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During a flight to Mars in the spaceship Mars Gravity Probe 1, Commander Christopher 'Kit' Draper and Colonel Dan McReady are forced to deviate from an asteroid and they leave their spacecraft in pods. Draper lands on the surface of the Red Planet and survives. He learns how to produce oxygen and while exploring the planet, he finds McReady dead in his crashed pod. He finds also the monkey Mona and brings the animal to the cave where he is sheltered. He learns that he can breathe the Martian air for short periods but needs also oxygen. But Mona finds water and an edible plant in the underground. .After a long period alone, Draper feels the loneliness. One day, he sees a spacecraft landing on Mars and he believes it might be the rescue team to save him. But he finds aliens working on the planet and some of them are slaves. One of them flees and stumble with Draper and he names him Friday. Now he needs to find a way to be rescued and return to Earth.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The BBFC website for the original UK theatrical release lists a running time of just 80 minutes. This suggests the film was heavily cut on its original release as the full theatrical running time is 106 minutes. See more »
There's not much more I can add to all the other positive comments made on this film other than to say that I agree with just about all of them.
This movie is a classic example of how good science fiction can be created from classic story material. The premise of a man trying to survive in unfamiliar surroundings is set on the then unfamiliar planet of Mars. USAF astronaut Paul Mantee goes through the rigors of trying to survive on an alien landscape, and is befriended by an escaped slave from an advanced, and hostile, civilization. The story isn't about war, "beating the bad aliens" or other story tripe that's so pervasive in today's science fiction films. The film is about friendship, trust, self sacrifice, and the willingness to help one's fellow man (or human like alien) survive in an inhospitable world.
Compared to other science fiction of the time, and even compared to contemporary sci-fi offerings, the acting and overall production values are top notch. The film is dated, so the viewer is advised to give it some leeway if he or she has never seen it before, but a strong story and presentation will keep your attention.
It's been a long time since I've seen this film, so perhaps I'm remembering it from a biased memory, but using that same memory to call up other films I saw back then I can truly say this one ranks up there with other good cinematic offerings; science fiction and non alike. The effects are passing, the backgrounds artificial at times (as was typical of 50's and 60's Hollywood), and the props are passable, but the acting, particularly how the friendship develops between the two leads, is what I'll always remember. The story is far fetched, but the actors pull it off by presenting sympathetic characters.
I for one am glad this has never been remade. I can see some snot-nosed hot-shot, low-I.Q. producer marketing a remake with lots of action, a pumped up soundtrack, action figures and a host of other spinoffs. To boot he'd probably cast some rap star in both lead roles, show the aliens with a ton of prosthetic makeup, and otherwise squeeze every last ounce of marketable dollar out of the thing.
We don't need a remake. We need a DVD release. The good kind with lots of extra goodies :-)
If you like sci-fi, heck if you just like good movies period, do yourself a favor and catch "Robinson Crusoe on Mars."
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