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Monday, June 21, 2010

Flight to Mars - 1951

In a nutshell, five astronauts fly to Mars where they discover advanced and seemingly friendly inhabitants. Unbeknownst to our heroes their hosts plan to use their spaceship's technology to help them invade Earth. As expected, the clever Earth people outwit the Martians and return safely to Earth.

Inspired by the successes of "Destination Moon" and "Rocketship X-M" the year before, Monogram pictures slapped together this poorly written bit of fluff in five days and it shows. Lots of stock footage, space suits from "Destination Moon" and a rocketship interior borrowed from "Rocketship X-M" are good indications of a pretty low budget.

Now don't get me wrong, I love this picture. In fact, I bet I've seen it twenty times. The acting is a bit wooden, the direction by Lesley Selander is plodding and methodical and the writing is bad but it has one thing going for it -- A hot Martian woman in a micro-mini-skirt. If you love long legged former models turned actresses ( and who doesn't? ) then you'll absolutely fall in love with Marguerite Chapman ( also in "The Amazing Transparent Man"). She's an absolute knock out. While Miss Chapman had no aspirations of becoming a model or an actress she went on to make more than thirty pictures and even has a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Cameron Mitchell is the jaded newspaper reporter who tags along to record the trip for posterity. Mitchell is probably best known for playing Buck Cannon on the TV western "The High Chaparral." (Any one else out there old enough to remember that one? Any one? Any one?)

Also starring Arthur Franz ("Invaders from Mars", 1953 and "The Atomic Submarine", 1959), Virginia Huston, John Litel and Morris Ankrum ("Earth versus the Flying Saucers", 1956, "Invaders from Mars", 1953) as Ikron, the friendly Martian scientist.

Favorite quote: Steve Aboott (Mitchell) -- "Dr. Lane, I once heard of a man who climbed a higher mountain than anyone else alive, but he was never able to get down again. What's left of him is still up there."
Dr. Lane -- "The point is, Steve, he made it."