ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS
That Friday feeling
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?”