Planets Against Us (1962)

aka I Pianeti conto di noi
Article 1907 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-4-2006
Posting Date: 11-1-2006
Directed by Romano Ferrara
Featuring Michel Lemoine, Maria Pia Luzi, Jany Clair

A series of missile launches are sabotaged and the same man is spotted at all the locations. However, the locations are scattered across the world, and the time between the launches were just minutes apart. Authorities identify the man as the son of a noted scientist whose body was never found after he supposedly died in a plane crash. They begin to suspect that he is part of an alien invasion.

Given the year of the movie and the fact that the main title in IMDB is in Italian, you can forgive me for suspecting that I was about to see another of Antonio Margheriti’s forays into science fiction. Such is not the case; this Italian/French/West German coproduction was directed by Romano Ferrara. It is in black and white, and remains earthbound throughout its running time. I found it much easier to follow than one of Margheriti’s SF movies, though I do find it somewhat unfocused in its story, and as a result, a little confusing at times. It’s also a little predictable at times; once the movie establishes that what is happening is part of an invasion from outer space, it will come as no surprise to find out that the other aliens also look like the scientist’s son. Still, the movie has nice touches to it, is rather atmospheric, and features a good performance by Michel Lamoine as the primary alien visitor (in fact, as all the alien visitors) who goes by the somewhat incongruous name of “Bronco”; his facial expressions are very effective. Odd scenes here and there help to hold up the interest level; a scene where the alien walks through a group of children with his hands held high in the air (he can kill with a touch) is rather striking, and so is a scene towards the end where he briefly emerges from his outer shell. I enjoyed this one somewhat more than I expected I would.


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