PIRATES OF PRAH (1956)
(a.k.a. MANHUNT IN SPACE)
Article #1581 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-13-2005
Posting Date: 12-10-2005
Directed by Hollingsworth Morse
Featuring Richard Crane, Sally Mansfield, Robert Lyden
Rocky Jones is sent out to investigate reports of space pirates when Vena is kidnapped by them.
Originally, I thought that covering this one would serve as a benchmark for me by being the first movie I covered that wasn’t listed in IMDB; PIRATES OF PRAH is not listed there. Granted, I expected that the reason for this was that these particular episodes of “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger” hadn’t been edited into movie form, thereby disqualifying itself somewhat from being covered. This might have served as an issue of debate had I been correct; however, as it is, I found alarm bells going off in my head during the first ten minutes of this group of episodes; I knew I had seen it before, and after a little research, I discovered that PIRATES OF PRAH had indeed been edited into a feature, only under the title MANHUNT IN SPACE, which is listed in IMDB. Since some of my sources list both titles as distinct entries in the Rocky Jones series, you can understand my confusion.
As for the movie itself, it’s pretty much what I’ve come to expect from the series. It’s three episodes of the series, each of which has a distinct storyline while at the same time telling a story arc that lasts all three episodes, thereby making them work both as individual episodes as well as a movie. Granted, it helps if you take breaks between the episodes; otherwise, the deliberate pace (tolerable in episode-size chunks but exhausting over the course of the whole movie) will get to you. It’s primitive and juvenile, but with a certain degree of imagination and creativity. The acting is variable but watchable, it’s silly but earnest, and it all somehow exudes a certain charm if you take into account its early television origins. If you’re a Rocky Jones fan, you’ll like it. If not, you won’t. Simple as that.