Robert Karnes are chosen for the mission. For the most part Riders to the Stars is dry but reasonably interesting, although even such a "serious" sci fi flick is not above some exploitation elements. After one spaceship disintegrates, Carlson sees the corpse of the pilot floating by, only a skeleton (inexplicably) inside the space suit; an early "shock" scene to be sure. Carlson is very good, and the rest of the cast, Hyer included, are more than efficient.
Verdict: A somewhat interesting curiosity. **1/2.

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