In the 21st century Ray Peterson, reporter for the Interplanetary News, is assigned to write a story aboard a space station. Tension mounts between Peterson and the station commander, who believes he is in the way, but has orders to leave him alone. Errant spaceship Alpha Two enters the solar system and its photon generators are radiating enough heat to destroy Earth as it approaches. It falls to Peterson to try to figure out a way to enter the spaceship, disarm the generators, and escape before suffocating.
Running Time: 73 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: Unrated
When a space station threatens to destroy the earth with its platonic generators (I don't know if that's the correct word, but that's what it sure sounded like to me), it's up to a crew of astronauts and a reporter to save the day.
I'm going to coin another term here. You know how in some movies, the musical soundtrack is in sync with the action on the screen, enhancing and heightening the mood at all times? If so, then I'm sure you've noticed how in some movies, the musical soundtrack does no such thing;it just plows on without a care for the action on the screen, sounding the same during the thrilling, tense sequences as it does during the thoughtful sequences or the exposition? It's obvious in such cases that the soundtrack is only there to fill in empty silence, much like elevator music is only there to give you something to listen to in an elevator. This type of soundtrack which heightens nothing, enhances nothing and reduces everything it touches to dreary sameness of mood I hereby dub the "Elevator Soundtrack".
This movie starts out with a certain initial charm, with a savvy space pilot subtly taunting a know-it-all reporter on his first trip into deep space. The bargain basement special effects also had a certain charm to them;when I first saw them, I found myself hearkening back to my childhood when I used to watch "Space Angel" on a local cartoon show, a space opera which displayed just how limited animation could be. In fact, I'm a little surprised at how cheap the special effects seem to be;frankly, I think the Rocky Jones movies have better effects, and at least one effect (in which a burning and clearly earthbound car is used to substitute for an explosion in outer space) may win the award for the most desperately bad special effect I've seen. The charm does wear off, though, and between the dubbing (it's in sync but poorly acted) and that Elevator Soundtrack, the movie ends up being like a long trek through the mud. It's a bit of a shame, though;the story itself isn't too bad, and at least one scene (in which one character navigates a space taxi through a narrow and invisible tunnel by tossing extraneous items about him to figure out the safe route) really caught my attention. Probably the most memorable thing about the movie is Archie Savage, whose striking physical appearance causes him to steal every scene he's in without trying.
I saw it on a Saturday matinee double feature sometime in the '60s. And then completely forgot the name of it. The one thing I remembered was the spaceship with the dead crew and the deadly force field that destroyed any ship remotely near it. Which of course was not enough to base a search on.
CAST & CREW:
Ennio De Concini
Rik Van Nutter
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