Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Robinson Crusoe on Mars

3.9 14
Director: Byron Haskin

Cast: Byron Haskin, Paul Mantee, Vic Lundin, Adam West

     
 

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While it wasn't a box-office success, Byron Haskin's 1964 sci-fi epic Robinson Crusoe On Mars has earned a cult following among genre fans over the years, thanks to its beautiful photography and production design as well as its understated wit and subtle intelligence, and in 1994 the Criterion Collection released the movie on laserdisc. Thirteen years later,See more details below

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Overview

While it wasn't a box-office success, Byron Haskin's 1964 sci-fi epic Robinson Crusoe On Mars has earned a cult following among genre fans over the years, thanks to its beautiful photography and production design as well as its understated wit and subtle intelligence, and in 1994 the Criterion Collection released the movie on laserdisc. Thirteen years later, Criterion has upgraded Robinson Crusoe On Mars to DVD, with some new bells and whistles added to flesh out the package. Robinson Crusoe On Mars has been given a new widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic play on 16x9 monitors. The transfer beautifully captures the richly saturated colors of Winton C. Hoch's camera work, as well as enough detail to reveal some minor flaws in the film's special effects. The disc retains the film's original monophonic sound mix in Dolby Digital Mono (which sounds splendid, especially the score by Van Cleave), while the dialogue is in English, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. The commentary track Criterion put together for the 1994 laserdisc edition has been resurrected for this DVD release; it features contributions from leading men Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin, the film's original production designer Al Nozaki, and Robert Skotak, a special effects man and fan of the film who explains how the movie's illusions were created. While Byron Haskin died in 1994, Criterion also allowed him to contribute to the commentary through excerpts from an American Film Institute interview conducted in 1979. Other bonus features include a new documentary, Destination: Mars, which compares the science seen in the film with what was known about Mars in 1964 and what is known today; the film's original theatrical trailer; a music video for the song "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" (written and performed by Victor Lundin), and a gallery of production photos and design sketches, including illustrations of creatures that don't appear in the finished film. Finally, eighty pages of excerpts from Ib Melchoir's original screenplay are included as a PDF file accessible on computers with DVD-ROM drives, and Robert Skotak contributes an entertaining essay to the disc's booklet. Fans of Sixties sci-fi will consider this an essential purchase, and anyone with an interest in this movie will be impressed with the commitment to quality Criterion has brought to this release.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although its title suggests that this is a film to avoid, Robinson Crusoe on Mars is actually surprisingly good. Although a considerable financial failure at the time (despite general critical approval), Crusoe has gained quite a cult reputation over the years and is deservedly beloved by science fiction aficionados. Remarkably faithful in spirit to the Daniel Defoe novel, Crusoe benefits from an intelligent screenplay that celebrates the human spirit and its resilience without becoming arch or preachy. It also tells an exciting story, with carefully drawn characters (even when one of those characters talks very little). Director Byron Haskin does an excellent job of conveying the loneliness, isolation, and desperation that the Robinson Crusoe character (actually one Commander Chris Draper), feels, as well as the pride and pleasure at his accomplishments in surviving. Haskin also sensitively handles the relationship between Commander Draper and runaway slave Friday, so that it develops into a friendship rather than a master-servant arrangement. Winton Hoch's excellent cinematography is a decided plus, giving a low budget film a very believable look and making Death Valley resemble a very credible Mars. And Paul Mantee turns in very solid work as Crusoe, anchoring the film in a crucial way. A delightful and uplifting film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars deserves a much wider audience.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/18/2007
UPC:
0715515025621
Original Release:
1964
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:50:00
Sales rank:
22,558

Special Features

Audio commentary featuring screenwriter Ib Melchior, actors Mantee & Lundin; Excerpts from Melchior's original screenplay; Destination: Mars, a new video featurette byMichael Lennick; New music video for Victor Lundin's song "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"; Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos, production designs, & promo material; theatrical trailer; collectible booklet

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Paul Mantee Cmdr. Christopher "Kit" Draper
Vic Lundin Friday
Adam West Col. Dan McReady

Technical Credits
Byron Haskin Director
Bud Bashaw Makeup
Lawrence W. Butler Special Effects
John C. Higgins Screenwriter
Winton Hoch Cinematographer
Arthur Jacobson Asst. Director
Harold Lewis Sound/Sound Designer
Arthur Lonergan Art Director
Ib Melchior Screenwriter
Terrell O. Morse Editor
Hal Pereira Art Director
Aubrey Schenck Producer
Aubrey Schenk Producer
Fred Steiner Score Composer
Nathan VanCleave Score Composer
Wally Westmore Makeup
John K. Wilkinson Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Robinson Crusoe on Mars
1. Elinor M [5:38]
2. Marooned [5:09]
3. Exploration [6:17]
4. Log [2:50]
5. Diatomic Depletion [2:22]
6. Lost and Found [7:03]
7. Yellow Stones [7:42]
8. Progress [3:31]
9. Two Weeks [3:16]
10. Potable [4:55]
11. One Voice [4:35]
12. "Sausages" [5:16]
13. Not Alone [8:26]
14. "I'm the Boss" [3:57]
15. No Communication [4:13]
16. Friday [3:28]
17. Expendable [4:13]
18. True Colors [4:49]
19. Alnilam [5:43]
20. Canals [3:44]
21. Ice Cap [2:59]
22. Divine Order [4:34]
23. A Voice From Mars [5:01]

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