Four men and a girl crash-land on the red planet Mars after suffering severe damage in a meteor storm enroute. Finding an advanced and seemingly benevolent civilization living in underground cities, help is given in the re... more »pair of the rocketship--however, a sinister plot is discovered that could mean the annihilation of Earth by an invading Martian army. Tense, terrifying action on a planet of forbidden dangers. Produced by Academy Award-winning producer Walter Mirisch in other-worldly hues of two-color Cinecolor, "Flight to Mars" is '50s nostalgia at its imaginative best and is a must for science fiction and adventure lovers.« less
"I collect 1950s era Sci-Fi and I have been replacing my VHS versions with DVDs. Unfortunately, I need to keep my VHS version for this movie because the print that Image Entertainment made this from was in such poor shape. The VHS version by UAV Entertainment (The Wade Williams Collection) is MUCH better. Hopefully, UAV will come out with a DVD version soon."
Flawed print can?t dampen fun of 1950s SF camp classic
Surfink | Racine, WI | 06/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of cheesy 1950s space operas will no doubt be pleased that this is out on DVD, although unfortunately the quality of the source print leaves a bit to be desired. Flight to Mars was rushed out by Monogram to capitalize on the success of Destination Moon, and really has no grounding in serious science fiction. Not yet famous and powerful, producer Walter Mirisch (Magnificent Seven, In the Heat of the Night) was still making Bomba the Jungle Boy movies, scripter Arthur Strawn had penned Karloff's The Black Room and a handful of potboilers, while director Lesley Selander (Vampire's Ghost, Catman of Paris) and associate producer/editor Richard Heermance cranked out mostly lotsa cheap westerns before and after Flight to Mars, everyone's sole SF credit. Genre fans will appreciate the presence of Cameron Mitchell (Gorilla at Large, Nightmare in Wax) as glib "newspaperman" Steve Abbott, Arthur Franz (Invaders from Mars, Monster on the Campus, Atomic Submarine) as bland, pipe-smoking Dr. Barker, and John Litel (perhaps most recognizable as Henry Aldrich's perpetually exasperated father) as Dr. Lane. Ubiquitous genre icon Morris Ankrum gets probably his meatiest SF role as Martian leader Ikron (he looks quite ludicrous in his `Captain Marvel' costume and cape), while Virginia Huston and Marguerite Chapman fill out the parts of brainy lady scientist (pining for the oblivious Dr. Barker) and brainy Martian babe Alita, respectively. Apparently they could only afford one set of space suits (for the Martians) so everyone just wears bomber jackets and aviator's caps on the takeoff and spaceflight. All the requisite elements of cheap 50s space epics are here: the threatening (animated) meteor shower; patronizing, sexist dialogue; technical inaccuracies (e.g. the Martian surface is covered with snow; no zero-G effect in-flight); quaintly obvious miniatures and model work; pseudophilosophical discussions that go nowhere; and of course the whirlwind love quadrangle of Mitchell, Huston, Franz, and Chapman. Somehow they survive a point-blank crash into a Martian mountain without injury (!), and of course [spoiler alert] the "friendly" Martians are really plotting against Earth and plan to use the repaired ship to attack us. Mitchell makes his play for Huston as Franz and Chapman get hot and heavy, the Earth people forge a secret plan (with Alita) to escape, and all is saved in a rather hasty and abrupt conclusion. While Flight to Mars gets a little talky at times (it's really not a hysterical knee-slapper on the order of Queen of Outer Space or Missile to the Moon) it will nonetheless appeal to any fan of campy low-budget space flicks such as Cat-Women of the Moon, Rocketship X-M, Project Moon Base (highly, highly recommended!!), Fire Maidens of Outer Space, etc. Serious SF aficionados beware.
This is another in Image's Wade Williams Collection and while probably the best print to be had suffers in comparison to most of its peers. There is light to medium speckling, spotting, and sporadic lining throughout (noticeably heavier around a couple of reel changes), although some stretches of the film are reasonably clean. There is also a very small but noticeable flickering emulsion `ding' at the lower center of the frame that comes and goes through nearly the entire movie. More annoying are a half-dozen or so jump-cuts scattered throughout the film; a couple show up at reel changes, and several are clustered in a climactic dialogue scene. Ouch! Purists who whined about the quality of Image's Destination Moon DVD will be similarly distressed by this release. That said, the brightness, contrast, and detail are fine; resolution is not razor-sharp but quite acceptable; and the bargain-basement Cinecolor looks as good as it probably ever did: heavy on the blue-greens and oranges in the palette, but well saturated, with reasonably accurate fleshtones. Not a stellar print, but a crisp, clean transfer; no doubt an improvement over any VHS version, and probably the best we'll see for the forseeable future. (Apparently Warner Bros. owns the old Monogram and Allied Artists catalogs and is sitting tight on them. And who knows if they even have a better print at this point?) The disc also includes two approximately 25-minute episodes of an early-80s Santa Monica, CA cable TV show, hosted by Scarlet Street contributor David Del Valle, with guest Cameron Mitchell. The interview is light in tone but informative and wide-ranging, covering Flight to Mars, Gorilla at Large, Death of a Salesman, Nightmare in Wax, the six (!) films Mitchell made for Mario Bava, and numerous other topics. The only downside is that the video quality on these segments is poor, like a mid-grade videotape (apparently the hi-def masters were lost). Still a nice extra, especially for Cameron Mitchell fans. A very-good-to-excellent-quality, lightly speckled trailer (with the same fluttering emulsion ding!) for Flight to Mars and five `bonus' trailers for other Wade Williams titles are included. The photo gallery promised on the box was nowhere to be found on my copy. With the flaws in the feature source print, the unfortunately mediocre picture quality of the interview segments, and missing photo gallery, objectively would I have to give the disc three stars, but this is still an essential (four-star) buy for fans of low-budget 1950s SF or Cameron Mitchell."
Good movie Bad transfer
Dr. Freeman | Perry, Iowa United States | 12/09/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fun piece of cheese from the time when not a lot was known about space or space travel. Well acted, just plain enjoyable for those of us who love our 50's sci-fi. Now the down side. The source material for the transfer is pretty poor. Image usually does a great job on their DVD's and perhaps the print used was the best available, after all this movie is over 50 years old. No matter, a movie about a trip to Mars which is inhabited by beautiful women and coniving men cant be all bad. And watch out for those meteors."
Great movie -- bad transfer.
David L Briggs | Sacramento, CA USA | 08/03/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is yet another great SciFi classic that I first saw as a kid way back in the mid 20th century. I've seen it since on TV and VHS and I was very excited when I heard it was to be realeased on DVD. That excitement was soon dampened when I viewed this DVD. The original image used for transfer is absolutely horrible. There is fading, graining, and many splices that make the film jump and in some spots causes choppy dialog - and those are the minor faults. Almost immediatly after the film begins there appears a very distracting brown smuge directly in the middle of the screen. A very anoying blemish that changes shape and contorts for nearly a third of the movie.
Unfortunately, this is the only DVD copy of this film available so I whole-heartedly recommend it as a buy for collectors. Most of the movie looks pretty good, but the defaults really make it a dissapointment. Too bad they couldn't find a better print to copy from. Guess I'll have to keep my VHS edition as a back-up."
Not a classic, but still interesting for 50's sci-fi fans
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 08/20/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Flight to Mars gets off to a decent start, by 50's sci-fi movie standards, as a group of guys and the token gal set off for an ambitious exploration of the Red Planet. But once they arrive, they are greeted by very human Martians (wearing space helmets...can they not breathe their OWN air??). While the Martians offer to help the earthlings repair their rocketship, they are actually plotting to use the ship to launch an attack on Earth.
If you're looking for low-budget but still effective interstellar thrills, you probably won't find much here (see Invaders From Mars, Forbidden Planet, etc.). Admittedly, not much was known about real space travel in 1951, but much of the dialogue hopelessly dates Flight to Mars (Favorite bit: The Earth gal, upon seeing how the Martians live, asks a Martian female to take her to the kitchen). Yes, there is a certain appeal to the Martian women's costumes, some of which are so short I'm surprised they got past the censors. And there are a couple of mildly impressive sets. But really, the overall story moves at a snail's pace and the acting is mostly just tolerable.
As someone has already stated, the print quality here leaves a bit to be desired. Some scratches and color changes are to be expected from a film that's over 50 years old, but there are also numerous missing frames that usually result a in jarring break in the dialogue. Most annoying is a red spot just off-center of the picture which appears to be a spot burned into the print itself.
If you're fan of these type of films, you'll probably want this in your collection, despite its many flaws."