The Cold Sun (1956)

Article #1159 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-17-2001
Posting Date: 10-14-2004
Directed by Hollingsworth Morse
Featuring Richard Crane, Sally Mansfield, Robert Lyden

Rocky Jones must deal with two crises; the unnatural cooling of the sun and a plot to prevent a new planet from joining the United Planets.

Once again I find myself in the curious position of defending something which by all rights I should dismiss, but for some reason I don’t quite have the heart to do the latter. After all, the Rocky Jones movies are really only TV episodes strung together to make a movie. The show was cheap and slow-moving, and there really wasn’t much action. This particular set of episodes has at least two very bad things in it; one of the thrilling moments consists of a man trapped in a room in an out-of-control space station where he is in constant danger of being run over by the furniture that is hurtling back and forth across the room (it’s very hard to watch this scene without laughing), and the colorful character of Pinto Vortando, a cowardly space pirate who can’t speak a single sentence without mentioning his own name is so cornily over-acted it’s embarassing.

Yet, for all that, these Rocky Jones “movies” always seem a little better to me than you might think at first. Sure, it’s talky, but if you actually bother to pay attention to the talk, you find that the talk is actually serving the purpose of developing characters and advancing the plot. The potentially annoying Bobby is never as bad as he could have been. Perhaps most significantly, though, I find the plots to actually be somewhat well constructed. I come away from watching the Rocky Jones series with a sense that the writers honestly liked and cared for the world and the characters they created. I think more care went into the story here than (just for example) any of the stories that I saw when I covered yesterday’s “Time Tunnel” movie.

It’s not classic stuff by any means, but when I take the effort to pay attention, I like it. And even Pinto Vortanda has a more complex character than you might have guessed from the above description.


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