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Friday, December 15, 2017

Spoiler: We Don't Go To Mars


Red Planet Mars (1952) Never Lifts Off

God, as in Him, sends messages from Mars, or is it Mars? At least I think that's how Red Planet Mars goes. Channel 8 ran it once on their weekday movie and the host promised at the end that they'd never show such a lousy picture again. Severe a posture, but not by much. You'd be remiss even calling Mars sci-fi, though technically it is that. Forget rockets or spacemen, there are none. Anyone who grew up in the monster-mad 60's got burnt by Red Planet Mars at least once. No wonder Channel 8 took it out of rotation. Much of the yarn, based on an early 30's play, was amended to Cold War setting, but we'd lots rather focus on Martian concerns than Soviet ones. You could credit Red Planet Mars for serious intent; this is no bug-eye creature feature, but wouldn't we like it more, then or now, if it were? There is endless babble over morality of communicating with Mars, quite overlooking our having paid admission for precisely that. If you're going to watch a movie called Red Planet Mars, it had damn well better be about going there or having them come here. To get neither is a plain cheat, and by the by, 1952 audiences must have concurred --- the pic got but $183K in domestic rentals.

13 Comments:

Blogger Mike Cline said...

As a mutual friend once told us, "No one ever sets out to make a bad movie." Sorry, but I never agreed with that statement.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Thank you for saving us from checking this out.

11:16 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from watching. RED PLANET MARS does have a lot of curiosity interest, and the MGM channel has run it in HD from time to time. RPM can be enjoyed provided you don't go in expecting sci-fi as we more typically enjoy it, as in spaceships and aliens.

11:24 AM  
Blogger phil smoot said...

Red Planet Mars is communist-under-our-beds propaganda done badly.
Really awful movie with god(?) or something sort-of coming through (poorly) in the (disastrous) end (as in really bizarre!)

1:53 PM  
Blogger Joe Dante said...

It's actually a sincere, pretty well made if bonkers movie, which ran constantly on NY television in the 50s and 60s. If you can accept the looney premise it's quite entertaining and looks cool (the director was former art director Harry Horner, father of composer James Horner). It's also chock full of favorite character actors!

5:20 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

RED PLANET MARS in HD does have a nice, high-contrast atmosphere about it, and I actually like the divine intervention theme, which is certainly not a feature in most sci-fi, or movies period. To say the least, its solution is not an expected one. I blame Jerry Merritt at Channel 8 for putting me sour on RPM ... he should have stuck to glib hosting and Dialing-For-Dollars. Ever started a day disdaining a show and then finish with determination to watch again? I'm there ... but now comes locating a broadcast or stream in HD. Should have preserved MGM's last run on the hard drive. Live and learn.

6:37 PM  
Blogger phil smoot said...

Sorry, John, but I think Red Planet Mars is nothing more than commies are bad and god is working from Mars and doing it for us here in the USA.
A propaganda story that Ed Wood could have made more fun with the money that this (B but much bigger B than any Ed Wood) production had going for it.

12:29 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

No disagreement that it misses, but RED PLANET MARS is at least different, or tries to be. And yes, Ed Wood might have done wonders with it.

4:01 AM  
Blogger lmshah said...


Funny, I always thought RED PLANET MARS should double-bill with William Wellman's THE NEXT VOICE YOU HEAR......


RICHARD M ROBERTS

5:27 AM  
Blogger CanadianKen said...

I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Dante. This is one I've always enjoyed. Good looking. Solid performances. One of a kind premise. I'm ready for the Blu-ray.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Randy Jepsen said...

This & THE NEXT VOICE YOU HEAR are bottom of the barrel in my book.

8:39 PM  
Blogger lmshah said...


Yeah, those movies about nice people with a nice message about people being nice to each other sure suck.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

9:40 PM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

I kind of like "The Next Voice You Hear", but "Red Planet Mars" struck me as hilariously wacky. So I suppose I liked it in a different kind of way.

3:42 PM  

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