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The Angry Red Planet

Overview

Ib Melchior's The Angry Red Planet was one of those delightfully inventive (albeit silly) sci-fi-adventure movies that used to bring lots of fun to afternoon movies on local television. Not a "good" movie in any objective sense of that word, The Angry Red Planet was one of several pictures whose style and content went into the principal section of the satirical anthology movie Amazon Women on the Moon, mostly in the presence of the cheesy sets and color; the serious, stalwart crew with one comic relief character;...
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Overview

Ib Melchior's The Angry Red Planet was one of those delightfully inventive (albeit silly) sci-fi-adventure movies that used to bring lots of fun to afternoon movies on local television. Not a "good" movie in any objective sense of that word, The Angry Red Planet was one of several pictures whose style and content went into the principal section of the satirical anthology movie Amazon Women on the Moon, mostly in the presence of the cheesy sets and color; the serious, stalwart crew with one comic relief character; and the cavalier outlook on planetary exploration. It has its problems, beginning with an explanatory five-minute opening sequence that lies as dead as doornail, except for some unintended humor; not until ten minutes in, with the spaceship landing that actually gets the plot rolling as an extended recollection by one of the characters, does the movie actually become interesting, visually or any other way, but from there on it is pretty much in a style all its own. The picture was photographed by Stanley Cortez (The Magnificent Ambersons), with the scenes set on the Martian landscape shot in a process referred to as "Cinemagic," which tinted everything in different hues of red and gives objects an illusion of three-dimensionality. It is eerie enough to make the movie very memorable, as are some of the threats and monsters encountered, such as the giant bat-rat-spider. The three-eyed Martian looked just plain silly, but most of the rest was pretty fair sci-fi-horror for its era (even on a black-and-white television set in the mid-'60s the Cinemagic image looked pretty strange). The film-to-video transfer is so sharp and clean, that one can spot the wires used by puppeteer Bob Baker to maneuver the bat-rat-spider creature, and the color is very close to the richness that the movie would have shown in its original release, the red of Nora Hayden's hair being the benchmark indicating the care that went into the release, along with the generous 16 chapters breaking down the 83-minute movie. As with other releases in MGM's "Midnight Movies" series, there is no insert, and the only bonus apart from a very entertaining trailer are a few factoids on the back jacket. The movie is presented full-screen without any seeming major loss of picture information on the sides.
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; English: mono; French & Spanish language subtitles
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Director Ib Melchior and producers Sidney Pink and Norman Maurer tried for something different with The Angry Red Planet, and they got it. With Stanley Cortez (best known for The Magnificent Ambersons, Night of the Hunter, The Naked Kiss, and Shock Corridor) lensing the film, the makers incorporated a process called Cinemagic, which tinted everything on the Martian landscape red, but also gave it an eerie 3-D quality. The result is a genuinely odd-looking film, in those segments where the space explorers step out of their "normal" environment on the ship and into the Cinemagic settings. Coupled with some surprisingly good, straight-faced performances by Gerald Mohr, Nora Hayden, Les Tremayne, and Jack Kruschen (playing the astronauts), and very effective model and puppet work, The Angry Red Planet works well as 83 minutes of adventure. The effects are a combination of costuming, model work, and puppets, with Bob Baker's giant (puppet) bat-rat-spider moving off in the distance perhaps the best shot in the movie. Danish-born director/screenwriter Ib Melchior brings a surprisingly light, deft touch to the proceedings, allowing the actors a chance to have fun with their roles -- especially Gerald Mohr, still looking and sounding a bit like Humphrey Bogart, as the stalwart mission commander, and Jack Kruschen as the good-humored technician in the crew -- without losing sight of the adventure and the story line, and meshing it all seamlessly with the special effects-driven sequences. The only real flaw, within the context of this kind of genre film, is in the opening segments, when the returning spaceship is first sighted and brought down -- these scenes, which may have been derived from the opening sequences of The Creeping Unknown and 20 Million Miles to Earth, seem both rushed in execution and leaden in their slow pacing and lack of tension, but after ten minutes it's into the flashback sequences that make up the bulk of the movie, which are entertaining and exciting. Those lucky enough to see the trailer (which appears on the DVD) may marvel at its cleverness, as it promotes Cinemagic while stating that it can't show what the process looks like on the screen, thus using the prospective viewers' own imaginations to lure them in.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/20/2001
  • UPC: 027616868381
  • Original Release: 1959
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:23:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gerald Mohr O'Banion
Les Tremayne Prof. Gettell
Nora Hayden Iris Ryan
Jack Kruschen Sgt. Sammy Jacobs
Paul Hahn Gen. Treegar
J. Edward McKinley Prof. Weiner
Tom Daly Dr. Gordon
Technical Credits
Ib Melchior Director, Screenwriter
Stanley Cortez Cinematographer
Paul Dunlap Score Composer
Ivan J. Hoffman Editor
Norman Maurer Producer
Sidney Pink Producer, Screenwriter
Pinkg Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Main Title/Dead Ship [5:32]
2. Landing [6:22]
3. What Happened [2:30]
4. Dark Alley [5:27]
5. Time to Kill [3:37]
6. Life on Mars [7:39]
7. Colored Recall [3:33]
8. Red Jungle [5:58]
9. Hungry Plant [2:54]
10. Some Purpose [4:44]
11. Back in the Red [:45]
12. Thwarted Departure [6:09]
13. Martian Metropolis [3:10]
14. Giant Amoeba [5:37]
15. Homebound [6:17]
16. Warning/End Credits [8:21]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Theatrical Trailer
   Subtitles
      Français
      Español
      None
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