On a relatively consistent basis the United States was invaded by the Planet Mars in the 1950's. American's were fixated on Mars over any other planet in our Solar system and the movies used that to their advantage.
The idea of such an invasion goes back to 1897 when a serialization of a new novel by Herbert George Wells appeared in the U.K. in "Pearson's Magazine" and at the same time in the United States in "Cosmopolitan". Of course I speak of that little ditty called "The War of the Worlds". The following two photos are from that original serialization.
Mention "H,G." as he was known to his friends and French author Jules Verne is immediately associated with him and vice versa will also occur. Science Fiction in the United States started with Edgar Allan Poe 1841 short story "A Decent into the Maelstrom".
The August 1928 issue of "Amazing Stories" contained a novella by Philip Francis Nowlan called "Armageddon 2419 A.D.". It would be followed in the March 1929 issue with a sequel entitled "The Warlords of Han". You don't recognize the author? Well perhaps you know his main character Anthony "Tony" Rodgers. Whom Nowlan would rename when he switched to Newspaper Comic Strip writing as "Buck" Rodgers. Nowland's two novella's envisioned a World controlled by one country and running it as a business. The country was "China". His sequel spoke of home computers, credit cards, automatic deposit of payroll checks, ordering on line and flat screen televisions. An amazing read.
Should you be interested in a complete look at "Buck Rodgers". I direct you to my blog article:
Another early Science Fiction writer John W. Campbell would drop writing for editing "Astounding Science Fiction" now "Analog Science Fiction and Fact". Campbell's one novella of 69 page published August 1938 was entitled: "Who Goes There?", but most motion picture viewers know the story as 1951's "The Thing from Another World", based upon the first half, and John Carpenter's 1982 "The Thing", based upon the second half, .
In 1947 a short story entitled "The People of the Crater" appeared in a now forgotten Science Fiction publication called "Fantasy Book". The author was Andrew North. Eventually Mr. North would call herself Andre Norton as she was actually Alice Mary Norton. Miss Norton would legally change her name to Andre Alice Norton.|
In 1932 American's turned their radio's to the first Science Fiction program ever on the air. The 15 minute program was based upon the very popular Newspaper Comic Strip by Philip Francis Nowlan "Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century". The program would shortly be followed by another Comic Strip Character Alex Raymond's "Flash Gordon". Both Newspaper Comic Strip characters would make the transition to Saturday Morning Chapter Serials starring Larry "Buster" Crabbe in 1936,
Showing the imaginative power of Radio on America's psyche as talk of the rise of Nazi Germany prevailed in the newspapers occurred on October 30, 1938 and involved not only the planet Mars, but the H.G. Wells novel "The War of the Worlds".
For those of my readers who have never heard this amazing broadcast. The following link will take you to the complete 57 minute radio program that cause PANIC in both New Jersey and New York. The fear created by just the possibility of War on the average American would be magnified somewhat by some of the motion pictures I will be discussing shortly in this article.
Science Fiction motion pictures in the United States can be traced back to Thomas Edison and his 1910 16 minute long version of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".
It should be noted that prior to the year 1950 the only two invaders from outer space in motion pictures were "Flash Gordon's" "Emperor Ming the Merciless" and "The Purple Monster" and at one point even "Ming" became Emperor of the Red Planet.
Once more it should be noted by my readers that most pre-1950 Science Fiction Motion Pictures were variations of the "Mad Scientist" scenario, or told of futuristic visions of life on the planet such as H.G. Well's 1936 "Things to Come"directed by William Cameron Menzies. A director my reader will meet once more in 1953.
Admittedly there were occasional trips to the Moon in films such as Fritz Lang's 1929 silent classic "Frau im Moon (Women in the Moon)", but Horror films were the norm in the 1930's through the mid-1940's.
"The Purple Monster" made his appearance on October 6, 1945 in Republic Pictures 15 Chapter Serial "The Purple Monster Strikes", He also comes to Earth from "The Red Planet Mars", The invader's costume color was suppose to be "Purple" and hence his name. I guess Martian's were tired of just wearing red clothing. The serial had a direct bearing on the second 1950's space invasion motion picture. .
It should be mentioned that the scripts for this serial show the original title as being "The Purple Shadow Strikes". All references to "The Purple Shadow" being n Axis Agent were crossed out as the character became a Martian Invader. The formal surrender of Japan ending World War Two was the month before the serial was released.
When looking at the following motion pictures you must consider two points about the 1950's in the United States.
This country and the World were involved in "The Cold War". To clarify the "Cold War" in its simplest form, It was a "War" of ideologies started in 1947, but more than likely developing during the last years of the Second World War and officially ending in 1991. The "War" was between "The Western Block" which consisted of the United States, NATO and other supportive countries and "The Eastern Block" which consisted of the Soviet Union and its allies of "The Warsaw Pact".
Again unless you are from my generation you would not remember the FEAR of Atomic War and the GOVERNMENT CREATED fear of your own neighbors. I remember drop and cover drills at school and in our ignorance being told that getting under my desk would save me from an Atom Bomb dropped on Los Angeles. I also remember Civil Defense sirens going off daily for practice drills. I remember being told that the family living next door might be COMMUNIST AGENTS, but of course, vice versa, they were hearing the same thing about my family..
Most of my early 1950 television viewing consisted of "Space Patrol", "Rocky Jones Space Ranger", "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet", the American/West German co-production of "Flash Gordon" filmed in West Berlin (Cold War politics in action), "Roy Rodgers", "Hopalong Cassidy", "The Honeymooners" and "Ed Sullivan".
There were other television program that I and most American's watched during the first six years of the 1950's. All were geared toward anti-Communist sentiment and strong Patriotism like Dan Duryea in " The New Adventures of China Smith" between 1954 and 1956. The show was set in Singapore and full of international intrigue.
Another such program starred Richard Carlson "It Came From Outer Space", "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and ran one year longer than "China Smith" from 1953 through 1956. This was the extremely popular television show "I Led Three Lives" based about the autobiography of Herbert A. Philbrick. In the 1940's Philbrick infiltrated a Communist Cell, First Life, worked for the FBI as a Spy on the "Commies", Second Life, and still was an average American family man and Boston Advertising Executive, the Third Life updated to the current year.
Here is an interesting link that will give my readers examples of those years filled with United States anti-Eastern Block propaganda.
It should be noted that by the start of the 1950's the United States Government's and almost every American citizen's knowledge of Outer Space was very much still on a level with Galileo at the time of his death in 1642. Even though America had experts like Dr. Werner von Braun and Willy Ley attempting to educate the general public with the assistance of Walt Disney. By pushing exploration of the Moon and Mars through his television program "Disneyland".
In actuality during the early 1950's any thing you saw about Outer Space, or Aliens on the motion picture screen and in many television programs was the pure imagination of Science Fiction writers turned loose to imagine everything from Martian landscapes to invaders covered with eyeballs. Does this, today, sound a little unbelievable?
My readers have to remember that the first man made satellite to circle the Earth. The Russian Sputnik was not launched until October 4, 1957. Just three years prior to the end of the decade. The American Navy Vanguard rocket was rushed into production and launched on December 3, 1957. The rocket with its satellite blew up during its launching. The successful Army Explorer rocket launch with a second American satellite, under von Braun's supervision, was the following month on January 31, 1958.
The first man to actually circle the Earth after escaping its gravity was Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin and that wasn't until April 1, 1961. American Alan Shepherd followed one month later on May 5th.
On May 26, 1950 the era of Mars related Science Fiction Pictures truly began with a prophetic "Cold War" space exploration film on an extremely low budget, but with an outstanding "B" cast."Rocketship X-M" aka: "Rocketship R-XM" was produced, written and directed by Kurt Newman and released by Lippert Pictures. Among German born Kurt Newman's future Science Fiction work would be 1957's "Kronos" and the 1958 film classic "The Fly".
The crew of the " Rocketship X-M" included two future 1950's television stars. Lloyd Bridges of "Sea Hunt" and Hugh O'Brien of "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp". John Emery played Dr. Karl Eckstrom patterned after von Braun and the designer of the space craft. Among his other films were 1954's Vincent Price 3-D motion picture "The Mad Magician" and the above mentioned "Kronos".
The remaining two crew members were Noah Beery, Jr. His film credits included both Howard Hawks' movies "Sergeant York" and "Red River". However, he would be better known to 9 year old Lloyd and other kids for the popular 1956 television show "Circus Boy" as Uncle Joey the Clown. Playing the title character was 1l year old Mickey Braddock who would drop the false last name and co-starring as Mickey Dolenz, become one of the "Monkeys" ten years later.The only female crew member was Swedish actress Osa Massen who had appeared in the forgotten 1944 "Cry of the Werewolf"" and an excellent film noir starring Susan Hayward "Deadline at Dawn".
Playing the part of the "Flight Director" at Mission Control was the last major member of the cast Morris Ankrum. Ankrum would be associated with many Science Fiction films such as "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", "Beginning of the End", "The Giant Claw" and once again Kurt Newman's "Kronos".
One of the inaccurate aspects of the 1950 film occurs during the 15 minute launch count down as the crew is not on the space craft, but at a news conference. During his introduction of the five member crew Morris Ankrum's character mentions that the project was co-founded by the Military and the strategic importance of establishing a base on the Moon, the initial destination of the flight, "to control World Peace". A very "Cold War" thought that would still be ex-pounded by Newt Gingrich in his run for the Republican Presidential Candidate 62 years later in 2012.
The by accident the ship is catapulted to the planet Mars and the crew makes the obvious decision to land. What they find is the ultimate "Cold War" Era fear. The planet appears dead from a massive Atomic War. As they continue to explore the crew discovers some people, but they're throwbacks to Stone Age Man. A women they find is blind. While other people have radiation burns on different parts of their bodies.
The Martian primitives attack by throwing rocks and boulders off of cliffs. John Emery and Noah Beery, Jr's characters are both killed and Hugh O'Brien is badly injured. Lloyd Bridges and Osa Massen help him back to the ship and the three take off for Earth. During the flight back it is discovered there isn't enough fuel to make a landing, but Bridges is able to make a radio report to Morris Ankrum before the "X-M" crashes into the ocean.
By having everyone killed and especially the three survivors of the expedition after they have made it safely back home. The story punctuates the message that Atomic War can only lead to our own destruction, As Morris Ankrum's character tells the assembled press about what has happened to the space craft. He adds that a dire warning about the dangers of Atomic War has been delivered and that it applies to "the salvation of our own World". Ankrum then announces that in the morning the construction of the second Space Ship will start.
The fact that there is a female crew member on the "R-X-M" would at first seem to indicate an enlightened look for the time towards women. Yet the film reflects the prevailing 1950's views of a women's place. Even though Osa Massen's Dr. Lisa Van Horn is described as having a PHD in Chemistry. In one scene after the fuel system stops. The Rocket Ship's designer Dr. Eckstrom refuses to use Dr. Van Horn's fuel consumption figures over his own. Earlier the screenplay had mentioned that Van Horn was part of the crew, because she created the fuel that the "R-X-M" depends upon.. When. she submits to Dr, Eckstrom's decision he forgives her for "momentarily being a women".In another scene Lloyd Bridges' character who is falling for Dr. Van Horn has a conversation that clearly states a women's place is in the home and having babies.
Some of the following stills are red in color as the decision was made to tint the film when the crew was outside on "The Red Planet". Note also that the crew wears Oxygen Breathing Equipment like Military Fire Fighters on Earth to walk around Mars. That brought a lot of discussion about scientific accuracy, but like many 1950's films. Budget not accuracy was a guiding principle.
Here is a link to the complete motion picture, but the Martian landscape appears more sepia tone as this is not a remastered print.:
I mentioned earlier "The Purple Monster Strikes". Five years to the month after that serial on October 25, 1950 Republic Pictures brought back the character in a 12 Chapter "Flying Disc Man from Mars".
Before I go any further about this serial do you notice anything odd about his U.F.O,, or in this case "Flying Disc"?
This Martian craft still has the Japanese logo on it from when it was first used in the 1942 Republic serial "King of the Mounties" by Japanese Admiral Yamata to bomb Canada.
In the simple plot the Martian's are afraid of the Earth's nuclear weapon development and the dangers it might cause to their planet. So they send a representative to either take complete control of the Earth, or destroy us if we do not comply and stop our Atomic Energy development. The serial took 167 minutes to tell its tale. While Robert Wise the following year only took 92 minutes to keep us on the edge of our seats, even today, with the same message in "The Day the Earth Stood Still".
Two Science Fiction entries had started the decade of the 1950's and both in their own ways warned the World of the dangers of Atomic Energy. While playing off the developing "Cold War" fears in the United States of Stalin starting a Nuclear War.
1951 would bring movie goers an even lower budgeted film than "Rocketship X-M", Although in "CineColor" which was only a two strip process. The movie was released by Monogram Pictures and produced by Walter Mirisch, Actually the motion picture used many of the same props for their space craft from the Lippert motion picture. Plus recycling the space suits from George Pal's 1950 Paramount film"Destination Moon".
Unlike the Lippert motion picture this film starts with a planned "Flight to Mars" as the title states.
The movie starred Cameron Mitchell, Marguerite Chapman and Arthur Franz and featured Morris Ankrum as one of the Martian Leaders. An Earth space ships crash lands on the Red Planet and discovers humanoid inhabitants.
This was the first film to mention that the Martian society is dying and needs to move to Earth. Are they friend, or foe? A plot line that will be repeated in many Science Fiction films to come. After an internal political battle within the Martian Supreme Council. Another plot line that would be repeated in future Science Fiction films was developed. The Earth crew and some Martian allies make it to the now repaired space craft pursued by those wanting to conqueror the Earth and its inhabitants. This mixed group leaves the dying planet and in the case of the two male leads with there new girlfriends.
Here;s a link to the motion picture:
1952 brought two Martian motion pictures at both ends of the spectrum, One was about Invaders and the other pure "Cold War" paranoia.
Republic Pictures returned with another serial. This one featuring a very young Leonard Nimoy as one of the Martian's the title "Zombies of the Stratosphere" refers too. Republic never explained why the Martian Invaders are referred too as Zombies. The serial was initially to be a another adventure with the character of Commando Cody, "the Sky Marshall of the Universe", but instead Judd Holden was now called Larry Martin and was the leader of "The Interplanetary Patrol". The serial featured the "Rocket Man" suit that went back three years to Republic's "King of the Rocket Men".
The plot once more has a dying Mars and this time it is the invaders plans to set off a hydrogen bomb at a specific location. The bomb will cause the Earth to move out of its orbit and then the Martian people can move their planet into the Earth's old orbit and survive.
In 1932 John L. Balderston and John Hoare wrote a play that was performed for only seven days at the Cort Theater in New York and then forgotten.. Their play was called "Red Planet" and I have not been able to find any information about how that specific story went. I did find an ad for the play in "The Brooklyn Daily Eagle" newspaper for December 18, 1932, but no description.
Twenty years later that play formed the basis for the screenplay of the motion picture "Red Planet Mars" released on May 15, 1952. The screenplay for the movie was written by Anthony Veiler and original co-play author John Balderston. Balderston had also written the scripts for Universal Pictures 1931 "Dracula" based upon his own play produced on Broadway with Bela Lugosi, an early draft for "Frankenstein" and the script for "The Mummy". Which might explain why "The Mummy" seemed like a rewrite of "Dracula" in many places.
"Red Planet Mars" stared Peter Graves "The Beginning of the End", "It Conquered the World" and television's "Mission Impossible", Andrea King from the Peter Lorre/Robert Alda 1946 psychological thriller "The Beast with Five Fingers" and Marvin Miller from televisions "The Millionaire" (1955 to 1960). Miller was unseen in many motion pictures. He was the narrator for "The Phantom Planet", the voice of the radio announcer in "Panic in the Year Zero", did a voice over in "Gamera the Invincible" and of course was the voice of "Robby the Robot" in "Forbidden Planet". Along with these three actors was once more Morris Ankrum.
Suppose you built a radio transmitter and contacted the planet Mars. After first contact you started receiving messages seemingly coming from "The Red Planet". Next you start asking specific questions and received specific answers to each of them. How would the world react during the "Cold War" period? Especially when it appeared you might actually be talking with "GOD", or at least his intermediary to the human race.
When the film opened "Variety" described the motion picture this way:
Despite its title, Red Planet Mars takes place on terra firma, sans space ships, cosmic rays or space cadets. It is a fantastic concoction [from a play by John L. Balderston and John Hoare] delving into the realms of science, politics, religion, world affairs and Communism...Despite the hokum dished out, the actors concerned turn in creditable performancesHere are two retrospective opposing views of the film:
Bruce Elder on the website "Allmovie" wrote:
Red Planet Mars is an eerily fascinating artifact of the era of the Red Scare, and also the first postwar science fiction boom, combining those elements into an eerie story that is all the more surreal because it is played with such earnestness.While Dennis Schwartz on September 18, 2001 for "Ozus' World Movie Reviews" his own Vermont based review magazine felt the opposite of Elder.
One of the most obnoxious sci-fi films ever. It offers Hollywood's silly response to the 1950s 'Red Scare' sweeping the country and promoted by the McCarthy senate hearings looking for commies under every bed cover. To realize how dumb this Cold War film is, try this question of the plot's summary on for size: Can it be that the Martians are signaling Earth and that their leader is actually uttering the very word of God? This is one of those really bad propaganda films that has no entertainment value, as it shows how paranoiac this country can be and how it can use religion at the drop of a radio signal to promote materialism and Christianity as a superior way of life than communism. This one might be the strangest and most twisted Red Menace films of all time. It ends with a hydrogen explosion in the lab killing two good American scientists and one lousy ex-Nazi scientist now working for the Russian Communists. The last message heard from Mars is an abbreviated one (thank God!): 'Ye have done well my good ...' then there is just silence. The film leaves one with the impression that Mars is ruled by God.As I mentioned in my opening piece obviously Mr. Schwartz was not living in the United States when I was growing up, or he would have a different perspective of this motion picture. When "Red Planet Mars" came out. It became a minor hit with a lot of Americans. Especially in what was then called "The Bible Belt".
As to Mr. Schwartz's comment :
as it shows how paranoiac this country can be and how it can use religion at the drop of a radio signal to promote materialism and Christianity as a superior way of life than communism.I would ask my reader to transpose "Islam" for "Communism" and listen maybe not to your radio set, but television Evangelists. Then ask have we really changed since 1952 as implied by Critic Schwartz?
However, if you are interested in this movie. Once more I have a link and although the pace is slow, if you understand the tone of my childhood. You may understand the fear this film caused.
From paranoia to comedy about Mars (?) one year later on April 6, 1953. The motion picture was "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars" The title is really a misnomer, but Universal International Pictures knew they would get more viewers if they played off of the "Red Planet".
Basically Lou is the oldest orphan at the Hideaway Orphans Home and hides in a truck which takes him to a top secret military base. At the base he is assigned to help Bud load supplies onto a space craft scheduled for man's first trip into space and the planet Mars. Inside Lou of course accidentally hits the ignition switch and off they go.
The first problem with the motion pictures title is they land not on Mars, but in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. In typical Abbot and Costello form the two think the costumed people are Martians.
Meanwhile two inapt escaped convicts find the space ship and go inside. Finding extra space suits the two rob a bank wearing them, but Bud and Lou in the sane looking suits are accused of the robbery. Somehow they elude the law and return to the space craft where they find the two convicts. The convicts force them to launch again as a means of escape.
However, the craft goes into space and the four land not on Mars, but Venus. Enter the beautiful contestants from the past "Miss Universe" pageant including Miss Sweden the future actress Anita Ekberg and the Queen of Venus played by actress Mari Blanchard.
Bud and Lou get the two convicts tossed into a Venusian jail. Lou and Bud are permitted to stay on the all girl planet, if Lou remains true to the Queen. One of the convicts convinces some of the guards to flirt with Lou and that ends it. The four men are told to leave and back on Earth they are considered heroes. The Queen watching the event on long distant television sends a space craft to drop a cake on Lou during the parade. So ends a movie that should have been entitled: "Abbott and Costello Go to Venus".
Here's a link to the movie:
On August 1, 1959 "The Three Stooges" in "Have Rocket Will Travel" will have a similar story line and land on Venus.
The Abbott and Costello comedy was followed by an unnerving vision of a Martian attack on a small community where an "Atomic Rocket" is being developed. "Invaders from Mars" was rushed into production and completion by 20th Century Fox to beat out the release of George Pal's "War of the Worlds" from Paramount Studios. It would win that Science Fiction Race by four months.
The word "Color" was very important as "Invaders from Mars" was the first color motion picture to show both Aliens and their Space Craft. Yes, "Flight to Mars" was in color, but there were no space craft in that motion picture and the Martian's looked like human.
Another fine point that explains some of the scene set ups was the film was originally to be shot in a low end 3-D process, but it was decided that was too costly. Otherwise it might have been the first such commercial motion picture and not "Bwana Devil" which was released in November of 1952,
The picture opens as a loving mother, Hillary Brooke, and father, Leif Erickson, are with their son David, Jimmy Hunt, in his bedroom before he goes to sleep. Cut to a terrible thunderstorm with lightening flashing. David wakes up and looks out of his window to see what he thinks is a flying saucer landing in a sandpit near the house.
The film was shot on sound stages so that director William Cameron Menzies could completely control the look of the motion picture. The set for the sand pit has a very ominous looking path leading to it.
The film foreshadowed Frank Finney's 1955 novel "The Body Snatchers" which director Don Siegel would turn into the classic "McCarthy Era" 1956 motion picture "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers". In "Invaders from Mars" people close to David are brought to the sand pit at the end of the path. The sand opens up and the person drops into a hole seemingly being swallowed up. Then the sand pit closes itself looking as if nothing had happened.This all started with his father investigating David's story and afterwards taking David's mother to the pit. An interesting effect created by Menzies to keep the audience off guard is the fence on the path keeps getting shorter and the pit seems to be growing.
When ever David next sees anyone who has been to the sand pit. Their will to think for themselves os being controlled. Both of David's parents personalities have changed from extremely loving and caring to cold and calculating. A reflection of the 1950's views on the Soviet Unions spies. Both parents are now seeking David out as he is the only one that knows what is happening, IF anyone would believe him. Again playing off the paranoia of the era.
Located on the back of their necks of anyone who has visited the sand pit is a strange scar like a large "Red X". David is faced with the questions whom can he trust? Who would even believe him? The script is paralleling what the United States Government has been telling American's about those working for the Soviet Union and living there with their lives completely controlled by the State. The Russian people are unthinking automatons going through the motions of their daily lives.
Before this all started David would play and study with the girl next door. He discovers she has the "Red X" on her neck and she now symbolizes the fear of your neighbor being a Communist spy I mentioned above.
Note the look William Cameron Menzies uses for the girl in 1953 and compare it to Dana Wynter's face at the end of Don Siegel's 1956 "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers".
David attempts to go to the Police, but the Chief is also under the control of whatever is in the sand pit. At the Police Station a friendly officer contacts Dr. Pat Blake, Helena Carter, and she meets with David. The first thing he wants is to see her neck. He explains what is happening. Dr. Blake is not sure about his tale until David's parents show up to take him. She prevents this by coming up with a story about his health.
When you watch this film notice the eeriness of the set for the police station. To increase the uneasy feeling of the motion picture. William Cameron Menzies designed the Police Station to be very stark with weird dimensions that he accented with his camera angles.
Note on the above stills in the Police Station the 3-D placement for each scene with a definite foreground, middle ground and back ground. This would have made a great 3-D motion picture.
Continuing the story:
David and Dr. Blake go to meet local astronomer Dr, Stuart Kelston, Arthur Franz, who is concerned. Dr. Kelston is part of the project to build the Atomic Rocket at the plant where David's father works.
David and Dr. Blake listen to Dr. Kelston who speculates that the flying saucer may be real and as Mars is the closest planet to Earth it must have come from there. Dr.Kelston contacts the Pentagon and Colonel Fielding arrives. Fielding is played by Morris Ankrum.
An Alien (Soviet ?) plot is uncovered to destroy the Atomic Rocket. David's parents are killed attempting to blow the rocket up. Colonel Fielding starts a search of the sand pit area, but suddenly both David and Dr. Blake are sucked under the sand. We now see the "Mu-Tants".
The "Mu-Tants" and the human slaves are controlled by a "Martian Mind" who is described in one scene "as the sum of all intelligence". Encased in what appears to be a glass ball for protection. It never speaks,but communicates telepathically
The Martians place Dr. Blake on a table face down and above her is a machine to implant at the base of the brain the control chip. Should it be necessary that chip can be detonated causing a fatal cerebral hemorrhage.
While Dr. Blake and David are being held prisoner. The military have broken into a tunnel system under the sand pit and are attempting to reach and rescue the two.
After saving David and Dr. Blake the military finds the Martian saucer and plants timed explosive charges. Everyone starts running to get away before the saucer and the Martians explode. The flying saucers starts to take off and William Cameron Menzies does another one of his film tricks to increase the paranoia effect.
David is running directly into the camera, or in this case the audience's lap. As he runs flashbacks of the events are interposed with images of the ticking bomb detonator placed in the saucer. All of this runs over a large image of David's face. In some of the shots Menzies plays the film backwards and the effect is surreal. Again this sequence perfectly plays on the "Cold War" paranoia of the period.
There is a large explosion and suddenly David and the audience are back in his bedroom and it is thundering outside. The audience and David are both asking the same question. What just happened?
David runs to his parents bedroom to find them alive. They convince the boy he was just having a bad dream. The audience has been watching his nightmare, or has it? William Cameron Menzies doesn't let go here as:
David claims back into his bed and falls asleep. There's a huge clash of thunder and David wakes up and goes to the window. As he looks the he and the audience see the flying saucer landing again as the movie says "THE END".
The great eerie musical score was by Raul Kraushaar. The music comes on strongly as the words "THE END" appears on the screen. The music was designed to leave the viewer along with Menzies imagery with a question. Was David truly awake at that moment, or was he again dreaming or perhaps had never stopped dreaming before. You decide,
The British censors did not approve of the ending to "Invaders from Mars" and removed the "Nightmare" scenario. A re-shoot of many scenes needed to be done. The first problem was Jimmy Hunt looks older when this was done, because he was. The second was somebody forgot to look at the original cut and David is now wearing a vest which comes and goes in different scenes.
Here is an illustration of the oddity of the British censors cut:
Police Station scene in original film note Helena Carter's outfit.
The follow up scene in Dr. Kelton's office a short time later on the same day. Note Carter is still in the proper outfit, but Jimmy Hunt is wearing a vest. The vest would come and go in that sequence. One has to wonder what the British audience thought? Also note Hunt's hairstyle and how much different and fuller his face is.
I believe this film holds up and is under valued by some. Yes, you still might laugh when the "Mu-Tants" are seen from the back with the zipper covers for the costumes, but remember that was the norm at the time.
On the website "Allmovie" Patrick Legare wrote:
Originating during the science-fiction/Red-Scare boom of the '50s, Invaders From Mars is an entertaining little picture that holds up reasonably well.Motion Picture Historian Paul Meehan in his 1998 book "Saucer Movies" had this to say of 1953's "Invaders from Mars":
one of the best of the 50s invasion cycle and "in hindsight" was one of the most influential of the period, setting the scene for other "abduction films".
Here;s a link to a remastered Color print of the motion picture and I strongly recommend viewing it:
1953 would end with George Pal's "The War of the Worlds" winning an Oscar for Special Effects Photography. The motion picture was directed by Byron Haskin. The film starred Gene Barry "The 27th Day" and television's "Bat Masterson" and "Burke's Law". Along with Ann Robinson. The actress would parody her role in two additional motion pictures without Barry. The first was 1988's "Midnight Movie Massacre" about a Martian attacking a 1950's movie theater and 2005's "The Naked Monster". A great monster movie rip off with many "B" Science Fiction/Horror actors having fun parodying their film selves.
Ann Robinson would also appear playing her actual 1953 role from "War of the Worlds" in three episodes of the 1988 to 1990 Canadian/ American television series set 35 years after the first Martian invasion. Additionally both Gene Barry and Ann Robinson made a dual cameo appearance in Steven Spielberg's 2005 version "War of the Worlds" starring Tom Cruise. They played the grandparents of his children in the movies final scene.
I remember my parents taking me to the La Brea theater in Los Angeles to see "War of the Worlds" when it came out. I always considered this poster classic and it was nice to see my High School use it to announce the film ten years later for the student body to view.It would take five lunch periods to complete it.
Before I talk about the film's plot. I would like to make a personal observation. In 2011 the motion picture was deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant by the "Library of Congress" and selected for preservation by the "National Film Registry".Looking at the motion picture today one can see why they would have wanted to "preserve" this movie. However, to me as a native Southern Californian born and raised in the Los Angeles and Riverside Country areas. There is more here to that preservation then the movies story and Oscar winning special effects.
At the beginning of the picture the town's people see what they think is a meteor crashing into the countryside. Somebody makes the comment "That's almost to Pomona". In another sequence we see Gene Barry's character of Dr. Clayton Forrester and Ann Robinson's character of Sylvia van Buren flying in a Military Spotter Plane to escape the Martian invaders. They are flying over some very green countryside and Barry makes a comment about it being Corona. The final sequences of the film take place in downtown Los Angeles with City Hall being blown apart.
The mileage from the City Hall in downtown Los Angeles to the City Hall in Pomona is 29.68 miles. The mileage from the City Hall in downtown Los Angeles to the further City Hall in Corona is 46.42 miles.
With the exception of the fictitious city of Linda Rosa were the 1953 "War of the Worlds" begins. There are no other cities shown in the sequences of the motion picture I have just mentioned except the city of Los Angeles. Plus the audience sees one farm house Barry and Robinson take cover in. Of note to the dialogue in the Spotter Plane sequence is that scenes in Linda Rosa were actually filmed in the city of Corona at that time.
Where I am going too is this. The viewer of George Pal's "War of the Worlds" sees nothing but beautiful untouched countryside in the first two sequences I mentioned. Such as when Barry and his "Pacific Tech" colleagues are fishing. Today if you travel the longer distance from downtown Los Angeles to Corona of 46.42 miles. All you will see are houses and businesses as you ride the freeway system. For all appearances those miles seem like one large city.
In short this motion picture has actually "preserved" a historical piece of Southern California history in its footage before the cities needed to expand. Its a beautiful piece of Southern California history that no person today unless they are of my generation would know existed.
Sorry for the side track and now to the motion picture itself.
As I already mentioned a group of townspeople are coming out of the Linda Rosa movie theater were Cecil B. DeMille's motion picture "Samson and Delilah" is playing. They see what appears to be a large meteor impact the ground and send someone to find a group scientists from "Pacific Tech" who are fishing to tell them about it. Of note is from this movie forward motion picture and television scripts have routinely used the name "Pacific Tech" aka: "Pacific Institute of Technology" when they wanted to have a name for a Southern California Science Orientated University.
Gene Barry's character tells the other scientists to take his plane home as he wants to stay and investigate. Prior to checking out the "meteor" which seems to have unaccountably landed intact. Barry's Dr. Forrester meets Ann Robinson's character. Who not realizing who he is unknowingly is telling Barry all about himself.
A guard of three men are left to keep people away while the "meteor" cools off during the night. While the men are guarding the it. The top starts to unscrew and out comes some type of alien observation devise scanning the area. The three men realize that this may have come from Mars and put together a white flag of truce and approach. While this is happening in town a barn style dance is going on and the two leads are getting to know each other better.
Suddenly the Martian machine sees the three men and instead of being peaceful sends a ray at them disintegrating the three to ashes. At the same moment in town all the power goes out and everything becomes magnetized. At the point were the "meteor" landed a forest fire has begun.
The Sheriff and Dr. Forrester drive out to the site and find the men dead. Now don't try and ask how come they were able to use a car, if everything has been magnetized. Forrester recognizes this for what it is as another '"meteor" is seen hitting the ground in a different location.
Enter Les Tremayne as General Mann with the military. The General is confident that he can stop the Martians. The Martians appear to have three fighting machines in each "meteor".
Before the attack on the Martian's begins everyone suddenly realizes that the Sylvia's "Uncle Martin" a minister is missing. He is spotted approaching the Martian War Machines holding out a bible and attempting to communicate. They see him and as Sylvia, Forrester and Mann watch turn their ray upon him.
The order to fire is given and the battle begins. Confusion sets in as the Martians are simply whipping out the military.
At this point Forrester and Sylvia leave in the Spotter Plane toward Los Angeles. However they are forced down and take refuge in a farm house.
Their peace and quiet is disrupted by another "meteor" crashing into the farm house. Next comes an spying "eye", but it does not find them. Then there is an encounter with a real Martian and another spying device which Forrester is able to destroy, but he takes the "eye" with them as the two begin to slowly make the trip on foot to Los Angeles and "Pacific Tech".
They make it back and have time to experiment with how the "eye" sees things before an Atomic Bomb will be dropped on the Martian War Machines outside of Los Angeles. A "Flying Wing" will drop the bomb. The Martian's have a protective bubble and the bomb doesn't work. There is nothing left to stop the on slot.
The Martian War Machines are heading for Los Angeles and in attempt to get needed supplies and equipment from "Pacific Tech" Sylvia drives an old School Bus, but is attacked by people in a state of panic and she becomes separated from the others. In the deserted streets of Los Angeles Forrester seaches for her as the city is now being leveled by the Martians..
In a church Sylvia and Forrester are reunited and as they wait for the end. The Martian space crafts suddenly start to fall and the Martians inside start to die. Apparently from the moment they arrived on Earth common bacteria we are immune too began killing them as they had no defenses.
The August 14, 1953 issue of the New York Times had this quote about the film:
an imaginatively conceived, professionally turned adventure, which makes excellent use of Technicolor, special effects by a crew of experts, and impressively drawn backgrounds ... Director Byron Haskin, working from a tight script by Barré Lyndon, has made this excursion suspenseful, fast and, on occasion, properly chilling
a socko science-fiction feature, as fearsome as a film as was the Orson Welles 1938 radio interpretation...what starring honors there are go strictly to the special effects, which create an atmosphere of soul-chilling apprehension so effectively [that] audiences will actually take alarm at the danger posed in the picture. It can't be recommended for the weak-hearted, but to the many who delight in an occasional good scare, it's socko entertainment of hackle-raising qualityHere a link to the motion picture's trailer:
In May of 1954 the U.K. was invaded by a hideous creature known as "The Devil Girl from Mars". According to the movies tag line she would cause a "Fantastic Night of Terror That Menaced the Fate of the World". Tag lines are tag lines and sometimes they exaggerate just a little. "The Devil Girl" would "Menace" United State' theaters in April 1955.
This 76 minute invasion film concerns Commander Nyah who is the advance scout for Martian Women. It seems that the men are dying out and "Mars Needs Males". Nyah was originally suppose to land in London, but something happens to her flying saucer and instead her craft crash lands on the Scottish Moors. Unfortunately for this film there is no "Hound of the Baskervilles" to howl and kill.
As you can tell by the above photo's. When a Martian wants to "menace" and control "the fate of the World".There is just nothing more terrifying as an Alien Female dressed totally in black vinyl with a Ray Gun instead of whips and chains.
Taking their cue from three years before in Robert Wise's "The Day the Earth Stood Still". The audience is treated to a low budgeted "Gort" that arrives with Nyah. This very large evil robot comes with the frightening name of "Chani". Please no squirming in your theater seats with fear at that name.
Nyah explains her back story to the group of locals staying at a Scottish Inn named the "Bonnie Charlie". There was a power struggle for control of the planet Mars between women and men and the ladies won, but the result left the male population impotent. So the female population needs to find fertile country so to speak to save Martian home life.
Most of the "talk", I mean "action" takes place in the bar area of "The Bonnie Charlie". Besides the plot line for the male hungry "Devil Girl", There are not one, but two Earth bound romantic subplots . With all of that going on it is almost impossible for Nyah to succeed with her own plans. She finally turns "Chani" loose on the Inn's grounds to vaporize everything in sight to get the love birds and the others at the Inn to focus upon the Martian invasion.
That doesn't work completely so she kidnaps the visiting grandson of a couple named Jamieson. To rescue the boy Professor Arnold Hennessey the only person paying attention to Nayah, Tells the assembled men that one of them needs to trade themselves for the boy. One of the men goes with Nyah in her flying saucer in exchange, but in reality he will sacrifice himself to save "Man-kind" and destroy her.
The film is considered by many reviewers as being so-bad its good.
"Rolling Stone" columnist Doug Pratt wrote:
the "acting is really bad and the whole thing is so much fun you want to run to your local community theatre group and have them put it on next, instead of BrigadoonLeonard Maltin called "Devil Girl from Mars":
hilariously solemn, high camp British imitation of U. S. cheapiesAs for the British contingent. Author I.Q. Hunter in his 1999 work "British Science Fiction Cinema" wrote that at the time of the films release in 1954 "The British Monthly Film Bulletin" stated the:
settings, dialogue, characterisation and special effects are of a low order, but even their modest unreality has its charm. There is really no fault in this film that one would like to see eliminated. Everything, in its way, is quite perfect
Here's the link to this classic (?) U,K. Sci-Fi:
In 1955 George Pal released a motion picture that should have been a classic piece of speculative Science Fiction based upon the major 1949 work "The Conquest of Space" by Willy Ley, a major German/American science writer and advocate of Space travel, and illustrated by Chesley Bonestell.
In 1950 George Pal had made the motion picture "Destination Moon" to critical praise from the Scientific community and received the Oscar for the Special Effects. The script for that film was written by Willy Ley and Robert A. Heinlein. Assistance in adapting the script to a screen play was from James O'Hanlon. Ley was also the technical adviser on the motion picture.
The look of Pal's 1955 movie carrying the Ley/Bonestell title "The Conquest of Space" was only "suggested by" the drawings that Chesley Bonestell had created for that 1949 work. Bonestell had zero actual input on the film sets and look.
Whereas "Destination Moon" had that solid technical script by Willy Ley and Robert A, Heinlein. The main script and screenplay writer on this new movie was O'Hanlon himself. Then Barre Lydon, Philp Yordan and George Worthington Yates were hired and all three contributed dialogue and situations.
Ley and Bonestell only received screen credit for their 1949 book, but absolutely zero input on the script. A script that apparently was also based, without any credit, on a work by Dr. Werner von Braun. Also unlike the 1950 motion picture Willy Ley was not hired as Technical Adviser.There was no one on "The Conquest of Space" to assure some degree of scientific accuracy.
However, if you read this poster the tag line you would get the impression there was:
See How It Will Happen ...in Your Lifetime
The plot over runs the Science Fiction of the piece. It revolves around the first flight to the moon, but is in reality a top secret Military trip to the planet Mars. What resulted from those four writers was extremely mediocre. Walter Brooke plays General Samuel T. Merritt in command of the operation and its creator. He is also the creator of "The Wheel". His son Captain Barney Merritt played by Eric Fleming wants to return to Earth after a year in space instead of going on his father's grand mission, This result in conflict between the two.
Mickey Shaughnessy is the old Sergeant whose life was saved by the father and thinks he can do no wrong. The Sergeant keeps riding the son over what he perceives as the son's lack of respect of his "great" father. The Sergeant also keeps reminding all the men of how "great" the father is.
I want to look at three of the technical aspects of 1955's "The Conquest of Space" and compare them with Stanley Kubrick's film from 13 years later 1968's "2001: A Space Odyssey". The comparison illustrates the lack of advancement in the ideas of Space Exploration in the United States.
The "Wheel" from "The Conquest of Space".
The Space Station from "2001: A Space Odyssey".
The idea that a deep Space mission vehicle must be built in outer space is used in both films.
The vehicle from "The Conquest of Space".
The vehicle from "2001: A Space Odyssey".
The design of the Space suits are very similar.
"The Conquest of Space"
"2001: A Space Odyssey".
In truth the only real change in 13 years was the food envisioned for the Space Explorers to eat. In 1955 it was in pill form and in 1968 the food was synthetics.
Returning to the plot of "The Conquest of Space" instead of Science Fiction wonder the four writers bring religious fanaticism into the story as the voyage to Mars continues. The audience see's Barney's father constantly reading the Bible and starting to become unhinged and overly obsessive about the mission. When a crew-member is accidentally killed General Merritt refers to it as "God's judgement" on the man.
As the space craft approaches Mars the General convinced the flight is against the "Will of God" attempts to crash it into the planet's surface. Forcing Barney to take control of the craft from his father.
Once on the surface of Mars those outside setting up camp look backat their Space Craft and notice water leaking out of it. The now completely unbalanced General is releasing the needed water. Barney returns to the space craft and stops the release. The General threatens Barney with pistol and the two start to struggle with the loaded weapon.
Just as the Sergeant comes into the scene the pistol goes off killing the General. Only having seen the final seconds of the struggle. The Sergeant accuses Barney of the premeditated murder of his father and promises to bring "Court Marshall" charges against him after they return to Earth.
The General is buried on Mars and Barney must now look to the crew's survival.
"The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction" reflected the general view of the film's special effects:
special effects are quite ambitious but clumsily executed, in particular the matte work.For a producer who had won Three Oscars for Special Effects:
1950's "Destination Moon"
1951's "When Worlds Collide" and
1953's :"War of the Worlds"
George Pal let his audience down in many ways with "The Conquest of Space".
Here's a link to the film's trailer:
For a moment I turn away from the Martian Invasion films of the 1950's and turn on my television set. So that 11 year old Lloyd can watch the Walt Disney Television program "Disneyland" in glorious black and white. Although as you will see he smartly shot most of the programs in color.
Working with both Werner von Braun and Willey Ley Walt Disney produced several educational programs he showed on "Disneyland". The following link is for the 52 minute long "Mars and Beyond" from December 4, 1957.
I grew up with and loved the work of Make-Artist/Monster Maker Paul Blaisdell. On August 13, 1958 a 68 minutes Science Fiction movie was released featuring one of his creations. The creature is great looking, but the problem for production came when "B" Cowboy actor Ray "Crash" Corrigan kept putting on weight and the seams and even the monster's jaw started to break. It also didn't help that he had a drinking problem. Corrigan not the Monster.
The motion pictures script inspired Ridley Scott's 1979 "Alien". This film "It, the Terror From Beyond Space" takes place on board a space ship returning from Mars with a Martian creature slowly killing off the crew. In the end they don't blow it out of the airlock, but they do remove all the air from the inside of the ship causing the creature to die.
Remember at the beginning of this article I mentioned that the first Sputnik was in 1957 and the first man to circle the Earth from space wasn't until 1961. So the following poster really worked to get audiences into the theaters to see the film.
There is no contact from the first expedition to Mars. After some time a second rescue and recovery mission is sent to the "Red Planet". They find all the crew, but its commander dead. From the marks on the skulls it appears he killed them so he could survive there. The commander is placed under guard, but as long as somebody is with him he has the freedom of the ship.
Colonel Edward Carruthers played by Marshall Thompson keeps insisting that some creature killed the others. Colonel Van Heusen played by actor Kim Spalding the commander of the second mission does not believe Carruthers story, but then members of the crew starting disappearing and are found drained of all body fluids.
Deck by Deck the Martian is pushing the crew upwards until there is no place to go but the control room. It is then that Carruthers discovers that a very large amount of oxygen is being consumed and the idea that it is the creature is discussed. All the surviving crew get into their space suits, the values that control fresh air to the ship are shut off and what air is left is drained out just as the Martian breaks through the hatch to enter the control room.
Variety wrote the following when the film was released:
It’ is a Martian by birth, a Frankenstein by instinct, and a copycat. The monster dies hard, brushing aside grenades, bullets, gas and an atomic pile, before snorting its last snort. It’s old stuff, with only a slight twist.
Let us cross the pond once more and turn to BBC Television and one of the great Science Fiction Series of all time, Although I've been a Whovian since Patrick Troughton. I speak of Professor Bernard Quatermass of :The Rocket Group" and not "The Doctor".
The mini-series was "Quatermass and the Pit" that was shown on the BBC from December 1958 into January 1959. The story would be shorten and made into a motion picture by "The House of Hammer" in 1967 under the same title except in North America were it would be known as "Five Million Years to Earth".
The Army Bomb Disposal Unit has been called to an excavation for a new Underground Train Station. What is believed to be a German "V" Weapon has been found by the construction crew.. Their commanding officer is Colonel Breen who was just introduced to the Head of "The Rocket Group" Professor Bernard Quatermass played by Andre Morell, Morell was Dr, Watson to Peter Cushing's Holmes in Hammer Films 1959 "Hound of the Baskervilles". Breen asks Quatermas if they can go by the excavation on their way to diner together.
When they arrive besides the Disposal Unit is a paleontologist called to the excavation to examine what appears to be humanoid fossils. However, the skulls are found INSIDE not OUTSIDE of the so called "V" Weapon. Thus begins a great Science Fiction story..
Science Fiction mixes with Horror as Quatermass becomes involved with stories of tiny creatures referred to as Hob Goblins seen throughout the years around the area. In fact the street next to the excavation is called "Hobbs Lane", but it was spelled originally "Hobs Lane" an ancient name for "The Devil".
Adding to the Devil idea is that a sealed compartment is found inside the "V" Weapon and it contains Locus like creatures that turned out to be Martians.
Things become even stranger when it is discovered that there was a Martian purge before the planet died,
Things take another twist when it is confirmed that the Martian's were taking apes from Earth and experimenting on them. In other words WE ARE THE MARTIANS.
The mini-series more so than the later motion picture deals with "Race". They say timing is everything and just four months prior to the program. There had been "Race Riots" in "Notting Hill" a district of London that went nightly from August into September. According to the writer Nigel Kneale the Martian Purges were based upon that specific incident.
For those familiar with how the B.B.C. and next Hammer Films portrayed the citizens of London when the memories of the Martian purges were reactivated. Here are a few stills of the actual "Nothing Hill Race Riots".
Not being from the U,K, I looked upon this part of the plot with slightly different eyes. I first thought about the Nazi's purges of Jews and other Non-Aryan peoples as they saw fit. I also noticed the paranoia "Cold War" fears coming out of Colonel Breen over not the "V" Weapon, but Quatermass and Dr. Mathew Roney "theory" that humans were the result of tampering by "Insects".
I personally recommend the BBC mini-series which is available on DVD as are two other programs. There is a fourth program that appeared on Thames Television, if your interested and I hope you will be. I suggest reading my article on the entire television and motion picture versions as part of by look at "The House of Hammer":
Last point of interest. Both Stephen King and John Carpenter have stated how this mini-series, not the motion picture, influenced their thinking on the subjects of Science Fiction and Horror.
My last motion picture concerning Mars came out November 23, 1959 and was produced by Sid Pink and written and directed by ex-O,S,S, Agent Ib Melchior. These two men took 13 year old Lloyd and others on a visit to "The Angry Red Planet" which seemed more psychedelic than factual.
A space craft is found back in orbit around the Earth, but the United States Military that sent it to the Planet Mars can not make contact. The craft is remotely controlled from Earth and brought down in a hard landing. As people gather around it the hatch opens and the one women of the crew steps out. Inside is only one other member of the four person crew and he has some form of growth on his arm and it is still growing.
Under a form of hypnosis"Irish", Naura Hayden, the female member recalls the voyage and their arrival on Mars.
As with "Rocketship X-M" nine years earlier. When the crew steps on Mars the screen becomes Red tinted. Exploring the Martian landscape which seems "too still" and not moving. "Irish" becomes trapped in a man-eating plant that suddenly comes to life and is rescued. Professor Theodore Gettell, Les Tremayne, believes that the life on Mars is being controlled by something, or some one.
As they explore the four crew members come across some trees. As they attempt to cut away a portion for tests. The trees start to move and enter the "Rat-Bat-Spider".
They use a freeze canon and blind the creature while escaping. Note the first picture of the "Rat-Bat-Spider", you got to love that name, shows a blurring of the image. The process "CineMagic" was not that great and this happened a lot during the Martian sequences.
The four explorers come to a lake and see a city on the other side. They decided to cross it not knowing that a giant Martian Amoeba is in it. Which will chase the four back to the ship before absorbing one of them played by actor Jack Kruschen. Who was one of the three men holding the white flag in "War of the Worlds" six years earlier.
The three remaining crew members escape in the space craft, but Les Tremayne's character dies of an apparent heart attack from the stress of lift off. It is revealed he should never have made the trip, but he was the craft's designer. At this point it is revealed that Colonel Thomas O'Bannion played by Gerald Mohr must have touched the Amoeba and the growth on his arm starts.
Just then "Irish" remember a hideous face on Mars watching them and screams breaking the trance the Doctor's have her in.
All the tapes made of the trip are erased except the last one, On it is a warning that Mars has been watching on development from its beginning and they let the crew leave to bring their message to Earth. Return to Mars and face the total destruction of the planet Earth and all who live on it.
Of course they save her boyfriend and all ends happily as another Mars expedition is planned.
A review in the New York Times of the film at release there by film critic Eugene Eder contained this astute observation:
The Angry Red Planet, solemnly warns its audiences not to go to Mars. Stubborn patrons who ignore the advice will discover that the planet looks like a cardboard illustration from Flash Gordon and is inhabited by carnivorous plants, a giant amoeba and a species resembling a three-eyed green ant.The problem with this review was Mr. Eder was an "old man" of 30 years old, or more and the target audience of 13 year old's, other teens and pre-teens loved it. Should you not get my reference I suggest my reader watch Roger Corman's excellent "Wild in the Streets".
The life of Ib Melchior makes fascinating reading especially his World War 2 exploits. He was not just one of the men behind this film, "Reptilicus" and "Gigantis, the Fire Monster". You may read about that life on my blog at the following link:
So ended the 1950's Invaders from Mars. Some of these films heavy with "Cold War" politics and others like the misnamed "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars" made for the fun of it.
However, there were two other planets that invaded both the United States and U.K. during this period. One planet was Venus which made the misnamed motion picture starring Bud and Lou the first Venusian film, if not a true invasion one.
"Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (Venus)" was followed by 1954's very talky and no action "Target Earth". starring Richard Denning, Denning. The movie was about a group of people who somehow didn't realize Chicago had been invaded by a force of Venusian robots the previous night.
Also in 1954, but in the U.K. Patrica Neal led a cast who meet "The Stranger from Venus" aka: "Immediate Disaster" aka: "The Venusian". The film is a low budget reworking of Robert Wise's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" without "Gort". The man from Venus is delivering the exact same message as Klaatu to the Earth. Patricia Neal who originally thought the script to Wise's movie awful finds herself now stuck in it all over again, but with a British accident.
Venus decided not to invade Earth in 1955, but in 1956 we got a little gem from Roger Corman.
Lee Van Cleef doesn't realize the real danger of helping a creature, he has never seen, from Venus invade Earth in "It Conquered the World", or more to the point a small town. Opposing him is fellow scientist Peter Graves and Van Cleef's wife played by Beverly Garland.
The Venusian invader was another Paul Blaisdell creation. Who sends out bat like creatures that implant a control device in the necks of townspeople. We are back to the idea of the Soviets controlling the minds of the World.
The following year, 1957, a returning American space mission to Venus crashes off the coast of Sicily. Inside their space ship is a harmless creature from the planet that once it is exposed to Earth's atmosphere begins to grow and becomes a threat to Italy. The Ymir was found in Ray Harryhaussen's classic "20 Million Miles to Earth".
The last film about Venus has Eric Fleming and his crew in the outfits from "Forbidden Planet" in another space craft going there. They first encounter a giant spider first used in "World Without End" and then instead of finding a Yimir it is Zsa Zsa Garbor in "The Queen of Outer Space". Garbor is not the Queen, but the top Venusian Scientist on the all women planet. The men have been sent to a moon by her majesty and her court, Who all wear masks to hide the greater beauty, or so the other women of Venus believe.
As Fleming discovers the truth is the Queen and her court are all burned from radiation during an atomic war with the men. Sounds a little like "The Devil Girl from Mars".
The last planet I want to speak of produced one United States and one U.K. film.
The first was 1951's "The Man from Planet X".