Sunday, 3 July 2011

Electric Cinematic: "Planet of Storms" 1962.


Now this is old school retro sci-fi and brings back memories of watching this on BBC2 on a wet sunday night when they used to have movie seasons based on various themes. Even though it was dubbed, I can still remember it because of its cool designs and hardware. Think the Russian version of Gerry Anderson and you get the idea.

The movie begins with a shot of three immaculate Soviet spacecraft nearing Venus – one of which is immediately atomised by a just happened to be passing meteor.The surviving cosmonauts decide to press on to Venus at great risk. We then embark on a surprisingly madcap story of interplanetary exploration. There are giant carnivorous plants, man-size dinosaurs and octopus things. The cute robot fells trees and plays big band music. And in its final minutes, Planet of Storms takes an amazing turn. It turns out there is intelligent life on Venus after all, which is revealed in a clever and surprising way. I shall not spoil the secret, but it's worth the wait.

Planet of Storms had an unfortunate subsequent history. It was bought for US distribution by Roger Corman, who proceeded to cut it up and use the pieces for two other films, an act of cinematic cannibalism that gave us Curtis Harrington's Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and Peter Bogdanovich's equally classic Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.Planet of the Storms is one of those bonkers movies you see as a kid and never forget.

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