ROBIN­SON CRU­SOE ON MARS

That Fri­day feel­ing

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 1964 | PG | Blu-ray/dVd (dual for­mat) Di­rec­tor Byron Haskin Cast Paul Man­tee, Vic­tor lundin, adam West, Bar­ney the mon­key

A bloke stranded on Mars, re­ly­ing on his in­ge­nu­ity to sur­vive? Nowt new about that, Matt Da­mon. It’s the high­con­cept here too, as as­tro­naut Kit Draper whips up ev­ery­thing from an alarm clock to rudi­men­tary bag­pipes.

The science isn’t quite so rig­or­ous. To be fair, we knew less about Mars in 1964, but there’s much that’s hard to swal­low: Draper only needs oc­ca­sional tokes of oxy­gen, and soon finds food and wa­ter, thanks to mon­key com­pan­ion Mona. Later, in echoes of De­foe’s novel, he ac­quires a sec­ond – an es­caped slave.

The lo­ca­tion work is im­pres­sive, with Death Val­ley pro­vid­ing stun­ning Mar­tian vis­tas, at­trac­tively pho­tographed by The Searchers alum­nus Winton C Hoch. And the grow­ing bond be­tween our hero and his “Fri­day” works well too – al­though the lat­ter stages, which see them pur­sued by slaver space­ships rem­i­nis­cent of the Mar­tian craft from The War Of The Worlds (same di­rec­tor and de­signer!) feel like trad ad­ven­ture fare com­pared to what came be­fore.

Ex­tras New, in­for­ma­tive com­men­tary by an ex­pert on screen­writer Ib Mel­chior; trailer; book­let. Ian Berriman

As the mon­key play­ing Mona was male, it had to wear a furry nappy to hide its gen­i­tals dur­ing film­ing.

“Fancy a game of ten­nis?”

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