PLANET OUTLAWS (1953)
Article #1583 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-15-2005
Posting Date: 12-12-2005
Directed by Ford Beebe, Saul A. Goodkind and Harry Revier
Featuring Buster Crabbe, Jackie Moran, Anthony Warde
Buck Rogers does battle with Killer Kane.
This movie opens and closes with a commentator talking about flying saucers, aliens from other planets, and the need to use our scientific knowledge to help us defeat extraterrestrial invaders. To illustrate his point, we are then subjected to a sixty-minute edit of the BUCK ROGERS serial. Unfortunately, I think the message gets gummed up in the process. Despite the fact that BUCK ROGERS does include humans at odds with aliens, the context of the serial (where the aliens are helping good-guy revolutionaries do battle with the evil-regime status quo) is utterly different from the context of the commentary (where bad-guy aliens are trying to destroy our good-guy status quo). Now, I’m tempted to fault the movie for failing to effectively deliver its message, but in truth, I never believed for one moment that this movie was made -er- edited with the intent to deliver any such message. Rather, I think the message was slapped on to try to add some sort of trendy touch to footage taken from a fourteen-year old serial. Sure, it’s lame, but I don’t honestly think they ever thought anyone was going to pay attention anyway.
As for this attempt to make a feature out of a serial, I’ll say it’s better than DESTINATION SATURN but not much. It’s biggest advantage is that it’s shorter and less intent on getting all the action in, making it easier to watch. Still, it is like trying to read a Cliff’s Notes version of the serial but skipping every other paragraph in the process, and it’s hard to follow. Still, this one is somewhat less painful than this form usually is.