Blu-ray Review: Flight to Mars | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 17th, 2022  

Flight to Mars

Studio: The Film Detective

Aug 19, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Back in the 1950s, how long do you think people thought it would be before a billionaire asshole was successfully shot into space? I ask, of course, because I watched this new blu-ray of Flight To Mars right around the same time that Mr. Piss Bottles took his little interstellar joyride (a trip taken, presumably, so he had a better view of the rest of the country being evicted or whatever).  If this film is any barometer of public perception at the time, folks were fully expecting Howard Hughes to rocket off to Jupiter within the decade; they certainly weren't expecting to be mostly dead and gone before any civilians made it up there. Hell, in this low-rent 1951 potboiler, they send a journalist (Cameron Mitchell) along with a crew of scientists on the first manned expedition to Mars, and nobody seems to find it all that futuristic... he even smokes a cigarette in the spaceship's cabin! That's a pretty good indicator of how soon people were expecting comfortable space travel (I don't know about you, but I don't even like being in a modern airplane for more than two hours), and it's hardly the only silly thing in Flight To Mars. A race virtually identical to humans living on Mars? Check. The ability to receive transmissions from Earth, but not send them back? Yep. A race of aliens half made up of leggy women that can fall in love with Earth men and vice versa? You bet!  Arrival, this ain't. That said, there are some surprising philosophical musings between the imaginative special effects and set design (by multiple Academy Award nominee Jack Cosgrove), lending an odd existentialist air to some of the film. If the pacing is a little mellow by today's science fiction standards, it's short enough to make up for it. There's even a modicum of genuine suspense, which is more than one can typically expect from this kind of thing. The 4K transfer pops like it should; the liner notes booklet is expansive, doing a fine job of putting the film in its proper context. Still and all, Flight to Mars is cheap '50s sci-fi through and through, destined primarily for the collections of vintage toy collectors, special effects historians, and guys who only have Instagram to look at the "burlesque" accounts of Bettie Page wannabes. Nothing wrong with that, and if that sounds like your demographic this is certainly a worthy grip. Non-diehards, though, can probably take a pass. (


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