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

Thursday, April 22, 2010


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! ***.

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