Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on September 7, 1958
Directed by Edward Bernds
Written by Charles Beaumont, from an outline by Ben Hecht
Cast: Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eric Fleming, David Willock, Laurie Mitchell, Lisa Davis, Paul Birch, Patrick Waltz, Barbara Darrow, Marilyn Buferd, Lynn Cartwright, Mary Ford, Kathy Marlowe, Coleen Drake, Joi Lansing
If there was ever a perfect example of a B-grade outer space adventure from the 1950s that fulfilled every adult male’s sci-fi fantasy, but clouded the minds of young boys everywhere with an enthusiasm-killing stupor, then this goofball film was it. Four astronauts crash-land on Venus and find themselves the lone males in the midst of a civilization loaded with nothing but short-skirted space babes, whose masked queen and her equally-masked court are a little on the bitchy side towards the male of the species.
Soon, the men discover why they’re so hostile, with the help of a few cooperative Venusian females (who make it quite clear they’re hungry for a little interplanetary bonding), and it’s not long before they find out exactly what’s under those mysterious masks, and put a stop to the queen’s malevolent plans. After that, all I can say is, if there’s an available seat on the next launch, sign me up!
It seemed that a reasonably serious story—by Twilight Zone vet Charles Beaumont and by prolific scribe Ben Hecht, who actually had very little input—was trapped inside all the camp, showing itself now and then before being smothered by the chintzy effects, the ridiculously simple sets, and the uninspired direction of Edward Bernds. But when a sci-fi film is helmed by a director whose claim to fame was working with the Three Stooges and the Bowery Boys, you really shouldn’t be expecting all that much anyway.
And though lead actress Zsa Zsa Gabor (not the queen until the end!) was passably attractive, I would much rather have seen her sister Eva in the role…or at least shapely actress Joi Lansing, whose eye-popping form would’ve been far better suited for the part of the queen than the uncredited and short-lived ‘Larry’s Girl’ character she was unfortunately saddled with. (4/10)