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".
Are they...
A. Invisible energy beings? (cheapskate film producers love 'em!)
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.