The Lost Planet (1953)

Article 3487 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-26-2011
Posting Date: 3-2-2011
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Featuring Judd Holdren, Vivian Mason, Michael Fox
Country: USA
What it is: Science fiction serial

The evil Dr. Grood discovers a planet with a rare mineral that can give him the power to conquer the world. Can reporter Rex Barrow defeat him and rescue Grood’s hostage, Professor Dorn, who is being forced to help him in his evil schemes?

The IMDB rating of this serial is a lowly 4.6, which is no surprise for a serial made when the genre was on its last legs in the mid-fifties. And, truth to tell, it is a fairly lame serial. However, I’m feeling generous enough to say I more or less enjoyed this one. Maybe it’s because it’s an actual honest-to-goodness science fiction serial with rocket ships, an alien planet and amazing inventions rather than being mostly an action-adventure flick with one or two small Gizmo Maguffins, which is what I usually get. Maybe it’s because it actually looks like almost all of the footage used was actually shot for this serial and not lifted from another older one, which is actually pretty rare for this time. And maybe it’s because the serial has the good sense to put its comic relief character in a hypnotic trance that keeps him from cracking wise during most of the running time. This may make up a little for the fact that the alien planet looks like Vazquez rocks for the most part, that the aliens look and dress like Arabs, and that the evil Dr. Grood can’t make up his mind to kill Professor Dorn or keep him alive. Or that most of the cliffhangers are fairly lame, even if it avoids bailouts. Or maybe it’s because I’m nearing the end of covering this type of thing and don’t want to go out on a sour note. Besides, this serial has some of the most entertaining chapter titles I’ve ever enjoyed.

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