JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET (1962)
Article #1712 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-21-2005
Posting Date: 4-20-2006
Directed by Sidney W. Pink
Featuring John Agar, Carl Ottosen, Peter Monch
A group of astronauts on a mission to explore the planet Uranus discover a startling Earth-like paradise, the creation of an alien brain with sinister intentions.
There is something about the movies that came from Sidney Pink and Ib Melchior that makes me wish that they had been better directors and writers. There’s the occasional neat idea, the colorful photography and the sometimes surprising storylines that make me wish they were better presented, but there’s always something to be enjoyed. Here, the concept of an alien that can create complex illusions is a novel touch, even if owes quite a bit to Ray Bradbury’s story “Mars is Heaven!”. There’s also a startling scene where a man starts to recount a memory of an old village, and we see the village appear in the background as he describes; this scene is the high point of the movie. Unfortunately, the story is a muddle (though the alien makes it clear at one point that he means to take over the Earth, I haven’t a clue as to how this whole set-up will help him accomplish this goal), the dialogue is laughable (especially whenever the men start talking about or flirting with women), and the pacing is terrible; there are so many gaps of dead air between the lines of dialogue that I bet you could cut ten minutes out of the movie just by editing them out. Yet, because of the good moments, the movie never becomes unwatchable. And I will give credit to the director for one thing; he has the cast pronounce the name of the planet so that it rhymes with the phrase “You’re honest.” rather than using the more common pronunciation (the one used in HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN, for example). At least he kept the movie from turning into an inadvertent series of sphincter jokes.