Buy The IMAGE Version
David W. Dellinger | North Shore of Oahu | 10/05/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The more widely available DVD versions of this film, distributed by Westlake and other lesser distributors, are sourced from an EXTREMELY low quality master, and are virtually unwatchable. Make sure you go with the IMAGE release."
A fun movie and decent presentation
Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 03/24/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"With a title like DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS you're not expecting much, so when you get a movie with at least a little bit of substance you're inevitably pleased. Almost a quiet, character ensemble movie buoyed considerably by its rural English setting and its well-defined (if somewhat broadly drawn) characters. Sure, it's a B-movie, but it's not nearly as campy as some would describe - in fact, it's played rather seriously. Overall, not a bad way to pass a Saturday afternoon; great home matinee material.The DVD presentation is sparse - there's a trailer, and chapter selections, but nothing else. It's tough to justify the list price on this, but it IS a very nice print overall and shows excellent tone and definition. Sound is excellent as well. It goes without saying that it blows away those VHS EP copies out there."
Presentable DVD for British SF camp also-ran
Surfink | Racine, WI | 12/07/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Devil Girl from Mars, an early effort of Harry and Edward Danziger, producers of dozens of British potboilers throughout the 50s and 60s, is one of those movies that inhabits that netherworld of not-really-good-enough-to-be-good-not-really-bad-enough-to-be-good. While the title and advertising materials promise a super-campy yuk-fest a la Queen of Outer Space, Catwomen of the Moon, etc., the movie really only delivers a mildy diverting, highly derivative tale of a butchy femalien (Nyah) and her clunky robot. At times stealing shamelessy from The Day the Earth Stood Still (to one-tenth the effect), the script consists mostly of lots of Earthbound dramatic and romantic subplots. Die-hards may find some faint amusement in the Devil Girl's imperious, slightly bitchy manner, her ungainly robot's all-too-brief appearances, and the vaguely Monty Pythonish reactions of the Scottish townsfolk to their cosmic visitors. Also on the plus side: Nyah's dominatrix-like leather/vinyl costume; the cool 50s-deco-look spaceship and robot; OK, if limited, special effects, and the absolutely radiant Hazel Court. What she's doing romancing that schmuck Hugh McDermott is a complete mystery. I really wanted to like this movie more, but honestly it's pretty dry overall. Unless you're already attuned to English 1950s SF you're likely to find this a bit on the dull side, and Quatermass fans, etc. will probably find it rather dumb as well. Ultimately, Devil Girl remains a passable time-waster for bad movie aficionados, but just not as much fun as it should be. They should have put Hazel Court in that leather suit and had HER be mean and bitchy!
The good news is that at least the DVD is worthy. There is some occasional light speckling (a little worse toward the beginning of the movie), but otherwise the source print is quite presentable, with little to no visible damage, good tonal values, sharpness, and detail. An OK if somewhat scratchy trailer and chapter stops are included. If you already love the movie, or are a Hazel Court fan or 50s completist, it's a pretty solid buy; the only-curious may want to see it first (somehow) before purchasing."
Interesting And Well Acted British Sci Fi Story With A Memor
Simon Davis | 05/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being a 1950's sci fi buff I've long wanted to see this British film produced by "Spartan Productions", but not being your typical, splashy, colour filled production overwhelmed with special effects it has always been hard to find. Despite it's decidely "B", movie title that screams "forgettable cheapie!" this production is in actual fact well done and takes a distinctly different approach to your standard 1950's space saga story telling. Most importantly it has a strong and memorable female lead in the "Devil Girl", of the title played here by a most alluring Patricia Laffan who I have always enjoyed for her playing of the evil Roman Empress Poppea in MGM's collosal production of "Quo Vadis?" in 1951. Unlike many low budget sci fi's from this period this film takes a far less sensational slant in its telling relying more on some interesting character work while of course incorporating the standard element of romance for good measure. Despite the film's obviously limited budget it is a most handsome looking production and the interior of the Martian's spaceship in "Devil Girl From Mars", has a starkly classical look to it that recalls in my mind the wonderful space ship interior from Twentieth Century Fox's "The Day The Earth Stood Still".
Based on an obscure stage play by John Mather and James Eastwood, "Devil Girl from Mars", is set in the Scottish Highlands at a old Inn run by Mr. and Mrs Jamieson (John Laurie and Sophie Stewart). When there are sightings of a falling meteorite in the area Professor Hennessey (Joseph Tomelty), and reporter Michael Carter (Hugh McDermott), travel to the area to investigate. The Inn although closed for the winter soon becomes a hive of activity as not only do the two men arrive there after getting lost but escaped convict Robert Justin (Peter Reynolds) comes by to link up with his barmaid girlfriend Doris (Adrienne Corri), who works at the Inn. However these unexpected guests are the least of the locals worries as suddenly a huge spaceship lands near the Inn and the terrified residents, including London model Ellen Prestwick (Hazel Court), are soon faced with a ruthless female Martian called Nyah (Patricia Laffan),who explains what her sinister purpose for landing on Earth actually is. It seems that there has been a war of the sexes on Mars that has ended with the males of the population being weakened and of little use in breeding purposes. It is Nyah's purpose to gather a small group of Earthling men to take back to Mars to help replenish the population. Trapping the small group at the Inn behind an invisible wall Nyah has to wait why her spaceship which encountered some damage on its entry into the Earth's atmosphere repairs itself by some miracle of Martian science unknown to Man. Nyah's real destination was to be London and she intends to travel there once the strange "organic metal", of her ship finishes its repairs. The group see that they have to stop her for the sake of all mankind and after one attempt to over power her fails Professor Hennessey decides to use a different strategy and manages to get aboard her ship to see how it can be disabled. Nyah decides to actually take one of the men with her as a guide in London but brutally declares that "the rest will die". Despite the men's distrust of convict Robert Justin alias Albert Simpson he decides to do the noble thing once he hears from the professor about how best to destroy the enemy ship. When Nyah returns and the rest of the party are hiding in the cellar Albert agrees to go with her and since he is young and healthy she agrees. Boarding the now fully repaired spaceship the pair take off however Albert does as he promised and blows up the ship and all on it as it rises into space sacrificing himelf by saving the Earth from the Martian's evil intentions.
"Devil Girl From Mars", largely confines most of it's main action to the one main set and that actually works in the stories favour in seemingly cutting off the Earth characters from help from the outside world. It is easy to see that this story could have been a stage play as most of the time the action focuses on various characters making entries and exits to the Inn's main dining room set. Not being a Hollywood production the different slant taken on telling this sci fi story is an interesting one. The cast are really what makes this film an entertaining one and as mentioned Patricia Laffan as the black leather clad Martian woman Nyah steals every scene she is in with her sexy presense and wry observations of the human's failings. Expert at playing the villianess on screen it's a pity she didn't work more in films as she had a great screen presense and makes a most memorable impression playing this hard as nails female alien present on Earth to collect virile men for breeding purposes back on Mars. The beautiful and talented Hazel Court who won real stardom after she went to the United States and began working for A.I.P in horror efforts with such actors as Ray Milland and Vincent Price has a certainly less colourful role than Miss Laffan but she still manages to breath some dimension into her character. She is unfortunately saddled with a terrible love interest in the form of actor Hugh McDermott as Michael. McDermott really fails to impress as the supposed hero of the piece and his delivery never seems to be convincing. The cast as a whole are uniformily fine however I'd have to say that McDermott is definately the weak link in the chain. John Laurie as the alcohol loving Inn owner Mr. Jamieson and especially Sophie Stewart as his bossy and worrying wife both provide the welcome comical relief to the story and Sophie Stewart's scenes reacting to the female martian suddenly within the group's presense are especially entertaining. Her funniest piece is when Nyah is threatening to liquidate the entire group to which Stewart's solution is to have a good cup of tea which she says "always makes me feel better during a crisis"! Especially effective in the story is that the hero of the piece ends up being probably the most unlikely character in the escaped convict played by Peter Reynold's who sacrifices himself for the sake of all of mankind. Reynold's does a great job at transforming his character from an unlikeable and supposedly untrustworthy escapee into a character with great moral backbone. When talking production values on this British effort obviously we can't expect the same type of lavishness as from such contemporary Hollywood sci fi examples as the classic "War of the World's". Budget constaints are of course very obvious in the limited sets and special effects utilised however those effects present such as the ray gun courtesy of Jack Whitehead still look surprisingly good. The space ship set although sadly underused in the story is also highly impressive with its interior, only glimpsed in one scene being a real standout. The big let down comes however in the form of the very amateurish looking Martian robot that looks like an oversized tissue box with legs and arms glued on. This creation plus Miss Laffan's larger than life female alien definately gives "Devil Girl From Mars', it's camp appeal to modern audiences.
Not to be taken seriously for a minute "Devil Girl From Mars", I feel makes a refreshing change from the usual 1950's sci efforts we have all grown so used to. If you can look past it's rather silly sounding title it is a nifty little thriller with a quite risque theme (for the 1950's) embedded in it. The idea of men being shanghaid from Earth to mate with Martian women might not raise an eyebrow with modern audiences but I sometimes wonder how it was received upon its first release in 1954 when censorship was still very much in place. Patricia Laffan created a memorable sci fi character in the leather clad amazon Nyah who lets no man tell her what to do, and for her alone "Devil Girl from Mars", is essential in the collection of any sci fi buff.