Queen of Outer Space (1958)
Hello, everybody. I used a new method to select today's movie. During the course of our discussion on what movie deserved MMT's next review, Nate pointed out that in the A-Z review list, there were no entries for either Q or X. Well, such a shameful situation couldn't be allowed to continue, so I decided to remedy the situation. But how? I couldn't think of any movies, bad or otherwise, that started with either Q or X. Then I thought, "I know, I'll Google "science fiction movies beginning with Q." I wasn't really expecting to find anything, but to my surprise there are people out there who've put together alphabetized lists of science-fiction and horror movies and posted them on the Internet. This is not something I'd ever want to do myself, even if I were snowbound for a year, but I'm grateful that somebody did. As it happens, most of the science-fiction movies beginning with "Q" are Chinese, but I did find one that is a) in English, b) available for free on the Internet, and c) bad. And that, folks, is why I'm reviewing Queen of Outer Space. (Update: Sorry, guys. It seems this movie is still under copyright after all, and shortly after I started this review, Warner Brothers removed it from all Internet sites. It may be back soon, though.)
When I checked out its Wikipedia entry and saw that Zsa Zsa Gabor played one of the main characters, I thought, "I sure picked the right movie, this is going to be really bad." After the first few minutes, I was beginning to wonder. Oh, the movie starts off promisingly enough, with a rocket ship poised to take off upright in the standard 1950s way. No surprises there. But then we go inside one of the buildings at the space center to meet the astronauts who will be carrying out the mission, and I notice that the set actually looks pretty good. Somebody put a little thought into designing a building that looks as though it's a real office building sometime in the future, as opposed to a motel room or schoolroom of today slightly redressed. The furniture and the walls look solid, something which is so often not the case in cheap movies. The astronauts' uniforms are an original design and are well-made, instead of being something purchased at a local thrift store and inexpertly made over to look "spacy." The movie was filmed in color, somewhat uncommon for a low-budget movie in the 1950s. To top it all off, the actors are reciting their lines convincingly, and it sounds as though they're working from an actual script, not making things up as they go along. What's going on here? Is this not a B-movie? Am I wasting my time on something that might actually be...somewhat good?
The clue lies in opening frames, where "Allied Artists" is given as the company that made this movie. A quick search of the Internet shows that Allied Artists was the successor to Monogram, a Poverty Row movie studio that was notorious for cranking out cheap movies carefully designed to make a profit. However, the movies were cheap only in comparison to those produced by the big studios such as MGM and Paramount. Compared to the budget for movies such as Planet of Dinosaurs, the budget for a Monogram/Allied Artists movie was generous. Also, the studio had some talented people to draw on, being in the habit of hiring good people who for some reason the larger studios didn't want to employ. For instance, there was producer Walter Wanger, who was married to Joan Bennett, and was blacklisted by the major studios after he shot her agent, believing she was having an affair with him. According to Wikipedia, he was the one who first came up with the idea of making this movie. The studio was able to hire good actors who were "between pictures," which has been known to happen to the best of actors. In the 1950s, Allied Artists even made a few big-budget movies with A-list actors until it decided this kind of movie wasn't profitable enough. So there's reason to believe that this movie might not be terrible enough to fit in with the bottom-of-the-barrel-type movies MMT lives to tear apart. I'm depressed.
A quick rush to IMDb cheers me up a little. Zsa Zsa Gabor is the only one of the actors I've heard of, although some of the other actors had decent careers playing minor character parts. The only other actor of any note is the handsome Eric Fleming, who plays Captain Patterson. Shortly after this movie was made, he was cast as one of the stars of the TV show Rawhide, and he enjoyed some success until he tragically drowned on a movie shoot in 1966. And after all, Cat-Women of the Moon had some actors with similar backgrounds, and it was certainly prime MMT fodder, so this movie could turn out to be equally awful. The plot might be full of holes. Zsa Zsa Gabor might, no, almost certainly will, turn out to be a rotten actress. There's still hope, so on to the movie.
Zsa Zsa was always more fluff than substance, but that's what Hollywood wanted back then (and even now).
As I mentioned, the movie opens at a rocket launch site. It's set sometime in the future, judging from the afore-mentioned costumes and interior design, but not so far in the future that wristwatches are obsolete. Reel-to-reel tape players are also still in use, smoking is common, and the hairstyles of 1958 appear to be enjoying a revival. A sign shows that the site is owned by the U.S. Government, so we can breathe a sigh of relief that the Godless Commies haven't taken over the world. Three astronauts are being briefed on their mission, which turns out to be unexciting: Captain Patterson, Lieutenant Cruze, and Lieutenant Turner will be conveying Professor Konrad to Space Station A, which we're told he designed and built. The astronauts are disappointed. There's an exploratory mission setting out for Mars, and they'd much prefer being on it to being glorified cab drivers. However, they defer to the judgment of their superior officer, and he promises them they'll have a chance to go on the mission after they deliver Professor Konrad. We get a tantalizing hint that something bad (i.e., exciting) is going on at the space station, and this is the reason Professor Konrad has to go there. This is clearly a military organization, not a civilian research group, and the astronauts salute and don't argue.
Our intrepid crew, the Captain (L), Cruze (C), and Turner (R).
The Professor shouldn't have eaten those shrimp tacos before lift-off.
However, once inside the rocket, it's a different story. Lieutenant Cruze, who is shorter and not as good-looking as his two comrades, grumbles that this mission is beneath them. We can gather from his conversation that space travel is fairly common but not routine. The rocket interior finally gives us a sign that this is indeed a B-movie, since the ship walls are clearly made of very thin metal, maybe even cloth painted to look like metal, and there are wrinkles in the walls here and there. Also, the chairs in which the crew will ride are recliners, slightly fancied up with metal plates over the chair arms.
Love the minimalist approach to critical gauges.
Sure, that looks safe.
It appears that Lieutenant Turner is going to be the movie's designated ladies' man, and he's too busy kissing his blonde girlfriend (who is stunning, I must admit) to remember his mission, until Captain Patterson spots them outside the ship and orders him to come in. It appears that they really are right outside the ship, which suggests a lack of security at the space facility. Possibly they were less paranoid in 1958 than we are today. By the way, Larry's girlfriend is played by Joi Lansing, a gorgeous platinum blonde whose main talent was being a gorgeous platinum blonde. She played Reef Holloway's girlfriend in The Atomic Submarine, a minor uncredited part like the one she played in this movie.
OMG, is that Hillary Clinton in a wig when she was 25? Seriously, isn't that Hillary Clinton? Or does Chelsea have a time machine?
Once everybody's aboard, they all strap down, and the rocket ship is launched. A little too much time is spent on watching the ship take off, but it does give the opportunity to insert a couple of shots of Joi Lansing in a low-cut dress, watching as her boyfriend heads into the wild blue yonder. Once in space, the astronauts and the Professor chat a little, and we learn that the space station was built "22 years ago, in July 1963." Captain Patterson takes the opportunity to inquire further about the "trouble" he heard about on the space station. It turns out that the trouble isn't what the space station crew is doing, but rather what they're seeing. The Professor doesn't go into detail, but it seems there have been indications that there is other life in space, life which may threaten Earth. Around this time, Lieutenant Cruze spots several white beams zipping past the rocket ship. The crew is at a loss to know what these beams could be, which isn't surprising, since there's no sign of anything that could be firing them and they come from all angles. But it gets worse: one hits the space station, and it blows up. Then it gets worse yet, as the beams start coming toward the rocket ship. Finally, in some laughably bad special effects (cartoon beams and a small plastic model), the rocket ship is caught in the beam and shaken up, then goes we know not where, because finally, after nearly 15 minutes, the credits appear.
Bicycle tire space station about to go all explodey.
The inertial dampeners must be broken.
Zsa Zsa Gabor is listed first, followed by Eric Fleming and a bunch of people I've never heard of, but I note that Charles Beaumont wrote the screenplay. I've read many of his short stories and was impressed by them, and he also wrote some good Twilight Zone episodes. I'm curious to see if this movie is anything like as good as his Twilight Zone episodes.
Note that the 1st AD is the notorious William "One Shot" Beaudine, future B-movie schlockmeister and an MMT favorite.
But back to the rocket ship. If you were afraid it was going to blow up like the space station, don't worry. It's pulled down by the beams toward a cratered planet (and is still a cheap plastic model) until it lands on its side in a pile of snow and the astronauts struggle out of their recliners, all except the Captain, who seems to be hurt. Their "gravity indicator" shows that the gravity wherever they are is a little too low for them to be on Earth. It's just occurred to me that the guys are still standing on the "floor," the same way they did back at the space center when the rocket ship was standing upright. But never mind that, the combination of craters and snow suggested something to me. Could this be the Secret Nazi Moonbase?
We never see or hear of all that snow again, by the way.
Why doesn't anyone believe?!?
If it is, it's much better landscaped than I pictured it. We see blue skies, and lots of trees and bushes, which do a lot, although not enough, to disguise the fact this is a soundstage, not outdoors. If you're wondering what happened to the snow, they mention that they hiked down below the snowline, quite a feat considering that they did it in the clothes they were wearing, without so much as changing into hiking boots, let alone warm clothing. However, the astronauts did think to check to make sure the atmosphere was breathable before they left the spaceship, I'll give them credit for that (and deduct points from the Professor, who blithely assumed that since the gravity was close to that of Earth, the atmosphere must therefore be breathable). In addition to being a space station designer, the Professor is also an expert botanist, because he can tell right away by looking at a few leaves that they're on Venus. The Captain's recovered enough to ask how the heck they got 26,000,000 miles away from Earth. The Professor, smartyhead that he is, replies that all things are possible in space, and after all, since they were unconscious, they don't know how fast they were traveling or how long they were unconscious. Hmm. Are there no clocks aboard? What about those wristwatches? The astronauts don't think to check their watches, but Lieutenant Cruze points out that Venus is supposed to have an unbreathable atmosphere, a cloud layer so thick that sunlight can't penetrate it, and a surface temperature higher than the boiling point of water. Instead of thinking that this could mean they're on some planet other than Venus, the Professor shrugs and says that obviously those who thought so were mistaken. Since this suggests that no human has ever visited Venus, I don't know how the Professor knew what Venusian leaves look like, but after all, he has a Ph.D and I merely have an M.S.
Squeeze in, boys, this set is pretty small.
It's been very quiet so far, with no signs of even insects, and they're wondering if there's anything but plant life on Venus, when they hear a loud mechanical "Wheep-wheep-wheep" sound. The Professor deduces reasonably enough that this is not a natural sound and must have been made by intelligent beings of some sort, so they proceed hopefully. However, they see nothing, and they make camp for the night.
A lot of zany comedy bits in the script, lamentably.
Day comes, with Lieutenant Cruze on watch and the other three asleep. He's not the best of sentries, and he's nodding off when three pairs of miniskirted legs appear. Several more women sneak up, all wearing very short-skirted dresses with low-cut tops, and all clutching weapons that look suspiciously like slightly modified drills and caulking guns. Three of them grab Cruze, and when Turner reaches for the gun that's lying next to him, one fires a weapon that sets it on fire (amazing technology, since Turner's gun appeared to be made of metal). The girls appear quite unfriendly and shove the guys around a little as they march them away. I point out that they leave the fire from the gun still burning as they go, a bad idea in a heavily-wooded area. If you were wondering, the girls speak English, although they throw in the occasional unfamiliar, presumably Venusian, word.
Top view (acceptable).
Bottom view (preferable).
We switch to a poorly-done matte of a city that looks vaguely Middle Eastern. We haven't seen any men other than our space travelers yet, and we don't see any inside the city. There are a lot of other girls watching the little procession, and most of them don't look friendly. In fact, one shrieks, "I hate them!" as she attacks Lieutenant Cruze. Their guards drag her off, and they proceed to what will turn out to be the Council Room of the Queen of this city, and possibly of all Venus. The Council Room is bare and sparsely furnished, although it's cheerfully painted in a bright shade of coral. Perhaps the city is poor, and this is the best they can do for their Queen.
Arabic domes and Byzantine turrets, nice.
Hey, it's Kitty Foreman from That '70s Show!
The men are standing around, speculating on the absence of men, when in walks the Queen herself, Ylliana. She seems to have looked to Lucy Ricardo for inspiration on her royal robes, as she's wearing a black top and close-fitting pants, topped with an open gold floor-length vest. However, one thing is her own inspiration: she's accessorized her ensemble with a silver mask that covers her whole face, and perhaps as a sign of her queenship, the top of her mask has wire curlicues sprouting out of it. Her staff of four accompanies her. These women are wearing miniskirts, which seem to be the standard attire in this city, and masks, although theirs don't have any curlicues.
The Queen (try not to snicker).
Wow, is that Adele's younger sister?
Ylliana introduces herself, and the Captain remarks on how everybody is speaking English. Ylliana explains condescendingly that they've been monitoring Earth radio waves for years. The Captain asks her for help repairing their spaceship, while Turner ogles the girls. However, Ylliana doesn't want to let the men leave, fearing that they'll return to make war on Venus. The Captain denies any intention of attacking Venus, and the argument is raging as we switch to a laboratory.
You'd think there would be more in the way of decorative wall sconces and matching drapery tie-backs.
This screen cap pretty much sums up this entire movie...
It appears to be a chemistry lab, as we see variously-colored liquids in (authentic) laboratory glassware. It actually looks like a real chemistry lab, and there are pieces of plants lying around, so the research must have something to do with Venus plant life. The head researcher is a silver-haired woman named Talleah, who is played by Zsa Zsa Gabor. I must say she's wearing the coolest white lab coat ever. It's skin-tight, made of some stretchy material, and fastens up one side with a row of large silver buttons. She's also wearing a couple of silver bracelets which may have some scientific function, or not. Zsa Zsa Gabor has always been secretive about her real age, but she was almost certainly born no later than 1917, which would make her around 40 when she made this movie, but she doesn't look it at all. Granted, she was wearing a ton of makeup, but still...Back to the movie. When she's told that the Queen has had the men locked up, she looks thoughtful and says she wants to talk to them. She doesn't sound hostile, and the blonde woman who brought her the news seems rather smitten by the men. Maybe not all of the women are man-haters after all?
Talleah, making up a batch of Kool-aid samplers.
In their cell the men are discussing the situation. The cell is by no means a dank dungeon. It's quite spacious, well-lit, and even contains a table and chairs. In fact it's pleasant, which seems strange considering how the Queen and most of the women seem to hate men so much. The men have come to the conclusion that the Venusians must have been the ones who fired the rays that destroyed the space station and knocked their ship off course. In view of this unprovoked hostility, the men seem surprisingly unconcerned. Turner is wondering how a bunch of women could have invented such a weapon, and Cruze is wondering how they could aim it, but this seems to be less 1950s sexism and more a sign of the juvenile humor that's beginning to creep into what started out as a serious science fiction movie.
Continuing the Hollywood tradition of ultra-uncomfortable alien chairs.
Talleah now makes her appearance in the cell. The guards let her in with no protest, suggesting that she's a person of importance in this city. She's taken the time to change out of her lab coat and into a glamorous red chiffon evening dress, not a miniskirt but slit up very high on one side, and has accessorized it with what look to be enormous diamonds. Science must pay well on Venus, maybe I should move there. She informs the men that their lives are in great danger, which is surely no surprise to them, and says she may be able to help them. (I have to say that although the Queen and everybody else at court seem to have been monitoring American radio broadcasts, Talleah must have chosen to monitor Hungarian radio broadcasts. She's the only one we'll see with any accent other than plain ol' Midwestern America.) She explains that the source of the women's hostility to men is the result of a war that happened ten years ago. The men on Venus picked a fight with the planet "Mordo" (what planet is this, and how could Earth have missed the war?). It was a savage war, and even though Venus won, most of its cities were destroyed. Ylliana led a revolt and managed to take over Venus, killing most of the men but banishing a few of the most valuable, such as scientists and mathematicians, to "Tyrus," which it seems is a moon of Venus. Of course all you readers are saying that Venus doesn't have any moons, but you probably also thought it was very hot, with an unbreathable atmosphere and a thick cloud cover, didn't you? Well, see, you were wrong!
Talleah has an attentive audience.
Talleah repeats that Ylliana wants to destroy the Earth, and the men are pretty bummed, since they figure if the Venusian energy beam could destroy the space station, it could also destroy the Earth. They're looking downcast, when the guards come in and announce that the Queen wants to see the Captain. The Professor tells him that Ylliana couldn't take her eyes off him earlier, and he thinks she may be planning something a little less unpleasant than an interrogation. (I don't blame her, Eric Fleming is by far the best-looking of all the actors.) The Captain scoffs, and Turner nobly offers to take the Captain's place and romance the Queen instead, but the guards will accept no substitutes and march him off. Talleah, who hid when the guards came in, is not happy to see the Captain on his way to visit the Queen. She pouts and spits, "I hate that Queen!" before stomping out.
Spray-painted Styrofoam looks just like it sounds.
Once in the Queen's bedroom, the Captain finds Ylliana friendlier than she was earlier. She offers him wine and reclines on the bed. (There's a bowl of very Earth-like fruit on a table in the background.) She's changed into a sparkly silver dress, which like Talleah's has a long skirt slit very far up the leg, and when she turns her back you can see that the Venusians have adopted the Earthly zipper. However, she's still wearing her mask. The Captain does his best to butter her up, and she seems to be responding, until he asks her to take off her mask. Then she gets mad and begins to accuse him again of wanting to attack Venus. He starts to woo her again, but unfortunately he decides to take her mask off himself. Her face is a horrendous sight, or it's supposed to be. Actually it's supposed to be covered with scar tissue and open sores, but the makeup isn't as convincing as it could be. It looks more like somebody spread a coat of thick flesh-colored latex on her face and then splattered her with red and black paint, which is probably pretty much what the makeup artist did do. It's an ugly sight, but probably not in quite the way the filmmakers meant it to be. While I'm on the subject, her hair doesn't look that great either, sort of dry and overbleached. But back to Ylliana, who says those are radiation burns on her face, caused by men and their wars. The Captain's romantic urges seem to have dwindled for some reason, and as he turns away from her, Ylliana summons the guards to take him away. Once he's gone, she looks in the mirror and collapses in tears.
The Queen goes all Catherine Tramell on us.
My eyes! Ahhh! My precious eyes!
Back in the cell, the Professor opines that the radiation that scarred Ylliana's face also affected her mind. They're all wondering what to do, when two guards come in, saying that they're friends of the Earthlings and are going to take them to Talleah. Talleah's back in her lab with a couple of friends and gives the men the cheery news that Ylliana is going to destroy the Earth in two days. She's planning to use something called a "Beta Disintegrator," which is inconveniently located deep in the jungle, at some distance from the city. With no discussion at all, the men decide to sally forth and destroy it. Since the guards we've seen seem pretty tough, I'd say that four men against a lot of them don't have a very good chance, but I'll let you in on a secret: Ylliana gave the captain a glimpse of it when he was in her bedroom, and all it is is a big cardboard box (the special-effects budget must have run out). The captain, of course, realizes that it'll be child's play to destroy it; after all, all they need is a lighted match (JOKE!). One of the guards summons the other guards away, and our gallant band sets forth, accompanied by the three women, who insist on coming along.
Getting cozy in the closet.
The dreaded Beta Disintegrator. Seriously.
There's suspense and exciting background music as they proceed to the disintegrator. Along the way they have to hide frequently from guards and searchlights, giving the men and women a chance to get closer, each man paired with a woman -- all except for the Professor, who's the lone man out and has to overcome his fears by himself. It seems to me the women are getting awfully close to these men awfully fast, considering they've just met them, but since they haven't seen any men at all for over ten years, maybe that's understandable. There's a brief moment of excitement when they have to hide in a cave, and Turner is attacked by the most pathetically fake giant spider ever seen in a movie. I think it was made out of vinyl (the special-effects budget must have really run out). The bold Captain sets it on fire with his Venusian pistol, which seems to be set for giant spiders, not humans, as it burns the "spider" to ashes but leaves Turner not even scorched.
John Cryer's older brother is about to score heavy.
Ha, that's funny. Though the actor sells it well, I must say.
After that stressful event -- Why are you laughing? If a big vinyl spider jumped out at you, wouldn't you be upset? -- the three happy couples plus the seventh wheel relax by a fire. Presumably the search parties have moved elsewhere for now. Many sweet words are spoken, much spit is swapped, until the Professor goes outside to get firewood and sees a bunch of guards on their trail. They can't get away and there are too many of them to fight off, so, thinking quickly, the Captain tells the women to take the guns and act as though they captured the men. The guards buy this, and everybody marches back to the city. The Queen is informed of the happy news, and she sends the prisoners to her bedroom (!) and shows to up gloat a little more over their helplessness. Unfortunately for her, she chose to come alone, and Talleah pulls a gun on her.
Interspecies love, baby!
The Captain demands that Ylliana drop her plans to destroy the earth, and Talleah wants all the men on Tyrus released. Ylliana is smart enough to know when she's outnumbered, and she collapses on her bed but slowly moves her hand under a pillow to yank out a gun. I can only imagine the level of paranoia that leads somebody with a lot of guards to stash a pistol in her bed, but maybe Ylliana knows that a lot of her subjects aren't happy. Fortunately for our heroes, Ylliana is a bad shot, and they're able to get the gun away from her. But she may be down, but she's not out. She says smugly that she's the only one who can give the order to stop the destruction of Earth. Talleah says she's right, but Talleah has a plan: she takes Ylliana's mask and puts on one of her dresses. Not a bad idea, although if somebody looks closely, they'll notice that the "Queen's" hair has changed color from bleached blonde to silver. Ylliana doesn't give up without a fight, and it becomes necessary for the men to tie her up and stash her behind a conveniently-located screen.
Yes, please do hide your face.
The Captain stumbles upon the Queen's stash of..."reference material".
Talleah sends the other two women to the beta disintegrator to make contact with some of the women there who are loyal to her. Alas, before Talleah and the men can get going, in come the guards. Talleah again holds a gun on the men and tells the guards to leave (and nobody notices that her voice most definitely does not sound anything like the Queen's), but unfortunately Ylliana manages to knock over the screen and alert the guards. The guards hold the men at bay while Ylliana hastily recovers her mask. She must be a real glutton for punishment, because she again tries cozying up to the Captain without her mask on. (Watch as some of the guards grimace and turn away when they see this.) He pulls away again, and she storms out, back to the beta disintegrator. The guards take the men along to witness the Queen's triumph. (Considering that Talleah said earlier that the beta disintegrator was "deep within the jungle," there's been a lot of travel between it and the city.) There's a little note of realism in the fact that ever since Turner was attacked by the spider, he's had a scrape on his forehead and his uniform is dirty. I wonder if this was done on purpose, or if it happened accidentally and there wasn't another uniform available for the actor to change into.
Drama in the Queen's chambers!
A nice shot of the rare Venusian redhead.
I lose all faith in the Captain, although I gain respect for Eric Fleming's acting ability, when he looks at that pitiful cardboard beta disintegrator, surrounded by other mysterious structures also made out of the finest cardboard, and says that this can certainly destroy the Earth. It's also very obviously on an indoor soundstage, without even an attempt to disguise the fact. Ylliana, however, sees nothing lacking in her great scientific achievement, and she gets in a little more gloating and wastes a little more time. This woman really should have read "The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became an Evil Overlord." However, all hope may not be lost, for we see Cruze's and Turner's girlfriends, along with several other women, peeking around a corner. Ylliana goes to a control panel located outside the cardboard structure, and here we see the Venusians' stellar engineering abilities, because so powerful a weapon of destruction is controlled by only two large black buttons! Truly an example of streamlined operating functions.
Duh, it was made by girls...
The cavalry arrives.
However, something doesn't sound right. Instead of powering up smoothly, whatever controls the disintegrator sounds ragged. Ylliana punches the buttons again, to no avail, and at the same time we see Turner's girlfriend nod to Talleah. There's a small explosion and a burst of flame inside the disintegrator, and Ylliana foolishly rushes in. For some reason it has a lot more controls inside (then why were any controls at all outside?), and Ylliana pushes and shoves them frantically. Take a good look at the levers, they must have been somebody's idea of a joke. Meantime, a fight between the menlovers and the menhaters erupts outside the disintegrator. From the expressions on their faces, they may be fighting for real, but if so the actors must have been told to keep it down to pushing, shoving, and trying to grab weapons. The men and the menlovers have just overcome the menhaters, when more sparks and flames erupt inside the disintegrator. Finally there's an explosion and a large gout of flame, and when the smoke clears away, all that's left of Ylliana is a charred body.
The Queen enters the sex toy room...er, I mean the control room, to no avail.
For 1958 this is pretty graphic (actually extremely graphic for a 1950s movie).
Back at the palace again, and it seems that Talleah is the new queen. All is not happiness, however, because the men's ship has been repaired, and duty calls. They must return to Earth and leave their girlfriends behind. Some of them (the Captain and Cruze) seem sorrier than others (Turner). They promise to return soon, and some of them (the Captain and Cruze) seem more sincere than others (Turner). Fortunately, in addition to repairing the spaceship, the Venusians have also repaired the "Earth televiewer." Once the men are in contact with their commanding officer, he informs them that he's decided that it's too dangerous to try to return home in their spaceship and says they'll have to stay on Venus until a relief party from Earth arrives. This could take up to a year, which news the men take with a certain amount (a lot) of glee. Especially the Professor, who now has not one but six women kissing him. And so we fade out to a happy ending.
Eek, not her best look.
After getting blue-balled all movie long, the wrinkly old Professor finally (finally!) gets some lovin'.
I can reassure all MMT readers that despite my initial fears, this was indeed a B-movie. I suppose it's just not possible for filmmakers, most of whom are male, to play the "planet of women but no men" stereotype in a reasonable manner. The women always end up being horny enough to jump on anything in pants, or bloodthirsty vixens intent on exterminating everything male. Or sometimes, as in the case of Ylliana, both. The bad science is par for the B-movie course, since when you throw together a movie in a short time there's neither the time nor the money to consult any experts on spaceflight. What really wasn't necessary in this movie, though, was the juvenile humor that started seeping in once the men came into contact with the women. And some of it was very juvenile -- check out the levers in the Beta Disintegrator. There seems to have been a reason for the yuk-yuk: the director, Edward Bernds, spent a good portion of his career directing Three Stooges movies.
As I mentioned earlier, Charles Beaumont wrote the screenplay for this movie, and I'm sorry to say that it's certainly not up to the writing he did for Twilight Zone. I have one bit of praise -- Zsa Zsa Gabor was a better actress than I thought she'd be, and she's probably the reason this movie hasn't disappeared as completely as most B-movies of its period have. This isn't a truly bad movie, not in the way Track of the Moon Beast was bad, but it's certainly not a must-see. It just occurred to me that part of its appeal was probably the young miniskirted women, since in 1958 men weren't yet used to seeing so much leg on display any place but the beach. The color helped quite a bit to make the sets look more appealing than they were. And having damned this movie with faint praise, I close.
The Queen will Destruct-O-Zap you if you don't like this movie.
Written in December 2012 by Pam Burda.
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