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Il Pianeta degli Uomini Spenti

Battle of the Worlds

Italy 1961
produced by
Ultra Film, Sicilia Cinematografica
directed by Anthony M. Dawson (= Antonio Margheriti)
starring Claude Rains, Bill Carter, Umberto Orsini, Maya Brent, Jacqueline Derval, Renzo Palmer, Carlo D'Angelo, Carol Danell, Jim Dolen, John Stacy, Joe Pollini, Aldo D'Ambrosio, Massimo Righi, Giuliano Gemma
written by Ennio De Concini (as Vasilij Petrov), music by Mario Migliardi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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A planet called the Outsider has entered our solar system and is threatening to crash earth. Only Professor Benson (Claude Rains), an eccentric and arrogant scientist who hardly ever leaves what he calls his den, thinks otherwise - and wouldn't you know it, once close enough, the Outsider doesn't crash Earth but orbits her. Thing is, according to Benson's calculations, the Outsider was not to orbit earth. So Benson tries to persuade those in power to blow up the Outsider, but this is deemed to dangerous for our planet - and we soon regret it when earth spaceships are attacked by flying saucers and shot out of space one after the other. But enter crack pilot/scientist Fred Steele (Umberto Orsini), who finds a way to outmaneuvre one of the saucers and send it crashing onto earth. Once the saucer is investigated, it turns out to be crew-less and controlled by a computer. Somehow, Benson gets his hands on the computer and finds out how it works and how to use it to control (and blow up) the flying saucers. So the next time an earth battleship goes up into space, it spells doom for the saucers. With the Outsider defenseless, earth wants to blow it up immediately, but now Benson himself wants to go to the planet to investigate first. Up on the planet, Benson and crew find a system of caverns that reveal the secrets of this planet: It was once inhabited by an alien race, that on the verge of extinction launched it into space to find another home for themselves. But extinction couldn't be stopped, and now what keeps the planet going and attacking other planets (like earth) is its central computer ...

An extended subplot tells about the love story between crack pilot/scientist Fred Steele and Benson's personal assistant Eve (Maya Brent).

 

Of course, from today's point of view, many miniature effects featured in this film and many futuristic sets might look a tad ridiculous, on the other hand, if you prefer good old plastic miniatures to all-too-slick CGI-effects and like these weird, almost psychedelic 1960's designs like I do, you might like this one. Furthermore the script of the film is quite ok (considering this is a film about a runaway planet and UFOs of course) and director Antonio Margheriti (in only his second film) directs the movie with an emphasis on style and atmosphere, making it maybe not prime science fiction entertainment, but for what it is a very watchable, even intelligent movie. And Claude Rains as the grouchy scientist is really worth watching the movie by itself already.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD