Flight to Mars (1951) Color

A Cinecolor film, Flight to Mars was written for the screen by Arthur Strawn, produced by Walter Mirisch for Monogram Pictures and directed by Lesley Selander.

The film features Cameron Mitchell, Arthur Franz, Virginia Huston, and John Litel as American spacemen, Marguerite Chapman appeared as Alita, the leader of the human-like Martian women, and Morris Ankrum as Ikron, the leader of the Martian council.

The film has some similarities to the Russian silent film Aelita. The story involves the arrival on Mars of an American scientific expedition team, who discover an underground-dwelling, dying civilization of Martians.

They are anatomically human, and are suspicious of the earthmen's motives, with the majority of the governing body finally deciding to keep the earthmen prisoner. This film reuses almost all the cabin interior details from Rocketship X-M, except for some of the flight instruments.

Even the spaceflight noises are reused. Similarly, the concepts of spaceflight are those postulated in that earlier film. The main differences are this film postulates a planned flight to Mars, whereas the earlier film postulates an accidental flight to Mars, which accident occurs during a planned flight to the Moon.

Additionally, this film postulates a Martian species which is in many ways superior to Mankind, and poses a long-term, strategic threat.

Whereas the earlier film postulates a Martian species which is pre-literate, and a throw-back, as a consequence of a global nuclear holocaust which occurred many millennia earlier, and poses only an immediate, tactical threat to the voyagers. The space suits appear to have been adapted from those used in Destination Moon, even to the different suit colors.

Although supposedly Super Cinecolor, the extant prints appear to be conventional Cinecolor (two color), and not Super Cinecolor (three color) as was used so successfully in Invaders from Mars. The Wade Williams DVD appears to be made from a 16mm print. 16mm prints of Super Cinecolor features were almost always conventional Cinecolor.

Lost Planet Airmen (1951) B&W

This 1951 film is a feature re-issue of the 1949 12-chapter Republic serial "King of the Rocket Men" edited down to 65 minutes, which basically means that players such as Tom Steele, David Sharpe and Eddie Parker who had as many as four-to-five different roles in the 12-chapter serial only pop up here in two-three different roles but spaced closer together.

Both versions find the diabolical Dr. Vulcan (I. Stanford Jolley) causing the deaths of Professors Drake (Dale Van Sickle)and Millard (James Craven) of Science Associates, a privately-operated desert research project. The "accidents" attract the attention of Glenda Thomas (Mae Clarke), photographer for Miracle Science magazine.

She visits the project and is placated by publicity director Burt Winslow (House Peters, Jr.) and project member Jeff King (Tristram Coffin). Later, Jeff visits a cave where he has been hiding Professor Millard, who wasn't killed but wants it thought he was, so he and Jeff can work on a rocket-propelled flying suit they have invented, with controls limited to "on", "off", "up" and "down" that work very well, thank you.

The Man From Planet X (1951) B&W
Robert Clarke, Margaret Field, Raymond Bond, William Schallert, Roy Engel, Charles Davis, Gilbert Fallman

The Man From Planet X was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer who had directed the Bela Lugosi/Boris Karloff teamup picture The Black Cat in 1934. The film went into production on 13 December 1950 at Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California and wrapped principal photography six days later.

To save money, the film was shot on sets for the 1948 Ingrid Bergman film Joan of Arc, using fog to change moods and locations. Invaders from Mars, The War of the Worlds, and The Thing from Another World all began production around the same time this film was made.

The alien can only communicate using modulated musical sounds, a concept used three decades later in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Both Pat Goldin and dwarf actor Billy Curtis are credited by different sources with playing the role of the alien. Robert Clarke' was paid $350/week for his work on this film.

Plot: A New York City newspaper reporter flies to a remote island off Scotland, on an invitation from a scientist who is a long-time friend, to cover the news of the approach to earth of a previously-unknown planet, which the scientist has called Planet X.

Morning brings news that Prof Elliot is unwell and confined to bed and Lawrence heads to town to get medicine. Meers reports to Elliot that his attempts to communicate with the alien, though it is obvious he has made a break through.

With this knowledge Meers realizes the potential power he now wields, but has to control the alien to make full use of the information. To do this he shut the aliens airflow off till the alien agrees to his demands.

Unsure that Meers is telling the truth, Enid goes to check on the alien. Later when Lawrence returns from the town he looks for Enid, only to discover both she and the alien are missing.

Lawrence equally concerned about Meers agrees to go with him to the ship to see if either Enid or the alien are there. Arriving they see the area is abandoned. Lawrence goes back to town to rally support in case the creature attacks. Meers remains to keep the ship under surveillance.

Lawrence encounters Constable Tommy (Roy Eagle) who is himself looking for the professor. There are a number people from the village missing and the constable wants to know whats going on. Lawrence explains all he knows the officer and townsfolk that have gathered.

The townsfolk are skeptical about the story till the police officer confirms the real reason the professor is in the town. Lawrence goes back to the castle to check on Elliot, but is attacked by two men, now under the control of the alien.

Lawrence figures out the alien is building an army and getting ready to attack the village. He then finds Tommy who tells him the radio and telephones are all out of order and they have no way to contact the outside world until he remembers the heliograph they can use to contact passing ships.

During the next night another two villages are abducted and Lawrence discovers the men have been used to move the ship and fortify the aliens position. Unannounced two strangers appear, Inspector Porter (David Ormont) both from Scotland Yard.

It seems Constable Tommys effort to contact a ship succeeded and the message about the alien threat got through After inspecting the site the two Yard officers agree the only way to stop the alien is to call in the army.

Porter understands that some of the villagers could be at risk and gives Lawrence two hours to save anybody he can. Lawrence concerned about his chances, writes a final account of events this is the point we were at when the flashback began.

Finished he heads out over the moors to see what he can do. Approaching the ship he first finds Prof Eliot and tries to communicate. He discovers Elliot in the same zombie like state he was when they first found the ship.

Playing a hunch he leads Elliot away from the influence of the ship, then tells him to walk straight and he will find safety. Next he locate Meers who refuses to leave and still believes the alien can give him untold power

Meers also explains the aliens intent. Apparently Planet X is a dying world and the aliens are planning to relocate, enslaving Earth with their special rays. Leaving Meers to his own devices, Lawrence works his way around the camp successfully rescuing the other enslaved villages. All he needs now is to find Enid and he can leave.

The alien emerges from the ship sensing something is wrong. Lawrence ambushes him and breaks his breathing equipment, immobilizing the invader. Lawrence then enters the ship and saves Enid. Moments later the two hours are up and the army open fires with rocket launches. Meers realizing the danger tries to help the alien before a shell lands close by and destroys the ship Meers and the alien

Overhead Planet X is seen sweeping across the sky before changing course and heading back to deep space. Enid and Lawrence discuss the situation the next morning, there is clear romantic overtones however their thoughts are tempered by the fact the world can never know what happened on the island.

References and Excerpts:,

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD | Screenplay by Charles Lederer 8/29/1950
Based on the story WHO GOES THERE? by John W. Campbell Jr.

Hawks' film is considered one of the greatest sci-fi classics of the fifties. The film was loosely based on the 1938 novella "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr. The screenplay was by Charles Lederer, with uncredited rewrites from Howard Hawks and Ben Hecht. The film took full advantage of the national feelings of the time to help enhance the horror elements of the story. We actually offer extensive highlights on The Thing From Another World in SFMZ's The Thing Films section.

When Worlds Collide (1951) Color

Starring Barbara Rush, John Hoyt, Peter Hanson, this beloved George Pal (WAR OF THE WORLDS)-produced sci-fi classic won the 1952 Oscars Special Effects and Best Color Cinematography. When Worlds Collide significantly helped launch the '50s sci-fi boom that influenced many of today's filmmakers.

Pilot David Randall (Richard Derr) is paid to fly top-secret photographs from South African astronomer Dr. Emery Bronson (Hayden Rorke) to Dr. Cole Hendron (Larry Keating) in America. Hendron, with the assistance of his daughter Joyce (Barbara Rush), confirms their worst fears´┐ŻBronson has discovered a star named Bellus that is on a collision course with Earth.

Hendron warns the delegates of the United Nations that the end of the world is little more than eight months away. He pleads for the construction of spaceships to transport a lucky few to Zyra, a planet in orbit around Bellus, in the faint hope that it can sustain life and save the human race from extinction. However, other, equally distinguished scientists scoff at his claims, and he is not believed.

Hendron receives help from wealthy humanitarian friends, who arrange a lease on a former proving ground to construct a spaceship. To finance the construction, Hendron is forced to accept money from self-centered, wheelchair-bound industrialist Sidney Stanton (John Hoyt). Stanton demands the right to select the passengers, but Hendron insists that he is not qualified to make those choices and that all he can buy is a single seat on the ark.

Joyce becomes attracted to Randall and prods her father into finding reasons to keep him around, much to the annoyance of her boyfriend, medical doctor Tony Drake (Peter Hansen). The ship's construction is a race against time. As Bellus nears, and Hendron´┐Żs predictions become apparent, former skeptics admit that Hendron is right and governments prepare for the inevitable.

Groups in other nations also begin building ships. Martial law is declared and residents in coastal regions are moved to inland cities. Zyra first makes a close approach, its gravitational attraction causing massive earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tidal waves that wreak havoc. Several people are killed at the construction camp, including Dr. Bronson.

In the aftermath, Drake and Randall travel by helicopter to provide assistance to survivors. When Randall alights to rescue a little boy, Drake has to resist a strong temptation to strand him. As the day of doom approaches, the ship is loaded with food, medicine, microfiche copies of books, equipment, and animals.

Finally, most of the passengers are selected by lottery, though Hendron reserves seats for a handful of people: himself, Stanton, Joyce, Drake, pilot Dr. George Frey (Alden Chase), the young boy who was rescued, and Randall, for his daughter's sake. When a young man turns in his winning ticket because his girl was not selected, Hendron arranges for both to go.

Randall refuses his seat and only pretends to participate in the lottery, believing that he has no useful skills. For Joyce's sake, Drake fabricates a "heart condition" for Frey, making a backup pilot necessary. Randall is the obvious choice. The cynical Stanton becomes increasingly anxious as time passes. Knowing human nature, he fears what the desperate lottery losers might do.

As a precaution, he has stockpiled weapons. Stanton's suspicions prove to be well-founded. His much-abused assistant, Ferris (Frank Cady), tries to get himself added to the crew at gunpoint, only to be shot dead by Stanton. During the final night, the selected passengers and animals are quietly moved to the launch pad to protect them from more violence.

Shortly before takeoff, many of the lottery losers riot, taking up Stanton's weapons to try to force their way aboard. Hendron stays behind at the last moment, forcibly keeping the crippled Stanton and his wheelchair from boarding in order to lighten the spaceship. With an effort born of desperation, Stanton stands up and starts walking in a futile attempt to board the ship before it takes off.

The crew are rendered unconscious by the acceleration and do not witness Earth's collision with Bellus, shown on the television monitor. When Randall comes to and sees Dr. Frey already awake, he realizes he was deceived.

As they approach Zyra, the fuel runs out and Randall has to make an unpowered rough landing. The passengers disembark and find the planet to be habitable. David Randall and Joyce Hendron walk hand in hand to explore their new home.

50's SCI-FI - 1952 > > >












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