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

Thursday, November 20, 2014


The astronauts explore red planet Mars
ROCKETSHIP X-M (1950). Director/producer/writer: Kurt Neumann.

The first manned spaceship and its team -- consisting of Colonel Floyd Graham (Lloyd Bridges), Major William Corrigan (Noah Beery Jr.), Dr. Karl Eckstrom (John Emery of Kronos),  Dr. Lisa Van Horn (Osa Massen), and Harry Chamberlain (Hugh O'Brian) -- take off for the moon but somehow, as if they were Abbott and Costello, wind up on Mars instead. Wandering around in stark, red-tinted landscapes, they discover stone age savages and eventually come to a depressing realization. The decent production values insure that the sets and FX are less cheesy than they are in similar movies, and there's a nice theme by Ferde Grofe [Albert Glasser was musical director]. The picture was also photographed by Karl Struss [Sunrise] and has a downbeat conclusion. Morris Ankrum gives perhaps the best performance as Dr. Fleming back on earth. There are no giant spiders in this although some may feel it could have used them.

Verdict: Not quite serious sci fi but close. ***.

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