The Angry Red Planet (1959) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Angry Red Planet1959

The Angry Red Planet (1959)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The United States space program reports that its missing, overdue manned Mars probe has returned to Earth orbit, but that they haven't been able to make radio contact with it. When it is brought down by remote control, they find three of the four crewmembers aboard: one of them, Professor Gettell (Les Tremayne), is dead; another, mission commander Colonel Tom O'Bannion (Gerald Mohr), is in a coma and suffering from some kind of alien infection; and the third, exo-biologist Iris Ryan (Nora Hayden), is in a state of shock. The ship's tape library seems to have been wiped clean of any record of what took place on the mission, and the doctors can't begin to save O'Bannion until they know what happened. In desperation, they decide to put Iris Ryan into a state of hypnosis, forcing her to recall the events of the mission. The bulk of the film is an un-narrated flashback in which we see the voyage to Mars and the quartet of explorers -- rounded out by technician Sam Jacobs (Jack Kruschen) -- proceeding successfully to a landing. As they draw closer to signs of intelligent life, however, the group also encounters increasingly dangerous creatures, including a man-eating plant, a giant bat-rat-spider, and a huge amoeba-like creature that consumes anything in its path. Sam is killed in an encounter with one of these menaces and O'Bannion is infected with an alien microbe, even as the ship is held fast by a powerful magnetic force. Gettell figures out a way to launch, at the cost of his own life, and Iris is left alone with the stricken O'Bannion on the journey back to Earth. The film concludes as the scientists find the one piece of information left on the ship's tapes, a warning from the Martians that the primitive, war-like people from Earth may not visit the planet again, except at risk to their lives. One of a relative handful of 1950s sci-fi films done in color, The Angry Red Planet did its rivals one better with the use of a special effects process called "Cinemagic," which gave the entire screen a deep red tint but also created the illusion of dimensionality (i.e. 3-D, sort of), and made the monsters look particularly eerie. The mixture of better-than-usual special effects, coupled with more than competent acting (Mohr, Tremayne, and Kruschen were veterans of mainstream films and television) helps make this one of the more entertaining space-flight stories of its period, though not quite in a league with It! The Terror From Beyond Space for sheer suspense.

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Gerald Mohr
as Col. Thomas O'Bannion
Nora Hayden
as Dr. Iris 'Irish' Ryan
Les Tremayne
as Prof. Theodore Gettell
Jack Kruschen
as CWO Sam Jacobs
Paul Hahn
as Gen. Treegar
J. Edward McKinley
as Prof. Weiner
Tom Daly
as Dr. Gordon
Edward Innes
as Gen. Prescott
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Critic Reviews for The Angry Red Planet

All Critics (8)

The results are quite mediocre, although they can be appreciated with some sympathy. [Full Review in Spanish]

April 10, 2020 | Full Review…

A science-fiction yarn, not much sillier than most of its competitors.

October 16, 2019 | Full Review…

Gimmicky sci-fi, outer space B-flick.

December 28, 2004 | Rating: 2/5

Very bad special effects mar this only-average s-f excursion. Only the giant rat-bat-whatever creature has any flair.

October 17, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

They don't make 'em like this anymore. It's easy to see why.

December 4, 2002 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for The Angry Red Planet


Oh boy I have been trying to see this well known classic sci-fi for a long time, the poster alone got me all excited. But lets just reflect on that poster quickly shall we. K so the poster clearly shows the huge infamous alien monster that this movie is famous for. So I kinda expected this big beastie to be the movies main antagonist you know...wrong! Nope alas its not, they clearly tried to make people think that and I can see why, but its not, such a pity. OK so the plot, its the usual thing, its been repeated over and over and for some reason it still kinda works! But the main difference with this movie is the story is told in flashbacks by the female character after the entire event has occurred. The crew were thought to be lost in space but the ship turns up outta the blue. Eventually the remaining crew members are brought down to Earth and treated. Dr. Iris Ryan (Naura Hayden) recounts what happened on their fateful mission. A small team of astronauts are on the first manned exploration mission to Mars. Well I say astronauts (oh boy here we go again), but actually its the usual mix of military types, professors, specialists and doctors in science and chemistry or whatever. Naturally the team consists of three men and one female, the bit of totty on the side if you will (bit of casual sexism for you there Sir). Once reaching Mars they encounter many dangers and an alien city, but before they can investigate anything properly the team come under attack from the planets various lifeforms. Eventually they are forced to leave after suffering two casualties. Mars apparently a hostile celestial body in space. The first thing you notice about this movie at the start is the large amount of stock footage used. As we watch the Earth based teams trying to bring the rocketship MR-1 back down to terra firma its easy to point out the stock footage, very easy. In all honesty the film is edited and cut together relatively well in these early scenes, and they do try to blend the stock footage with the live action footage. Unfortunately the obvious differences in film quality, lighting, equipment etc...lets this down, but kudos for trying. As for the interior of the MR-1...well its a bit of a disaster truth be told. This could be one of the worst spaceship interiors I've seen, it literally looks like a large square room in any random building. Many of the controls and gauges are on vertical cabinets against the wall, they have literal doors and windows and a few control panels in the middle of the room. It looks like an office for a 1950's newspaper company. After the usual shuddering effect of the camera to indicate the landing on Mars, the crew pretty much stand around and debate for quite some time. Eventually they venture out onto the surface and once again we get a red tinted effect on the film. This does work as we've seen before but this time it somehow effects the films quality. There's a clash between the red tint and the footage causing a nasty blur effect all around everything which does actually limit visibility at times. I'm unsure if that was always there or if its just a fault on my copy or down to the age of the film. Anyway Mars turns out to be a barren red desert with spots of lush jungle! Within said jungle there appears to be lots of life such as large man-eating plants people. Damn good job the crew have this big gun thing that somehow turns its target into ice or whatever (its actually called a freeze ray, I kid you not). Eventually (always eventually) the crew stumble across the first alien nasty, the huge spider/bat/rat thing which has to be one of the greatest alien creations ever. Now this thing was actually a large puppet combined with a smaller puppet and some stop motion animation. Even though this thing moved like a limp brick, and you could see the wires moving it, and its face was frozen in one expression, and its claws dragged along the ground hilariously...its still fecking awesome. Honesty its actually a really creepy design and I just wish it had more screen time in this movie to kill someone. Of course that would be hard seeing as it was a large immobile puppet but still, would have been cool. Its later on that the crew finally discover an alien lake with a vast city on the other side, teasing you the viewer with anticipation. Well cork it bucko because we never get to the city, we never find out who really lives there and their history or anything. The reason being because the crew are attacked by a large piece of jelly with one big rotating eye when they try to cross the lake. Granted its another brilliant alien beastie and it kills one crew member by digesting him in clear view of the others (great stuff with nice effects), but you want the crew to reach the city dagnabbit. I should point out that like some alien plants earlier, the city is actually a hand drawn image, a very good hand drawn image but clearly a drawing. The whole alien city aspect is just one side plot that never really goes anywhere. We do actually get brief glimpses of an alien city dweller, the presumed intelligent life on Mars that inhabit the city (a very bad and crudely made three eyed alien suit), but again it doesn't go anywhere, you don't find out. We are basically left asking many questions and itching for more exploration. A few more camera judders and its blast off! Back home to Earth, but not before the main lead crew member gets infected by the jelly monster and the eldest crew member kicks the bucket from a heart attack...original! We then come full circle and back to Dr. Ryan who has been recalling the events to the military types and doctors. At first you think the bloke with the infected arm might cause some kind of alien disease that could begin to wipe out mankind, ending the movie with a cliffhanger...nope, they cure it. So what can I say about this journey to the wilds of Mars, its certainly an eye opener. I was left disappointed by the misleading movie poster and the fact that so much is dangled in your face yet left unexplored and up in the air. The film needs a sequel it seems. Yet despite that its still a solid hokey sci-fi adventure with lots of creatures, some pleasing visual effects and plenty of those cliched stereotypical characters we all know and love so much from these golden oldies.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

One of the many American International Pictures Sci-fi films to hit the drive - in theaters during the sixties. Is there some life form on Mars, maybe no the kind everyone thinks now days, but in 1959 Mars was Red so when we walked on mars during this movie everything was red. This is a film from the MGM Midnite Movie Series. Reason I watched it, The special effects are pretty cheap but he its 1959 and cheap was good. 4 stars

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Nora Hayden is sexually harassed all the way to Mars and back. Worth seeing just for the rat-bat-spider!

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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