Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Battle of the Worlds|
Actors: Claude Rains, Bill Carter, Umberto Orsini, Maya Brent, Jacqueline Derval
Director: Antonio Margheriti
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Avoid anything put out by Cheezy Flicks Ent.
Disgruntled Movie Buyer | USA | 11/30/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I was expecting to be entertained by a low budget Scifi flick.
What I didn't expect was to recieve this title burned on consumer grade media.
Couldn't watch movie with all the skipping and last chapter completely freezes up dvd player.
When did Amazon start dealing in Pirated Movies?
Again. Stay Away From CHEEZY FLICKS ENT."
Planetary Lapse Of Reason...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 08/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Watch Claude Rains devour every piece of scenery as Dr. Benson, in this slow, yet somehow watchable space epic. Benson is the only scientist who seems to have a brain, and must overcome the idiots around him in order to deal with a rogue planet from another galaxy! Yes, said planet has entered our solar system and is heading toward the earth! It will soon be close enough to destroy all life! Worse still, the mysterious orb is loaded with killer flying saucers that thwart all attempts to investigate the planet! Can Benson find a way to get to the electronic brain at the planet's core before doomsday? Watch and see! BOTWs boasts special FX that are straight out of some poor kid's toybox! The story is nearly motionless at times and the characters (except for Benson) are petrified wood. However, I find myself enjoying it anyway! Am I sick or what?? Check it out..."
"We must prepare a report for the high command and transmit
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 03/31/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"About the only positive thing I could say about the movie Battle of the Worlds (1963), originally released as Il Pianeta degli uomini spenti (1961), is that it wasn't actor Claude Rains', who passed away in 1967, last feature film (that would be 1965's The Greatest Story Ever Told), as no one should have to be remembered for appearing in this dreadful Italian made sci-fi schlock. Written by Ennio De Concini (Black Sunday, Colossus and the Amazon Queen) and directed by Antonio Margheriti (Horror Castle, Mondo Inferno, Hercules vs. King Fu), the film features, as I've mentioned, Claude Rains (The Invisible Man, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Notorious), along with Bill Carter (Angels Hard as They Come), Umberto Orsini (Don't Tempt the Devil), Maya Brent, and Jacqueline Derval (Duel of Champions).
As the movie begins we find ourselves on an island whose main structure is an observatory, and we meet a young couple in Dr. Fred Steele (Orsini) and Eve Barnett (Margheriti), both of whom work at the facility. We learn that the pair are not only engaged, but are soon to leave the island to `live among the normal people', as Fred puts it...anyway, after about a ten minute sequence involving some sort of astounding discovery found in space, precipitated by a less than thrilling sequence involving a convoy of Mars bound spaceships in peril (does two ships constitute a convoy?), we're finally let in on the fact that there's a rogue planet crusing through our solar system, headed on a collision course for Earth. While this is news to everyone else, the facility head, a cantankerous, crotchety curmudgeon named Professor Benson (Rains) has known about it for quite a while, due to his supreme calculus skills, and has since named the celestial object `the outsider'. Given this global threat, Eve decides to stay on, which irks Fred some, but it doesn't really matter as all transfers have been canceled. This aspect actually has little bearing on the story, but, at the time of its presentation, it seemed of some importance. Eventually the mystery planet arrives and goes into orbit around Earth, and Benson argues with the `bigwigs' (this is how he constantly, and subsequently annoyingly, refers to those in the high command) about a course of action. Benson believes the planet should be destroyed immediately (for reasons he doesn't bother to share), while those in charge feel more investigation is needed, to which an exploration party is sent, only to meet with a disastrous fate, allowing for Benson to go into `I told you so' mode (he's a real sour grapes kinda guy). Eventually Benson begins sharing his hypothesis with regards to the planet (he thinks there may be intelligent life within), and those in charge decide to mount a full-scale attack to neutralize the threat. Anyway, some stuff happens, Benson sits in a hammock, Fred is angry with Eve, Benson's secretary Mrs. Collins creeps everyone out (what the hell was her deal?), an alien saucer is recovered, all culminating in Benson, accompanied by a small group of scientists, actually visiting the planet prior to the military's operation, leading to some sort of interesting revelations.
The main problem I had with this feature seems to be one shared by others in the fact that it's just so very boring...and when I say boring, I don't just mean boring, but mind numbingly tedious. I can forgive a lot of things like the cheap, bargain basement special effects, insipid characters, inane dialog scattered with meaningless techno babble, and rotten, illogical science, as these are often commonalities with shoddy, cheaply made science fiction features, but at least in those other films there was a modicum of entertainment value, which wasn't the case here. The only real spark of life in this feature is Rains' (who looks an awful lot like the late, great Cubs baseball announcer Harry Carey), and that's only because he hams up every scene he's in...and I have to say, his character was quite the a-hole. He constantly claims to know about events and circumstances well before they become known to his colleagues, but keeps said information to himself until it becomes common knowledge (you know, it's real easy to claim prior knowledge of an event after it's already occurred). Perhaps a little heads up would be appropriate in terms of a rogue planet heading towards Earth, possibly signaling our ultimate destruction. And he also seems to take great satisfaction, especially when it results in the loss of human life, when things go wrong after the `bigwigs' decide on a course of action that differs from what he thinks should be done. His character is an obnoxious, odious, hermit who lives in a shack with a ton of plants and a mangy mutt, does ridiculously complicated calculus equations on the planters with chalk, sleeps in a hammock, chews on a cigar, and belittles anyone within range with his smarmy, superior, egotistical, condescending comments if only to continually show how much smarter he is than everyone else. I'm surprised none of those working (I should say suffering) under his leadership hadn't visited him in the middle of the night and clubbed the life out of him with a blunt object. And get this, we don't even learn Rains' character's name until a half hour into the film because his underlings only refer to him as the `old man'. As far as the rest of the characters, they were all worthless, often presented as being of some importance only to disappear from the movie for extended periods of time, reappearing at some later point if only to say, "Hey, I'm still here!". The story, which is essentially a few plot threads mashed together, crawls along, picking up only slightly near the end when an expedition is mounted to visit the mystery planet. There are some interesting visuals and revelations as a result, but hardly enough to warrant anyone sitting through this miserable dreck to get to that point. As I mentioned, the special effects are pretty rotten, which I can let slide, but why did all the Earth ships look like phallic pleasure aids with bits of plastic glued on? And then there's the musical score...some of it was standard stuff, but the other bits were comprised of an irritating cacophony of sound effects including various bloops, bleeps, and blorts. Just because someone can edit a bunch of obnoxious, `spacey' sound effects together doesn't mean said concoction should be used to score a science fiction film.
The fullscreen picture on this Cheezy Flicks DVD release looks rotten, pure and simple. I don't know what source material was used for the transfer, but it was well worn, as not only were the colors washed out, but there's lines, specks, and other signs of wear, tear, and age damage present throughout the entire feature. The audio was slightly better, but not by much. The information on the back of the DVD case claims the film was "remastered", which I take, in this case, to mean slapping whatever shoddy element available onto DVD. As far as special features, there's not much except for a video montage of other Cheezy Flicks DVD releases, along with a few vintage intermission clips.
By the way, there seemed to be an attempt at comedy in the film in terms of a running gag as whenever Benson would pull out a cigar, about ten of his ash-kissing lackeys would shove lit lighters in his face. I'm not entirely sure why this was supposed to be funny, but maybe it's an Italian thing...
"Increase the level of the micro waves."
Robert S. Clay Jr. | St. Louis, MO., USA | 03/26/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A rogue planet hurtles toward Earth. Alien saucers emerge and engage toy rocket ships from Earth. The hostile planet has its own electronic super-brain. Irascible Prof. Benson (Claude Rains) tries to communicate with the "other" before Earth can blow-up the galactic interloper. The best visual display is the brief scene early in the film of forty-something Mrs. Collins bulging out of her tight swimsuit. Great cheeks. After that, the outer space FX suffer in comparison. What Claude Rains, of all people, is doing in this Italian sci-fi flick is a puzzle. This movie was produced in the same era as Rains' appearance as irascible Professor Challenger in "The Lost World." Perhaps, the producers wanted to exploit the popularity of that other '60s popcorn flick among pre-teens. Today this movie is of value only for determined fans of the esoteric delights of low budget flicks. The rest of the cast is as boring as they are obscure. The script is ambitious, but tends to go off in various directions that make continuity elusive. The rest of the film is too pretentious and somber to be good camp. Although, viewing an aging Claude Rains in a space suit complete with a bubble-glass helmet verges on comic. From this point forward, you are on your own. ;-)"