The Angry Red Planet
Release Date: November 23, 1959
Starring: Gerald Mohr as Col. Thoms O'Bannion
Naura Hayden as Dr. Iris "Irish" Ryan
Jack Kruschen as CWO Sam Jacobs
Les Tremayne as Prof. Theodore Gettell
Music: Paul Dunlap
Director: lb Melchior
Producers, Screenplay: Sidney W. Pink, Noman Maurer
Cinematographer: Stanley Cortez
Editor: Ivan J. Hoffman
Distributor: American International Pictures
Time: 83 min.
The Angry Red Planet is currently not available on DVD.
The Angry Red Planet was given a budget of only $200,000, and the director was only given ten days to film it. A new technique known as CineMagic was used.
CineMagic, a major selling point for this movie, was invented in 1959 by 3-D movie producer Sidney W. Pink and Norman Maurer. It cast a pinkish glow over the screen.
The intended effect was to make the actors look cartoonish so that they could fit into less realistic backgrounds. Action scenes were interwoven with shots of the ruins of a distant city. It was hoped that the stange coloration would distract the viewer from noticing that nothing was happening in the city.
The first manned flight to Mars the rocketship MR-1 (for "Mars Rocket 1"), returns to Earth after being thought lost in space. Attempts to raise the crew via radio fail, so a decision is made to land the spacecraft under remote control.
Two survivors are found on board, Dr. Irish Ryan (Naura Hayden, billed as Nora Hayden) and Colonel Tom O'Bannion (Gerald Mohr), the latter's arm covered with a strange alien growth. Racing against time to find a cure for his condition, Dr. Ryan recalls the mission's fateful journey:
After landing on Mars, the well-armed crew of four set out in oxygen masks to explore the planet's red-tinted surface. They find carnivorous plants, and are attacked at every turn by horrific creatures, including a large arachnid with a rat-like body and bat-like facial features. They find that their radio has been blocked and their ship is held by an alien force field.
Using an inflatable raft, the trapped crew cross a lake toward a newly discovered Martian city with highly advanced architecture. They are stopped on the lake by a huge single-celled creature described as a giant amoeba. The creature kills one crewmember (Chief Weapons Officer Jacobs) and its tissues eat through the suit of another (O'Bannion), to his arm. Battling for their lives, the survivors escape into the ship, but one more member (professor Gettell) dies of a heart attack after take-off. The remaining two crew make it back to Earth, where the amoebic growth is persuaded to leave Colonel O'Bannion's arm by electric shocks.
Ultimately the Earth receives a message, as an alien voice recorded on their only portion of unerased tape. Carrying the message is the only reason they have been allowed to escape. The Martians have watched Earth's development and believe its technology has outpaced its cultural advancement. The Martians warn Earth people never to return to Mars without invitation, with total destruction of the Earth as penalty for disregarding the message.