MASTERS OF VENUS (1962)
Article 2476 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-12-2008
Posting Date: 5-23-2008
Directed by Ernest Morris
Featuring Norman Wooland, Mandy Harper, Robin Stewart
Two children are forced to launch themselves into space to escape saboteurs. Fortunately, they were able to save the lives of the two pilots, and they all head to the planet Venus.
This may be the only non-American sound movie serial I’ve seen for this series; I only added the word “sound” above when it occurred to me that I saw some early French serials. It’s a juvenile space adventure, made exclusively for Saturday Morning Cinema Clubs. Plotwise, it’s pretty standard stuff, with the kind of story that made for movies like FLIGHT TO MARS. Certainly, it isn’t up to the level of the Nigel Kneale science fiction TV serials of the era. However, it is interesting to compare them to the American serials of the previous few decades. When you do this, the plot feels pretty sophisticated; in each episode, something happens to advance the plot, whereas the American serials usually worked with the plot in the beginning and ending episodes and used the basic situation mostly to hang action sequences on. This serial is at its best at the beginning before they land on Venus; after that, it’s pretty cliched. According to one source of mine, this serial was edited into a feature, but that must be even harder to find than the serial itself.