Red Planet Mars (1952)

Article #167 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-30-2001
Posting date: 1-13-2002

Scientists receive messages from Mars about the utopia that exists there, causing riots and economic collapse in the United States. However, the messages are actually being sent by a man being controlled by the Russians.

I hope you don’t go into this one expecting men from Mars, spaceships, or other SF paraphernalia; you’ll be disappointed. However, if you go in expecting tons of cold war pro-Christian propaganda, you won’t be disappointed. Now, cold war propaganda movies can have their charms, but I do tire of them quickly, and this movie is totally built around its message. It would still work if its criticisms of communism were pointed and convincing; instead, it merely takes the stand that what’s wrong with communism is that it’s not Christian, and that is a ridiculously narrow point of view on the matter. I don’t buy the premise that discovering a Utopian world on Mars would cause a collapse in our economy and destroy the United States; maybe I just have a little more faith in people than that. I also don’t really consider it at all likely that a collapse of the government in Russia would have resulted in a benevolent religious priesthood taking over the reins of the government (that’s fantasy wish-fulfillment of the worst kind). In fact, I just don’t buy this movie at all. It’s merely a curio of the era.


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