Sunday, January 5, 2014

Red Planet Mars (1952)

Red Menace story about radio signals from Mars being detected. The scientist (Peter Graves) who has discovered them has to contended with people questioning whether they are real or not (Mars is a "red" planet after all-they could be commies.) Will the scientist discover what is really going on before it’s too late?

This is a talky low budget film that has dated very badly since the fall of Communist Eastern Europe. Most of the Red Menace films from the period drifted farther and farther into silliness once we got into the 1960’s , 70’s and so on. The lines between good and evil are simply too black and too white. It doesn’t help that the film is full of earnest performances that try much too hard to sell the situations. And it’s also full of many laughable exchanges about the Godless nature of the Commies. Were we really that naive back then?

It’s not a bad film, but it’s not really a good film either. Its more an okay red menace sci-fi tinged film. It’s a film that was made at a specific time and place and has become a film that has survived well past that time and place. Odds are you'll probably laugh at the proceedings more than a few times. It’s the laughter that makes me recommend the film because without it the film would just be too stridently dopey to be believed.

Worth a look if you're a a fan of 50's sci-fi or a fan of films you can laugh at.

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