ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (1964)
Article #1778 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-26-2006
Posting Date: 6-25-2006
Directed by Byron Haskin
Featuring Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin, Adam West
The co-pilot of a spacecraft finds himself stranded alone on Mars with a minimum of food, water and air. He must find a way to survive.
Initially, the title of this movie didn’t promise much to me; it sounded vaguely juvenile, like PINOCCHIO IN OUTER SPACE. In truth, the title is quite apt; the movie is actually an attempt to tell a survival drama of the same sort as the original Daniel Defoe novel; in fact, Defoe is actually given story credit. It is on the level of a survival drama that I enjoy this movie most; I like the movie’s leisurely pace as he addresses each issue of survival (heat, shelter, food, air, water, companionship) and somehow manages to solve each problem (sometimes by sheer luck). The movie pays a lot of attention to detail, and this makes the story quite intriguing for the most part. The movie is too long, though, and when the story shifts to Draper and Friday’s trek to the polar regions, my interest level starts to drop. I like a lot of the nice touches, like the sand mechanism Draper builds to wake him up periodically so he can breathe some oxygen, and the fact that, in an attempt to locate water, he resorts to watching a near-useless instructional training video. The spaceships that bring Friday to Mars were built from revised plans from THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, and Vic Lundin played the very first Klingon ever seen on the “Star Trek” series.