THE PHANTOM PLANET (1961)
Article #1770 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-18-2006
Posting Date: 6-17-2006
Directed by William Marshall
Featuring Dean Fredericks, Coleen Gray, Anthony Dexter
Two astronauts embark on a mission to discover the secret behind a phantom planet that appears out of nowhere and destroys rockets. One crash-lands on the planet, and discovers a civilization of tiny people.
This is one strange movie. There are moments where it is engagingly surreal; the scene where the astronaut first encounters the little people is bizarre but quite fascinating. I also think the movie does a very nice job with the special effects for what must have been a very low budget. The plot is a bit of a mess, though, and is at times painfully contrived, especially with the two love triangles. The pacing is truly horrible as well, with long dull stretches of uninteresting talk, some of which sounds oddly Ed Woodian at times. The cast has some interesting names in it, though, with former silent star Francis X. Bushman appearing as the patriarch of the planet and Richard Kiel as a strange-looking dog-faced alien. Director William Marshall was formerly a singer for the Fred Waring Orchestra, and his son Mike Marshall appears in the movie.