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Radar Men From The Moon (1952) B&W

Commando Cody (George Wallace) is a civilian researcher and inventor with a number of employees. He uses a streamlined helmet and a sonic-powered rocket backpack attached to a leather flying jacket. Cody also uses a rocket ship capable of reaching the Moon.


When the U. S. finds itself under attack from a mysterious force that can wipe out entire military bases and industrial complexes, Cody surmises (correctly) that the Earth is coming under attack from our own Moon.


He then flies his rocket ship there and confronts the Moon's dictator, Retik (Roy Barcroft), who boldly announces his plans to both conquer Earth and then move the Moon's entire population here using spaceships.


On Earth, Cody battles an elusive lunar warrior named Krog (Peter Brocco) and his gang of human henchmen, hired to steal and stockpile various supplies for the coming invasion.


Radar Men from the Moon was budgeted at $172,840, although the final negative cost was $185,702; it was the most expensive Republic serial of 1952. It was filmed between October 17 and November 6, 1951 under the working title Planet Men from Mars; the serial's production number was 1932.


However those numbers are interpreted, in practice the budget for this serial was so tight that no stunt double was used for lead actor George Wallace. His nose was broken by accident while filming an energetic fight scene with actor Clayton Moore.


Wallace was also suspended in mid-air, lying on a board with the rocket suit's jacket closed around it, in front of a rear projection screen for the in-studio shot flying sequences. Wallace performed his own stunt flying take-offs by jumping onto a springboard that would send him up and over the camera rig set-up.

This serial is heavily padded with footage first filmed for the earlier King of the Rocket Men, to which this was a pseudo-sequel. A repainted Juggernaut vehicle from the much earlier Undersea Kingdom serial is also reused here as Retik's lunar tank.


Radar Men from the Moon shows outer space as brightly lit and the characters walking on the Moon in normal Earth gravity and daylight without pressure suits. His laboratory building is actually a Republic Pictures office building with a prop "Cody Laboratories" sign.


Two different aerodynamic helmets were used with the Commando Cody rocket backpack, with the lighter weight version being used only in the stunt sequences; the single-hinged visors of both helmets were always getting stuck open or closed.



Captive Women (1952) B&W
Starring Ron Randell, Margaret Field

Captive Women is fairly short, only 64 minutes. In 1956 it was re-released by the name 1000 Years from Now. In the United Kingdom the movie is known as 3000 A.D., the film's original title. It deals with the effects of a nuclear war and how life would be afterwards.


The story takes place in New York City in a post-apocalyptic setting. Two tribes, the "Norms" and the "Mutates", fighting in the remains of the city. They later band together to fight a third tribe, the "Upriver People", who are invading Manhattan through the Hudson Tunnel in order to steal the other tribes' women.




References and Excerpts:
wikipedia.org, imdb.com






Red Planet Mars (1952) B&W
Starring Peter Graves, Andrea King, Herbert Berghof

When the film was released, the staff at Variety liked the film, writing, "Despite its title, Red Planet Mars takes place on terra firma, sans space ships, cosmic rays or space cadets.

It is a fantastic concoction delving into the realms of science, politics, religion, world affairs and Communism...Despite the hokum dished out, the actors concerned turn in creditable performances."

The New York Times, while giving the film a mixed review, wrote well of some of performances, "Peter Graves and Andrea King are serious and competent, if slightly callow in appearance, as the indomitable scientists.

Marvin Miller is standard as a top Soviet agent, as are Walter Sande, Richard Powers and Morris Ankrum, as Government military men, and Willis Bouchey, as the President."

More recently, critic Bruce Eder also praised the film, writing, "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.

Yet, film critic Dennis Schwartz recently panned the film, writing, "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 paranoic 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."




Chris Cronyn (Peter Graves) and his wife,Linda Cronyn (Andrea King) meet Dr Mitchell (Lewis Martin) at an observatory in Southern California. He explains the experiment that has been ongoing to send and receive messages to Mars. Dr Mitchell shows the couple a number of photos that have been taken that seem to show the Martians have melted their planetary icecaps and are irrigating the desert regions of the planet.


Encouraged by the information from Mitchell, Cronyn plans to send another signal. His wife expresses doubt about contacting the Martians; shes worried what might happen. Slowly Cronyn argues her around and she agrees to continue with the research. At a Russian research station in the Andes Mountains, agents break in and question Franz Calder (Herbert Berghofare) who is also trying to contact Mars.


Calder refuses to be intimidated by the agents and tells them he has discovered the Americans have made contact with the Martians, and that hes been able to intercept the messages. Back at the Cronyn's, Admiral Bill Carey (Walter Sande) pays a surprise visit after hearing about the project. Cronyn admits the biggest problem is the Martians are only replying with the same message that Cronyn is sending.


Overhearing the conversation Cronyns son suggests possibly sending a mathematical equation and see if they recognize what it is. The suggestion makes sense and a message is quickly composed and sent.As they wait for the return signal. Cronyn explains the role Dr Calder played in developing the technology in use, he tempers knowledge of the mans brilliance with the knowledge he is a wanted Nazi war criminal.


Right on time, Cronyns instruments light up, a message is being received. The Martians have completed the equation. News spreads quickly about the break through. As weeks pass, more and more information is exchanged with Mars, information such as Mars having unlimited power, excess of food and a life span of over three hundred years.


The news brings economic collapse around the world, first agriculture then the mining industry collapse, eventually even the banking industry is affected. The stress of the discoveries begins to tell on the Cronyn family. The military take control of the situation by forcing all signals from Mars to be sent directly to the Pentagon, where the messages will only be released once there is evidence the message wont have an adverse effect.


In Moscow, the Russians have become encouraged by the economic collapse begin to consider going to war. The leaders of the US come to the same conclusion. War will be inevitable with the Soviet Union. The American President decides that a group the remaining group of 13 messages will remain uudecoded. The President also tells Cronyn the Russians have found a way to decode the messages because they released the text of one of the messages before the US did.


A new message is received, and translated. Although a little ambiguous It seems to indicate that the Martians made contact with Earth some 2000 years ago, possibly in the form of Jesus Christ. The next message has even stronger religious message. All over the free world churches of all faiths are filled to bursting point. In the Soviet Union a group of peasants dig up hidden relics religious relics, hidden since the time of the revolution.


The villages gather around and begin to celebrate an outdoor mass. Suddenly a truckload of armed police arrive and machine gun the whole congregation. Yet another message is decoded. This time Calder transmits the text to the Soviets. The message specifically points evils of tyrants and the true way is through God. Shortly after delivering this message Calder dies in an avalanche.


Reports begin coming in to the central committee from all over Russia of villages rising up to fight the local Soviet officials. The Soviets decide that population redistribution may be required. At the Kremlin the phones stop working, then the power is cut. Singing can be heard from the street. The Soviet Premier realizes it is a religious hymn. Gunfire begins to echo through the streets and a nearby building explodes into flames.


Suddenly a TV broadcast is seen around the world sent from Moscow. It is the British Ambassador reporting that the communists have been over thrown, and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has taken power. His first announcement is to withdraw all Soviet troops from around the world. Sometime later Calder breaks into the Cronyns home, he goes on to explain he survived the avalanche and the long trip he undertook to get to the US.


Calder reveals that the messages were not real and no one has successfully contacted Mars. He proves that he invented the messages, simply to amuse himself Mrs. Cronyn realizes that Calder sent some of the messages, but he was not responsible the religious messages. Calder brushes her argument aside and is going to reveal the truth to the world that he faked all of the messages.


His proof will be the fact the Martians have not replied since the avalanche destroyed his installation. The Cronyn's realize the only way to stop Calder is to blow up their installation. Mrs. Cronyn releases a valve that floods the room with hydrogen. As she goes to light a cigarettes, the receiver begins picking up a message from Mars.


Calder realizing he is caught in his own lie panics, fires his gun, blowing up the building and killing the occupants. Sometime later The President is delivering a eulogy for the Cronyns. He reads the first few words of the last message before the explosion interrupted the transmission, "Ye have done well my............"




50's SCI-FI - 1953 / The War of the Worlds > > >




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