During the decade of the 1950's, the United States made 154 original Science Fiction Motion Pictures. The American film industry dominated the Science Fiction genre, but although Italy never made one Science Fiction film during the 1950's. They had domination in another genre through the 1960's, "Peplum (Sword and Sandal)" historical dramas.
The closest country to the United States in 1950 Science Fiction movie output was the United Kingdom. At the end of the decade, the U.K. had made 14 original Science Fiction Features, and 4 others with the United States.
The U.K. was followed by Japan, with 5 pure Science Fiction films and 5 Daikaiju (Giant Monster) entries. The remaining 1950's Science Fiction movie output can be divided into 5 Soviet Union features, 2 from Mexico and, 1 each, from Austria, China, Czechoslovakia, and West Germany.
A small look at the United States dominance during the decade. Can be found in my article, "Invaders from Mars, Except When They Came from Venus, or Planet X", at:
This dominance was also reflected in 1950 American Science Fiction Television shows. Illustrated in my article, "Boldly Going Before Kirk and Spock: 1950's TV Science Fiction", found at:
I mentioned that the Soviet Union made five features during the 1950's. The "Soviet Block" had their own twists on Fantasy and went toward Scientific Realism in their Science Fiction movies. As compared to the United States and the U.K..
My reader may find my article, "Five Influential Soviet Block Science Fiction and Fantasy Motion Pictures", of interest:
However, in the decade of the 1960's, the United States Science Fiction output was reduced to 77 Films, exactly half of the 1950's. While, the rest of the World made a total of 110 features. Which included 37 by the United Kingdom, doubling their 1950's output, and the first Italian productions.
However, Italy's attempt at Science Fiction features would be overshadowed, Worldwide, by three other Italian motion picture genres.
The main genre was the Italian Peplum (Sword and Sandal) features that started in the Silent Movie Era, but would obtain dominance in the 1960's. The same decade Italy attempted, with 14 motion pictures, to enter the Science Fiction market. Just as the United States had attempted Italian Peplum during the 1950's.
The American studios copied Italy's Peplum style with four, big budgeted, all-star features. These were, 1951's, "Quo Vadis", starring Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov. 1956's, "Helen of Troy", with an International Cast including Italy's Rossana Podesta, England's Sir Cedric Hardwicke and France's Jacques Sernas. That same year was, "Alexander the Great", starring Richard Burton, Frederick March and featuring both Peter Cushing and Stanley Baker. While in1959, Yul Brynner and Gina Lollobrigida were "Solomon and Sheba".
Between "Quo Vadus" and "Helen of Troy", Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti, produced an Italian, 1954, Peplum epic, based upon Homer's "The Odyssey". There production was entitled "Ulisse (Ulysses)". The motion picture starred, the dubbed into Italian, American actor, Kirk Douglas in the title role, Mexican-American actor, Anthony Quinn, and Italian actresses, Silvana Mangano and Rossana Podesta.
However, the Worldwide Peplum craze would start with the English language dub of 1958's, "Le fatiche di Eccole (The Labors of Hercules)". Which starred Ed Wood alumnus, American body builder, Steve Reeves as "Hercules".
For those interested in the history of Peplum motion pictures. You can find my article, "PEPLUM: A Look at the Sword and Sandal Motion Pictures from the 1950's and 1960's" at:
As I mentioned, there were two other Italian film genres that also overshadowed Italian Science Fiction films in country and out during the 1960's.
The first included two Italian Masters of Horror, Mario Bava and Dario Argento. Their films, such as 1960's, "La maschera del demonio (The Mask of Satan)". known in the United States as "Black Sunday", and 1963's, "l tre volti della paura (The Three Faces of Fear)", known in the United States as "Black Sabbath", influenced film makers Worldwide.
By the mid-1960's, other Italian film makers, like Sergio Leone, decided to make American Westerns. Such as the Internationally successful "Per un pugno di dollari (For a Fistful of Dollars) in 1964. Which was really a copy not of an American Western, but Akira Kurosawa's, 1961 Samurai feature, "Yojimbo", set in the American West.
What became known as the "Spaghetti Western", was in actuality just another part of the Euro-Western craze.
My article, "American Western's European Style" is found at:
Italy's first step into the world of Science Fiction motion pictures might be closer to 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Then the pure Science Fiction, of say, even the United Kingdom's, 1953, "Four Sided Triangle", but the picture is classified by Film Historians as Science Fiction.
It was a co-production with West Germany and France of a remake of a German Weimar Republic Silent Motion Picture. In 1919-1920, there was an Eight-Chapter Mystery-Science Fiction serial based upon a novel by German writer Karl Figdor. The silent film took Figdor's novels title: "Die Herrin der Welt (Mistress of the World)". Karl Figdor was also one of the five screenplay writers. The original production would come to the United States on March 12, 1922.
The Italian, West German and French Remake:
DIE HERRIN DER WELT (THE MISTRESS OF THE WORLD) was released April 14, 1960 in West Germany
LES MYSTERES D'ANGKOR (THE MYSTERIES OF ANGKOR) released in France on October 12, 1960
IL MISTERIO DE TRE CONTINENT (THE MYSTERY OF THE THREE CONTINENTS) released in Italy, date unknown
The now, Two-Part story, runs three-hours, and was Directed by William Dieterle. Dieterle started in the German Cinema as an actor in 1913 and Directed his first motion picture in 1923. With the rise of Hitler, Dieterle left Germany for the United States and Directed motion pictures until the Second World War ended and then returned to Germany and its film industry. While in the United States, William Dieterle Directed Paul Muni in both, 1936's, "The Story of Louis Pasteur", and 1937's. "The Life of Emile Zola". In 1939 it was Charles Laughton in Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". In the motion picture that introduced Maureen O'Hara and Edmund O'Brien.
However, Dieterle walked off the production of "The Mistress of the Word" and his Switzerland born cinematographer, Richard Angst, finished the film shoot.
Martha Hyer portrayed "Karin Johanson". American Hyer proceeded this picture with the 1960 Edna Ferber story, "Ice Palace", co-starring Richard Burton and Robert Ryan. She would follow this picture with 1960's, "Desire in the Dust", co-starring Raymond Burr and Joan Bennett.
Above is the only still I could locate from the production. Below are some of the other actors and indicates the varied nationalities of the cast.
Carlos Thompson portrayed "Peter Lundstrom". Thompson was an Argentinian actor.
Micheline Presle portrayed "Mrs. Latour". Presle is a French actress.
Gino Cervi portrayed "Professor Lundstrom" Cervi was an Italian actor.
Wolfgang Preiss portrayed "Dr. Henrik Brandes". Preiss was a German actor.
Sabu portrayed "Dr. Lin-Chor". Sabu was an actor originally from India, but worked in classic 1940 American features such as 1940's, "The Thief of Bagdad" and 1942's, "The Jungle Book".
Valery Inkijinoff portrayed "Priester". Inkijinoff was a Russian born actor.
The following paragraph comes from a review of the motion picture and describes the story line.
While working on a fusion experiment, Swedish scientist Professor Johanson unintentionally causes an electromagnetic pulse that triggers blackouts all over Europe. Realizing the potential for this as a weapon, he is kidnapped by the gang belonging to Madam Latour, who is intent on getting the professor to reveal exactly how he caused the incident. An international group of cops and intelligence agents set out to track down the man and the dangerous information in his head, lead by Peter Lundström (Thompson), along with the professor’s daughter, Karin, a journey that will take them from Sweden to the South of France and on to Thailand.
The entire review can be found at:
The next motion picture was completely made in Italy. It was a hybrid of Italian Science Fiction and Italian Horror and was very good for the year.
SEDDOK, L'EREDE DI SATANA (SEDDOK THE HEIR OF SATAN) released in Italy on August 19, 1960
ATOM AGE VAMPIRE released May 29, 1963
The feature was Directed by Aton Giulio Majano, a major Italian television mini-series Director. These included a six episode production of Charlotte Bronte's classic, "Jane Eyre" and an eight episode version of Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield". Both with Italian casts.
Majano co-wrote the screenplay with Alberto Bevilacqua. Bevilacqua worked with Dario Argento on "Black Sabbath" and Mario Brava on "Planet of the Vampires".
Alberto Lupo portrayed "Professor Alberto Levin". Lupo's first on-screen role was one of "Penelope's suitors", in 1954's, "Ulisse (Ulysses)". The actor was in several Peplum movies including, 1959's, "Herod the Great", the Steve Reeves, 1959, "The Giant of Marathon" and 1960's, "The Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete".
Susanne Loret portrayed "Jeanette Moreneau". Loret only made seven feature films and her second was the Italian Comedy Horror entry, "Uncle Was a Vampire", starring Christopher Lee in one of his Foreign films.
Sergio Fantoni portrayed "Pierre Mornet". Fantoni had been acting since 1949 and was known to American audiences for the Steve Reeves, Peplum features, 1959's, "Hercules Unchained" and the same years "Giant of Marathon", In 1960, the actor portrayed "Haman", in the Italian and American Biblical epic, "Esther and the King". In 1965, Sergio Fantoni portrayed "Captain Oriani", in Frank Sinatra's "Von Ryan's Express".
Gladiators", using the American name of Margaret Taylor.
Italy played name games in all four genres, Peplum, Horror, Science Fiction and Westerns, to make the European audiences believe the cast had American actors and Directors. Although, at times, these name choices really wouldn't have worked in the United States.
Above, is "Professor Levin" coming out of his atomic powered machine. Which he must use the injected formula to become the killer. The feature is somewhat like a modern day "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", but mixed with a touch of "Jack the Ripper". Eventually, "Professor Levin's" ultra-ego will kill "Jeanette" and "Pierre Mornet" and the police will capture "Levin".
SPACE MEN released in Italy August 25, 1960.
The picture would come to the United States as "Assignment Outer Space" on December 13, 1961.
The motion picture was Directed by Antony Daises, one of those name choices that would have been laughed at in the United States. The Director was actually Antonio Margheriti and for his next 56 motion pictures. Margheriti decided he was British and his name became Anthony Dawson.
The screenplay writer was Ennio De Concini. Who would use the Russian sounding name of, Vassilji Petrov, for the films on-screen credits and his future work.
Rik Van Nutter, as Rik Von Nutter, portrayed "IZ-41" in the Italian language version and "Ray Peterson" in the English language dub. The sound of his name aside, Van Nutter was born in Pomona, California, just outside of Los Angeles and mentioned in George Pal's 1953, "War of the Worlds". For the twenty-year-period between 1959 and 1979, Van Nutter, appeared only fifteen times. He is best remembered for portraying "Felix Leiter" in 1965's, "Thunderball", opposite Sean Connery's "James Bond".
Left to right, David Montressor, Gaby Fairnon and Alan Dijon as "Y16" in the Italian language version and "Archie" in the English language dub.
The year is 2116, and the "Interplanetary Chronicle of New York" reporter, "Ray Peterson", is given an assignment. He is to write a story about the "Infra-red radiation flux in Galaxy M-12". "Peterson" leaves Earth on spaceship "Bravo Zulu 88" and arrives an Earth space station.
Director Antonio Margheriti based all his models of designs by Rocket Scientist Werner von Braun.
IL PLANETA DEGLI UOMINI SPENTI (THE PLANET OF EXTINCT MEN) released in Italy October 30, 1961
BATTLE OF THE WORLDS released in the United States in March 1963
Bill Carter portrayed "Commander Bob Cole". British actor Carter has a total of seven films to his credit. The first in 1943, a two year break, and three more, a fifteen year break, and two more, another two year break, and his final feature.
Umberto Orsini portrayed "Dr. Fred Steele". Orisini's second on-screen appearance was in Director Federico Fellini's classic, 1960, "La Dolce Vita", and in 1969, the actor was in Director Luchino Visconte's, "The Damned". Over Orsini's career, in both Italian cinema and television, he appeared in 91 different roles.
Above, Umberto Orsini and Jacqueline Derval as "Cathy Cole". Derval had a total of four film credits and this was her last. Another of her features was with American actor Alan Ladd. A Peplum entry from 1961, "Orazi e Curiazi", that came to the United States, dubbed into English, in 1964, as "Duel of the Champions".
Maya Brent portrayed "Eve Barnett". This was her only motion picture and like Derval, I could not locate anything more on her.
"Dr. Fred Steele" and "Eve Barnett" have been working together on a romantic island at an astronomical station. His transfer has been approved and the two look forward to leaving and getting married. However, a rogue planet, dubbed "The Outsider", is heading toward the Earth and scientists are predicting it will impact and destroy our planet. However, "Professor Benson", who lives in a greenhouse by the main astronomical station with his dog, "Gideon", thinks otherwise. The Professor believes "The Outsider" will come close, but by-pass the Earth.
Meanwhile, the Mars base encounters "The Outsider" and "Captain Bob Cole" and his wife "Cathy" leave for Earth to help in the effort to stop the planet. When "The Outsider" passes the Earth, at a distance of 95,000 miles, the skeptical Earth scientists are now elated that "Professor Benson" was proven correct. "Benson" observes that the rogue planet hasn't passed the Earth, but stopped and is now in orbit around the Earth. "Benson" concludes that "The Outsider" is some type of giant space craft controlled by Intelligence Life and advises Earth's Governing Council to destroy the planet.
"The Outsider" now starts moving toward the Earth, resulting in hurricanes, and other high velocity weather. One of the disc's crashes near "Professor Benson's" location and he investigates.
"Benson" discovers that the flying saucers are computer controlled and theorizes that "The Outsider" is the control point. He now joins a mission to the planet to destroy the control mechanism and the inhabitants.
Above, Maya Brent with Renzo Palmer as "Barrington".
The movie fades out after showing "Professor Benson's" dog, "Gideon", looking out of a window waiting his return.
I PIANETI CONTRO DI NOI (THE PLANETS AGAINST US) released in Italy on February 14, 1962
Above, another Italian filmmaker trick with the original Italian poster, giving the the impression the motion pictures was from the United States. However, when the film was dubbed into English and first came to the United States in 1965. It was entitled "The Planets Around Us".
The picture was Directed and co-written by Romano Ferrara. As a Director, Ferrara would also use the American names, Roy Freemont and Mike Williams. Ferrara only Directed four films, but wrote six.
Michael Lemoine portrayed "Bronco and his double, Robert Landersen". Lemoine was a French Actor, Writer and Director. He appeared in fifty-three motion pictures, wrote seventeen screenplays and Directed twenty-six feature films.
Maria Pia Luzi portrayed "Marina Ferri". Among her twenty-features films is a very good West German spy thriller dubbed into English as 1963's, "Stop Train 349". Which starred America actor Jose Ferrer and British actor Sean Flynn, Errol's son.
Jany Clair portrayed "Audrey Bradbury". Among her work is the very good, 1960, "The Night They Killed Rasputin". Along with the Gordon Scott, Peplum entry, 1963's, "Conquest of Mycene", and the Alan Steele, actually, Sergio Ciani, Peplum, 1964, "Hercules Against the Moon Men".
Above, artist "Audrey" shows "Bronco" her sketch of him.
There are many "Bronco" robots around the World, but they all have the same mission to the Earth. Can you say 1951's "The Day the Earth Stood Still"? The bottom line is the Earth has to stop their nuclear weapons and war in general. Otherwise, "The Planets Against Us". will take appropriate action.
Italian Science Fiction Film makers skipped 1963, but in 1964, turned to an American novelist and screenplay writer for Roger Corman. The movie would be an Italy and United States co-production.
THE LAST MAN ON EARTH released in the United States on May 6, 1964 and in Italy on August 19, 1964
Matheson had written a 1954 story entitled "I Am Legend" and American Producer Robert L. Lippert, 1950's, "Rocketship X-M", 1951's, "The Lost Continent", 1955's, "The Quartermass X-periment" and 1958's, "The Fly", obtained the rights to the work.
For those of my readers who are interested, my articles;
"Richard Matheson: The Screenplays and Treatments" may be found at:
"RICHARD MATHESON: His Short Story 'I Am Legend' On Film X 3" is available for reading at:
Two actions by Robert L. Lippert caused friction between the producer and Richard Matheson.
The first, was that Fritz Lang wasn't hired to Direct. Which Lippert had promised Matheson to get him to write a screenplay. Instead, Lippert had hired Sidney Salkow. A low "B" film Director that had worked with the producer and was working mostly on television programs since 1954.
The second, was to move the entire production to Italy with Italian actors and crew member to keep the cost very low. Two Italian writers rewrote parts of the screenplay. This would be Furio M. Monetti's only movie and Ubaldo Ragona's third out of four. As a result, Richard Matheson's removed his name from the production and is credited as Logan Swanson instead.
Vincent Price portrayed "Dr. Robert Morgan". This film was after 1963's, "The Comedy of Terror", co-starring Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff from a Matheson screenplay and before 1964's. Roger Corman Directed, "The Masque of the Red Death", co-starring Hazel Court.
Franca Bettola portrayed "Ruth Collins". Prior to this release, Bettola appeared in the Peplum features, 1962's, "Attack of the Normans", starring American actor Cameron Mitchell, and 1963's, "The Lion of St. Mark", starring American Strongman, Gordon Scott. She would follow this film with 1964's, "Sandokan to the Rescue", starring American actors, Ray Danton and Guy Madison.
Emma Danielli portrayed "Virginia Morgan". Danielli worked very little in feature films. Before this picture, her last film work was back in 1961, with the Peplum films, "The Corsican Brothers", based upon the Alexander Dumas novel, and the pirate feature, "Guns of the Black Witch", starring American actor Don Megowan. Who played the land version of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" in the 1956, "Creature Walks Among Us" and "Colonel Travis" in Walt Disney's 1955, "Davy Crockett at the Alamo".
During the daylight hours, "Morgan" repeats the same routine. He marks off the date on his calendar, gathers his weapons, and goes out hunting vampires. He then burns the bodies to prevent them from coming back to life at night.
In another flashback, "Robert" is working at a scientific laboratory with "Ben". They're trying to find a cure for the plague and "Morgan" considers the possibility that he may have become immune to the plague. As a result of being bitten by a vampire bat in Panama before the plaque began. "Robert Morgan" believes the bat was carrying a very diluted form of the plague virus.
"Robert Morgan" is falling deeper into depression and finds a dog. He brings it home, but it also dies and comes back to life. "Morgan" drives a wooden stake into it and buries the dog.
At night his house is surrounded by the living dead, led by "Robert Morgan's" best friend, "Ben Cortman".
While "Ruth" sleeps, "Robert" performs a transfusion on her with his own blood. When she awakes, he explains what he did, and they discover she is completely cured of the plague.
However, before they can relate this to her people, they attack "Robert's" home and he is forced to flee. To them, he is a remembrance of what they were before the plague struck and must be killed. In the end, "The Last Man on Earth", is killed in a church, before he could save them.
The initial story was "One Night of 21 Hours", by Italian novelist, short story writer and essayist, Renato Pestriniero.
The initial story outline and screenplay was by American Ib Melchior. Among Melchior's work are 1959's, "Gigantis, the Fire Monster", the English language version of 1955's, "Godzilla's Counter Attack". Along with 1959's, "Angry Red Planet", 1961's, "Reptilicus", 1962's, "Journey to the 7th Planet" and both 1964's, "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" and "The Time Travelers". During World War 2, Ib Melchior was one of the original "Monument Men".
However, Melchior was only one of seven screenplay writers. Working with him on the English languish dub was Louis M. Heyward. Among Heyward's work was the 1953 children's television series, "Winky-Dink and You", 1964's, "Pajama Party", 1965's, "Dr Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine" and 1966's, "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini".
There were four Italian screenplay writers plus the Film's Director. The Italian writers were, Alberto Bevilacqua, who co-wrote with Dario Argento, 1963's, "Black Sabbath". The other writers were Rafael J. Salvia, Antonio Roman and Callistro Cosulich.
That final screenplay writer and the motion picture's Director was Mario Bava.
My article, "Dario Argento and Mario Bava: Two Italian Masters" is available for reading at:
Barry Sullivan portrayed "Captain Mark Markary". Americana actor Sullivan started on-screen in 1936. He was known as a "Second Division Actor", which translates into a very solid and dependable non-leading man. He is probably best known for portraying 5th billed, "Fred Amiel", in the Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon and Dick Powell, 1952, "The Bad and the Beautiful". The controversial Vincent Minnelli Directed picture exposing the steamier side of the Hollywood Studio System with recognizable characters. On television, Barry Sullivan starred as "Pat Garrett" in the 1960 through 1962 Western series, "The Tall Man". After which, he primarily guest starred on many television programs into 1987.
Norma Bengell portrayed "Sanya". Argentinian actress, singer, film director and screenplay writer, Norman Almeida Pinto Guimaraes d'Area Bengell, started her acting career in 1959. During the 1960's she appeared in many Italian feature films. In 1967, she appeared in Director Sergio Corbucci's Spaghetti Western, "The Hellbenders", starring American actor Joseph Cotton, Right before this feature, Bengell was in the Peplum film, 1965's, "Captain from Toledo", and followed "Planet of the Vampires", with an appearance on the forgotten American television series, 1966's, "T.H.E. Cat".
Angel Aranda portrayed "Wes Wescant". Spanish actor Angel Perez Aranda started his acting career in 1955. Among his films was the Steve Reeves', 1959, Peplum entry, "The Last Days of Pompeii", American actor Rory Calhoun's 1961 Peplum, "The Colossus of Rhodes", and the Spaghetti Western, 1967's, "The Hellbenders".
Evi Marandi portrayed "Tiona". Greek actress Eyh Maranih began her acting career in 1959. Among her work is the Alan Ladd and Franca Bettoia, 1961 Peplum, "Duel of the Champions", a role as a "Receptionist" in the filmed in Rome, James Darren and Cindy Carol, 1963, "Gidget Goes to Rome", and the 1964, Spaghetti Western, "Three Dollars of Lead', billed as Evy Marandi.
To finish repairs on the "Argos", the crew must retrieve the "Meteor Rejector" from the "Galliott".
"Wes" refuses and while destroying the "Meteor Rejector" accidently electrocutes himself. Now, "Markary" and "Sanya" are faced with a decision as they cannot safely make it home. The two decide to change course and take their fellow "Aurians" to a nearby planet called "Earth"!
In 1978, Dan O'Bannon took elements from "Terrore nello spazio" and a 1958 Science Fiction film, "It, the Terror from Beyond Space" and wrote the screenplay for 1979's, "Alien". He also admitted to lifting elements from 1951's, "The Thing from Another World" and the warning to stay away from the planet, from 1956's, "Forbidden Planet".
The credited Producer was Carlo Ponti. Just prior to this picture, Ponti produced Director Carl Foreman's all-star World War 2 picture, "The Victors". After this feature, Ponti Produced for his wife, Sophia Loren, the 1965 Italian Comedy, "Lady L", co-starring Paul Newman and David Niven.
The kicker is, that you are to play ten rounds, five rounds as a "Hunter" and five rounds as the "Victim". This is "Caroline Meredith's" 10th Round and she's a "Hunter". This is "Marcello Poletti's" 7th round and he's "Meredith's" victim. Adding to "Marcello's" problems, is that he's spent all his previous winnings on his mistress, "Olga", or alimony for his wife "Lidia", played by Luce Bonifassy.
What happens is a cat and mouse game, but whose the cat and whose the mouse? "Marcello" attempts to get "Caroline" eaten by crocodile in front of the television cameras, but that fails. "Caroline" shoots "Marcello" in front of television cameras, but he loaded her gun with blanks.
Tony Russel as Tony Russell, portrayed "Commander Mike Halstead". American actor Russel became a regular in Italian motion pictures during the 1960's. However, in 1957 and 1959, as Tony Russo, he appeared on three episodes of the Walt Disney television series "Zorro". In 1964, he starred in the Peplum entry, "The Revolt of the Seven", and provided a English language voice in "Hercules Against the Moon Men". In 1965, Russel was in the Italian production, "Oath of Zorro", as the title character.
Massimo Serato portrayed "Mr. Nurmi". Massimo started acting in 1938 and worked in the Italian film industry through the Second World War. In 1961 he co-starred with American Cornel Wilde in the Peplum entry, "Constantine and the Cross". The same year he was in the Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren, "El Cid", started appearing on American television and in 1963, was in the cast of "55 Days at Peking", starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven.
Above, Tony Russell and Massimo Serato.
Lisa Gastoni as Jane Fate, portrayed "Lieutenant Connie Gomez". Gastoni started, in 1954, in on-screen acting in British movies. and some American and British television series. Among her Italian Peplum films, in 1964, were, Messalina vs the Son of Hercules", "The Three Avengers" and "Three Swords for Rome". Immediately, before this picture was the 1966, Italian Crime Drama, "Wake Up and Die".
Franco Nero portrayed "Lieutenant Jake Jacowitz". Nero was the original "Django" in the 1966 Spaghetti Western of that title. In 2012, he portrayed "Amerigo Vessepi" in Director Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained". In 1967, he portrayed "Lancelot" in the big budgeted musical "Camelot", starring Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave, and in 1990, he was after Bruce Willis in "Die Hard 2".
This is really a futuristic "B" Detective story set in Outer Space. In 2015, "Commander Mike Halstead" of "Space Station Gamma One" of the "United Democracies Space Command" is given the assignment to investigate mad scientist "Dr. Numi". Who is kidnapping leading scientists and world leaders to use in his miniaturization experiments, In the end "Numi" is killed and the scientists and world leaders rescued.
I DIAFANOIDI VENGONO DA MARTE (THE DIAPHANOIDS COME FROM MARS)" released in Italy on July 21, 1966
IL PIANETA ERRANTE (THE WANDERING PLANET) released in Italy July 29, 1966
WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS released in the United States on April 7, 1971
This was the third film in the series from Margheriti, Reiner and Moretti, but with a cast change.
Giacomo-Rossi Stuart as Jack Stuart, portrayed "Commander Rod Jackson".
Ombretta Colli as Amber Collins, portrayed "Lieutenant Terry Sanchez".
2+5 MISSIONE HYDRA released in Italy on October 2, 1966
Francisci and Fernando Paolo Girolami wrote the screenplay. This was Girolami's only screenplay. His other credit was a "Additional Crew" on the 1961 Peplum, "Atlas Against the Cyclops".
Leonora Ruffo as Eleonora Ruffo portrayed "Kaena". Among her features were the 1960 Peplum, "Goliath and the Dragon", starring American Mark Forest, and the 1961 Peplum from Mario Bava, "Hercules in the Haunted World", featuring British actor Christopher Lee.
In October 1977, the movie came to the United States dubbed into English with a change in dialogue as "Star Pilot".
He was joined by Bill Finger. the 1966 "Batman" television series, the animated 1966, "New Adventures of Superman", the Mexican made, 1968, "Batwoman", based upon Bob Kane's character, and several other DC animated series.
Charles Sinclair was another writer who worked on television's "Batman", and 1968's, "The Green Slime". The last screenplay writer was Aubrey Wisberg. Among the British writer's screenplays are, 1951's, "The Man from Planet X", 1953's, "The Neanderthal Man" and the Tab Hunter, 1954 film, "Return to Treasure Island".
Giacomo-Rossi Stuart and Ombretta Colli were back in their characters.
MISSION STARDUST released in the United States November 1968
The motion picture was Directed by Italian Primo Zeglio. Some of Zeglio's Peplum motion pictures are. 1960's, "Morgan the Pirate", starring Steve Reeves, 1962's, "Seven Seas to Calais", starring Australian Rod Taylor, and 1963's, "Slave Queen of Babylon".
The screenplay was based upon the first science fiction novel in a German series about "Perry Rhodan". The first 48 novels were also published in France, but the screenplay by Primo Zeglio and Sergio Kurt Vogelmann was very basic compared to the novels by German author, Clark Darlton.
Above, Luis Davilia is on the right and Lang Jefferies is on the left.
While, "Reginald Bull", is a friend of "Perry's" and is impulsive and known to use a swear word, or two.
A group of Astronauts are sent to the Moon to rescue an Alien Woman who is seeking help from the Earth to save her race. A group of Bandit Robots are out to get the her and a traitor within "Rhodan's" crew.
The motion picture was Directed by French Director Roger Vadim. Besides being an excellent film director, Vadim was known for his actress wives. They included in order, Brigette Bardot, Annette Stroyberg, Jane Fonda, Catherine Schneider and Marie-Christine Barrault. In between Roger Vadim was also known for his "Partner", Catherine Deneuve.
My article about Roger Vadim, Brigette Bardot "And God Created Women", Annette Stroyberg, the Lesibian vampire tale "Blood and Roses", and Jane Fonda "Barbarella", entited, "Roger Vadim: Three Wives and Three Movies" will be read at:
The initial screenplay was written by American Terry Southern, 1964's, "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb", 1965's, "The Cincinnati Kid", starring Steve McQueen, Ann-Margaret and Edgar G. Robinson, and he would write the screenplay for 1969's, "Easy Rider", starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and featured Jack Nicholson.
Roger Vadim also received on-screen credit for his reworking of the screenplay. There were an additional seven contributing writers without on-screen credit.
Initially, De Laurentiis wanted Italian actress Virna Lisi for the lead, but she wasn't available. He next went to Brigette Bardot, but she didn't want to do another sexual character. De Laurentiis went to Carlo Ponti's wife, Sophia Loren, but she was pregnant. Roger Vadim suggested his wife, Jane Fonda.
Jane Fonda portrayed "Barbarella". Fonda had just appeared with her brother Peter in the Vadim segment of 1968's,"Histories extraodinaires (Extraordinary Histories)", released in an edited English language version as 1969's, "Spirits of the Dead". The other two segments were Directed by Italian's, Federico Fellini and Louis Malle. All three segments were based upon Edgar Allan Poe tales. Fonda would follow this picture with the very depressing, but outstanding 1969, "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" from Director Sydney Pollack.
Jane Fonda was very controversial during the Viet Nam Era and so was "The Duke". For those of my readers interested in that story. You can find it in my article, "Jane Fonda and John Wayne: Two Sides of the Vietnam Coin":
John Philip Law portrayed "Pygar". American Law had just starred in another Dino De Laurentiis production, 1968's, "Danger: Diabolik". The previous year he co-starred with Lee Van Cleef in the Spaghetti Western, "Death Rides A Horse", in 1971, Law was the "Red Baron" in Director Roger Corman's "Von Richthofen and Brown" and in 1973, he had the title role in Stop Motion Animator Ray Harryhausen's "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad".
My article, "John Philip Law: The Films" is available at:
Anita Pallenberg portrayed "The Black Queen of Sogo" aka: "The Great Tyrant". The Italian actress was known more for being the romantic partner of the "Rolling Stone's Founder", Brian Jones and then the romantic partner of Keith Richard. Along with rumors, that still remain, of a brief affair with Mick Jagger. Then her 18 on-screen roles.
Milo O'Shea portrayed "Concierge/Durand-Durand". Turning to 1978 British New Wave. O'Shea's character was the source for the band name "Durand Durand". However, O'Shea, the actor, had just been seen in Italian Director Franco Zeffirelli's English language production of William Shakespeare's 1968. "Romeo and Juliet".
David Hemmings portrayed "Dildano". In 1967 he joined Franco Nero in the musical "Camelot" as "Mordred". In 1968 he was in the cast of Director Tony Richardson's attack on British morality in "The Charge of the Light Brigade".
Marcel Marceau portrayed "Professor Ping". The Internationally known French Pantomime Artist had appeared in 1966 on the American Comedy television program, "The Red Skelton Hour", and in 1969. Marcel Marceau appeared on another American Comedy television program, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" and pantomimed the trademarked "Sock It To Me!".
It's a wonder
You're so wild
'Cause it seems whenever
The planets all stand still
There's a kind of cockleshell about you
Dazzle me with rainbow colors
Fade away the duller shade of living
Get me up high (High)
Teach me to fly (Fly)
My life, with starry light
Above the stratosphere
Bring your dearness near
'Til the dawn comes tumbling down
(Don't make a sound)
Every word we need comes
From the skies
Can't you read my eyes
"Dr. Durand Durand" has invented the laser powered super weapon called the "Positronic Ray". Our heroine crash lands on the 16th planet of the "Tau Ceti" system. She's knocked unconscious and awakes to two young girls that bring her into an abandoned space craft and play with "Barbarella". By having walking dolls with razor sharp teeth attack her.
The "Concierge" takes "Barbarella" to the highest point of Ecstasy the machine can create and she overloads it instead. After which she discovers he is "Durand-Durand". He places "Barbarella" in a cage, but she's rescued by the leader of the underground, "Dildano". Who wants to have sex the new way by pills, but she wants to do it the old way. In the end, "Barbarella" agrees to use the pills "Dildano" has and she overloads him.
"The Great Tyrant", or "Black Queen", if you prefer, states that is "Barbarella's" innocence protecting the two against the "Matmos". As the "Matmos" started to move around the "Chamber of Dreams", "Pygar" arrives and flies both of them to safety.
An Angel Has No Memory
During the 1960's, Italy's output of Spaghetti Westerns was 279 motion pictures. Italy's output of Horror movies was 38, but Peplum totaled, during the decade, between 400 and 500.
Which depended upon the source and the definition of what should be included. As some lists included Italian "Pirate Movies", such as Steve Reeves' 1960, "Morgan the Pirate" and the same years "I pirati della costa (Pirates of the Coast)", starring American Lex Barker. Then there were American films shot in Italy, or Spain. Such as Stanley Kubrick's 1960, "Spartacus", shot in Spain and North Hollywood, California, or from Producer Samuel Bronston, 1961's "El Cid" and 1964's, "The Fall of the Roman Empire".
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