Red Planet Mars (1952)
Peter Graves and Andrea King star as husband and wife
Chris and Lynda Croyn in this 1952 movie about first contact with the planet
Mars. Chris is a radio-scientist who has built a super telegraph
which is capable of sending signals to the red planet. When the Martian
replies are decoded, Russians and Americans are pushed to the very brink
of mutual destruction. While the description may sound pretty exciting,
something is lost on the way to the silver screen. There are no spaceships
or ray guns. We never actually see or hear the Martians whose transmissions
are presented as wavy lines on an oscilloscope.
The entire film is about mankind's over-reaction to these
wavy lines. Seems like there's not much to distinguish this film
from any of the other bargain basement disappointments of the 50's.
Or is there?
See if you can guess which three-word phrase best describes
the inhabitants of "Red Planet Mars".
A. Invisible energy beings? (cheapskate film producers
B. Little green men? (the kiddies love 'em!)
C. Leggy space babes? (daddies love 'em!)
D. God fearing Christians (Ding!)
That's right, what we have here is a bona-fide cold war
propaganda film in which the Martians tell us that they have achieved perfection
by following the teachings of the Almighty and that if we Americans will
just get back to our religious roots, go to church, and pray hard enough,
then by golly those nasty Russians will just disappear in a sulfurous cloud
of evil! And it works! The Americans in this film are all decent people
and the Russian officials are all moustache-twirling villains. It's just
that simple. This film has to have been brought to us by the folks to advised
us to duck-and-cover, and to avoid reefer madness.
"Red Planet Mars" is a unique slice of cold war Americana,
but as a sci-fi film it only rates a three out of ten.