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

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Michael Fox vs. Judd Holdren in Lost Planet

THE LOST PLANET (15 chapter Columbia serial/1953). Director: Spencer Gordon Bennet.

"What has he to offer a great scientist like me?"

Reporter Rex Barrow (Judd Holdren) and his photographer friend, Tim (Ted Thorpe), stumble into the mountain hide-out of the megalomaniac Dr. Grood (Michael Fox of Riders to the Stars), who is forcing Professor Dorn (Forrest Taylor of The Iron Claw) to enslave the inhabitants of another planet, Ergro, in order to take over Earth. Grood is assisted by the groveling Jarva (Jack George), who is like something out of the Three Stooges, on earth, and by portly Reckov (Gene Roth), on the alien world, while Dorn's daughter, Ella (Vivian Mason), travels to Ergro with the others. Grood is able to mind-control anyone he chooses, and has other weapons as well, and employs spaceships that take everyone from Earth to Ergro in a very fast and highly unscientific manner. There's also a cosmo jet, and a cartoon flying saucer. Late in the serial some earth men of rather ill repute try to take over Grood's operation, briefly join with him, and then switch sides again. Holdren is perfectly bland and adequate, and Fox is rather good as Grood, yet somehow he doesn't make the kind of memorable serial villain that, say, Charles Middleton does as Ming in Flash Gordon. Holdren and Roth were also in Captain Video, Master of the Stratosphere and the former starred in Zombies of the Stratosphere as well.

Verdict: Acceptable, silly sci fi serial. **.

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