Mars Attacks the World (1938)

MARS ATTACKS THE WORLD (1938)
Article #1565 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-27-2005
Posting Date: 11-24-2005
Directed by Ford Beebe and Robert F. Hill
Featuring Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton

Flash Gordon goes to Mars to investigate a deadly beam emanating from the planet.

After the grousing I did about DEADLY RAY FROM MARS, you’d think the last thing I’d want to pop up on my viewing list would be another feature version of FLASH GORDON’S TRIP TO MARS. And you’d be right. In fact, I was prepared to write my shortest review to date; it would’ve consisted of nothing more than a link to my review of DEADLY RAY FROM MARS. Well, as fate would have it, I’m not going to do that, because this one deserves better. This is far and away the most successful attempt to convert a serial to a workable feature that I’ve seen. I applaud the editors who pulled it off; they found just the right balance between action and exposition, and made no attempt to include everything; instead, they only kept what would make the serial work as a feature. It’s not perfect, but its faults are forgivable; for example, it wisely jettisons almost the entire forest people sequence with the exception of the only necessary scene (the one that brings Prince Barin into the story), but that one necessary scene results in the most jarring continuity jumps in the movie. Still, I think this was the best compromise to make under the circumstances, and given how badly most of these feature-length serial adaptations come out, I’m delighted to find one that actually works this well. I really enjoyed it, and I never thought I’d say that about this type of movie.

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