They Came From Beyond Space, 1967, color, Freddie Francis (dir.), Robert Hutton, Jennifer Jayne, Zia Mohyeddin, Bernard Kay. 1:25.
I havenâ€™t read The Gods Hate Kansas, the novel on which this flick is based, but it probably has a more coherent plot than the movie. Thatâ€™s the only real problem: The plot just doesnâ€™t make a lot of sense. Otherwise, well, a group of aliens stranded on the moon manage to crash meteorites on earth that take over people with mind controlâ€”except for one immune scientist (he has a silver plate in his head). Thereâ€™s a plague (actually a way to get workers to the moon), travel to and from the moon in under a day, lots of silliness, and a warm ending: All the aliens had to do was ask for help. Well acted, well filmed (in Britain?), decent colorâ€¦but the story needs help. Watchable, though. $1.50
Warning From Space (UchÃ»jin Tokyo ni arawaru), 1956, color, Koji Shima (dir.), Keizo Kawasaki, Toyomi Karita. 1:27.
UFOs in the sky over Tokyo! Strange star-shaped aliens with a big eye in the center of the star reconnoiter; finally, one gets transformed into a replica of a singing star, so she can warn a scientist that his new explosive formula is too powerfulâ€”and, oh, by the way, a meteorâ€™s going to collide with and destroy earth. The aliens are from â€œmirror Earth,â€ the oft-used â€œplanet exactly opposite Earth on the same orbit, so never visible,â€ but far ahead of us in most science. The world government wonâ€™t approve destroying the meteor with atomic weapons (I never knew that missiles typically have interplanetary range!) and it doesnâ€™t work anywayâ€”but after the climate goes crazy, the aliens manage to save the day with the formula they wanted to destroy. This is in semi-color: Inside, itâ€™s nearly sepia; outside, itâ€™s generally pretty good color. For its time, not a bad little flick. $1.25.
The Phantom Planet, 1961, b&w, William Marshall (dir.), Dean Fredericks, Coleen Gray, Anthony Dexter, Francis X. Bushman, Dick Haynes, Richard Kiel. 1:22.
Weâ€™re starting to explore space from a moon base, but a couple of ships disappear. A third exploratory vessel lands on this â€œplanetâ€ (a big, oddly-shaped asteroid) with little people, and the captain shrinks down to 6″ as soon as he breathes the local air. Lots of stuff about special gravity control, and a civilization becoming spoiled through too much technology thatâ€™s decided to go native (except when they need technology). And this self-controlled planet is being attacked by Solarians, doglike beings who travel in flaming spaceships that are not much larger than the aliens themselves and apparently almost entirely open. Lotsâ€™oâ€™plot, no real sense. (Richard Kiel is a Solarian.) Not bad as a laugher. $1.
Planet Outlaws, 1953, b&w, Harry Revier (dir.), Buster Crabbe, Constance Moore, Jackie Moran, Jack Mulhall, Anthony Warde. 1:09.
This oneâ€™s truly strange. That first credit could be a tipoff: Buck Rogers in the 25th century, in suspended animation since 1938 (a dirigible crash) and instantly able to fly the aircraft/space ships of the Hidden City, trying to escape the domination of Killer Kane, evil ruler ofâ€¦ well, you get the idea. What this is, apparently, is a badly-edited reduction of a Buck Rogers serial, with a tiny bit of narration at the beginning and end trying to make it Important. Transitions donâ€™t workâ€”but boy, those aircraft/spaceships sure do, apparently flying to and from Saturn in a few hours whenever convenient. Thereâ€™s an invisibility ray too. Incidentally, Wilma (Constance Moore) is not along as a Hot Girlfriend: Sheâ€™s clearly more capable than Buck, and her outfit is pretty much the same as well. This is a mess, but a nostalgic mess. $0.75.