am 7. Oktober 2012
Die amerikanische Navy hat ein Raumschiff losgeschickt, um den Planten Mars zu erkunden. An Bord sind die beiden Astronauten Chris Draper (Paul Mantee) und Dan MacReady (Adam West), ausserdem das Äffchen Mona. Durch die Atmosphäre des roten Planeten rauschen immer wieder Feuerbälle, und einer davon kommt dem Raumschiff bedrohlich nahe. Um auszuweichen, muss das Raumschiff tiefer gehen. Die Beiden Astronauten brignen sich mit separaten Raumkapslen in Sicherheit, mit denen sie auf der Oberfläche des Mars landen. Draper kommt praktisch unverletzt davon, doch die Kapsel ist defekt. Er findet zunächst in einer Höhle Unterschlupf. Dort findet er brennbare Steine, aus denen er später sogar Sauerstoff gewinnen kann. Nach einiger Zeit stösst er auf die andere Raumkapsel. MacReady ist umgekommen, doch das Äffchen kommt mit der dünnen Luft auf dem Mars offenbar zurecht. Damit hat Chris wenigstens wieder einen Gesprächspartner. Er erkundet laufend seine Umgebung und stösst schliesslich sogar auf Wasser. Noch etwas später erhält er weitere Gesellschaft. Von einem ausserirdischen Raumschiff schnappt er einen entflohenen humanoiden Sklaven (Victor Lundin) auf. Damit wird die kleine Gruppe zur Zielscheibe der Ausserridischen. Nun hat man die Hoffnung, mit der Flucht zur Polkappe die Verfolger abzuhängen, und vielleicht ist ja auch noch eine Rettungsmission von der Erde unterwegs...
Ein Literaturklassiker ins Weltraum verlegt, so könnte man "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" (Paramount Pictures, 1964) beschreiben. Mit der Gestaltung des Mars hat man sowohl wissenschaftliche als auch künstlerische Einflüsse aufgenommen, die Raumschiffe machen einen ziemlich akuraten Eindruck. Insgesamt hat Regisseur Byron Haskin gute Arbeit geleistet. Trotzdem ist es natürlich ziemlich dreist, dem Film Authentizität und die Bezeichnung "Science-Fact" zu unterstellen, besonders, als dann noch die Ausserirdischen ins Spiel kommen. Wer sich davon nicht stören lässt, kriegt aber einen schön gemachten Weltraum-Klassiker geboten, den man heute zu Unrecht kaum kennt. Einige der Spezialeffekte sind wirklich beeindruckend, zusammen mit der gekonnten Kameraführung wirkt das wirklich professionell. Gut gemacht.
Bei der DVD von Schröder/WGF hat man sich um ein gutes Resultat bemüht, wenn auch nicht immer mit Erfolg. Das Ausgangsmaterial mit dem sehr farbenfreudigen Breitbild im Format 2,35:1 (16:9) macht Freude, nur leider fehlen die Anfangs- und Schlusslogos von Paramount mit der entsprechenden Musik. Sonst aber ist der Film komplett und läuft auf DVD 105 Minuten lang. Die Sequenzen, die nicht in der ursprünglichen deutschen Fassung enthalten waren, liegen nun wahlweise nachsynchronisert oder in Originalton ohne Untertitel vor. Für diese Wahlmöglichkeit gibt es 2 deutsche Tonspuren, plus natürlich die englische. Weitere Tonspuren sucht man jedoch vergebens, Untertitel jeglicher Art ebenso. Untertitel wären auch beim Bonusmaterial (Totallaufzeit: ca. 30 Minuten) sehr hilfreich gewesen, denn in einer kurzen Dokumentation äussern sich sowohl Filminteressierte als auch Weltraum-Kenner zu veschiedenen Aspekten des Films, leider alles nur auf Englisch. Dazu gibt es noch den Filmtrailer und eine Collage, die mit einer launigen Hymne auf den Film unterlegt ist (dies alles wohl aus der amerikanischen Ausgabe der Criterion-Collection übernommen). Zusätzlich gibt es noch eine Programmvorschau mit Verweisen auf ein paar Billigproduktionen. Fazit: ein sehenswerter Film auf einer ansatzweise guten DVD, das reicht noch für drei von fünf frisch gefischte Wurstsnacks und eine gute gefüllte Sauerstoffflasche.
am 9. Dezember 2015
ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS [1964 / 2015] [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD] [UK Release] Intelligently Imaginative Sci-Fi! One Astronaut Alone . . . Against Terrors Unknown! This Film is Scientifically Authentic . . . It is Only One Step Ahead of Present reality!
A futuristic retelling of Daniel Defoe's classic story, Robinson Crusoe on Mars has gained a beloved cult reputation ever since its debut in the years leading up to the space race. As a mingling of speculative science-fiction with an extraordinary visual design, it proved to have a significant influence on fantasy filmmaking on both the big and small screen.
Paul Mantee plays American astronaut Kit Draper, stranded (with his pet monkey in tow) on the Red Planet after an emergency crash landing. Now he must find ways to adapt and survive, physically and emotionally, in the alien landscape – but he may not be as alone as he thought...
Shot in magnificent Techniscope, ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ is a landmark for fans of genre cinema, and remains a uniquely charming and thrilling adventure, filled with contemplative humanity and wild imagination. Eureka Entertainment Ltd are proud to present Byron Haskin's ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ in a Dual Format edition for the first time in the UK.
FILM FACT: Exterior locations were shot mostly at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park, California. Special effects by Lawrence Butler and Academy Awards® winning matte artist Albert Whitlock gave the film the benefit of "big-studio resources usually lacking in movies about outer space." Albert Whitlock provided the matte paintings used in ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars.’ "Some scenes of spacecraft in motion were created with the kind of flat animation seen in official NASA promotional films." For the alien spacecraft, designer Al Nozaki constructed three miniatures closely resembling the "Martian war machines" he had made previously for director Byron Haskin for ‘The War of the Worlds’ . Paul Mantee was chosen out of approximately 70 actors, including actor Vic Lundin, based on his being an experienced unknown.
Cast: Paul Mantee, Adam West, Barney the Woolly Monkey (Mona) and Victor Lundin (Friday)
Director: Byron Haskin
Producer: Aubrey Schenck
Screenplay: Ib Melchior, John C. Higgins and Daniel Defoe (novel)
Composer: Nathan Van Cleave
Cinematography: Winton C. Hoch
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Techniscope]
Audio: English: 2.0 Dolby Digital LPCM Audio and English: 2.0 LPCM Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 110 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Paramount Pictures / Eureka Entertainment Ltd
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ is Hollywood’s 1964 vision of what the planet Mars might look like for real but in some ways it is very close to the planet Mars we know today, and is a highly intelligently imaginative sci-fi version of the Daniel Defoe classic, especially with scenes filmed in death valley show us the familiar dun-coloured slopes, the pale, salmon-tinted sky; and they conjure up that sense of emptiness, the red planet as a desert island in space. In other ways, it's much more alien. Blasts of fire shoot out and up unexpectedly from what might be underground methane deposits and we find a strange red weed that grows in secret caves.
The story begins in orbit around Mars on board an American spacecraft piloted by Commander Christopher 'Kit' Draper [Paul Mantee] and Colonel Dan McReady [Adam "Batman" West]. Also aboard is the obligatory comedy monkey, Mona, here credited as the "Woolly Monkey" though in fact its name was Barney. Dodging a large meteor, the crew are forced to eject when their spacecraft's orbit begins to decay, but on crash landing they become severely separated having each landed on opposite sides of a mountain range.
Designer Al Nozaki came to ‘Robinson Crusoe On Mars’ direct from Byron Haskin's take on ‘The War Of The Worlds’ and he brought a little something with him. There's no rout of mankind here, however, as it only has two representatives, and one of them, the spaceship colonel played by Adam West, who somehow keeps you waiting for a punchline that never arrives, does not survive the opening 20 minutes. This leaves Commander Kit Draper [Paul Mantee] alone on the Martian surface except for a monkey named Mona (Barney the Woolly Monkey). Between them they have to find out how to get oxygen, water and food and how to survive in a hostile new environment, especially as the film was shot in Death Valley National Park at a suitably blasted place called Zabriskie Point. The superb photography combined with Albert Whitlock's brilliant matt painting makes for one of the best looking Martian landscapes ever conceived, all stark colours and appallingly bleak dust blown vistas.
The film’s special effects and cinematography are very impressive for the 1964 period, especially including the abandoned spaceship Mars Gravity Probe 1 orbiting overhead, awesome flaming meteors thundering out of the sky and some of the background matt paintings are stunningly detailed, meshing brilliantly with the foreground action.
The film was praised in its time for its adherence to scientific reality, and even though it gets a few things wrong, this approach means it retains a roundedness that many such tales lack today. It's not always tightly plotted especially when Mona is frequently forgotten about, but despite this it does pack in a lot in, with a tour of the planet that makes room for lots of different scientific discussion after Commander Kit Draper who displays a typical Colonial-style attitude, especially when he tries to teach Friday to speak English. There are lots to appeal to sci-fi fans of adventure stories and the film has a distinctive visual style that adds to its character, with a mixture of animation and model work that works to great effect. It wasn't a big success on release but it's a fascinating example of the science fiction cinema of the time and it is well worth a look, especially purchasing this special Eureka Entertainment Ltd Blu-ray disc.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Eureka’s ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ is brought to us in the Techniscope 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is captured in a brilliant encoded 1080p transfer for a film of that period and on par with The Criterion Collection Blu-ray release. The flesh tones are very appealing and the colour values on the whole are very solid, especially the reds are equally good for the age of the film, and sharpness is really good throughout the film especially with long shots and has great detail. Black levels are equally are rich and inky throughout the film. The print used for the transfer is very clean and artefacts are free of any blemishes, which gives this transfer stands the test of time and well worth purchasing the Eureka Blu-ray disc release. But another bonus you have is the optional English SDH subtitles that are provided for the main feature film.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Eureka’s ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ brings you for the main soundtrack in the 2.0 Dolby Digital LPCM Audio, but the audio commentary is brought to you in the 2.0 LPCM Audio. But the audio what you hear has total clarity and is very good. Van Cleave's music score, which has an important role throughout the entire film, is also well very rounded and totally vibrant and the depth could be slightly better, but the big explosions and some of the audio effects that are used for the alien spaceships are very impressive. But the dialogue is also very stable, clean, and always easy to follow. There are no pops, audio dropouts, or digital distortions to report with this review and viewing this Blu-ray is of course a joyous experience.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Stunning 1080p high-definition Blu-ray transfer in the film's 2.35:1 [Techniscope] original aspect ratio.
DVD copy is Progressive encoded.
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Exclusive New Audio Commentary with Special Effects Designer and ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ Historian Robert Skotak, and is hosted by Michael Felsher who is of Red Shirt Pictures: Here we get a cheerful introduction by Michael Felsher with this very impressive and very special audio commentary. When Michael announces the film title, and then introduces Robert Skotak who is sitting next to Michael watching the film together. We find out that Robert Skotak is a two time OSCAR® winner and that he has previously worked for Roger Corman om several of his films such as ‘Battle Beyond On The Stars’ and ‘Galaxy of Terror.’ We also find out that Robert and his Brother were massive big fans of space travel and astronomy in the late 1950s. But on top of all that they both loved reading specialised books on space travel, especially about going to the Moon and Mars. But both of their interests in films really started kicking off when both use to visit the cinema regular to watch films like ‘Destination Moon;’ ‘The War of the Worlds’ and ‘Conquest of Space’ and they realised at an early time of their life that they would never travel into space, so instead they decided to pursue their science fiction interest and go into making their own private little films instead, and their main interest was making miniature sets and models. So over a period of time they got to perfect their craft and especially improving their visual effects, and over time they produced well over 20 short films and some were comedy films, especially some of them were in homage to films like ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘The Time Machine.’ In 1976 Robert moved to Los Angeles in the hope of pursuing a career as a writer/director, but instead decided to pursue a career in whatever avenue he was able to his first foot in the door in all aspects of the film industry. But one day he was at a typical Hollywood party that were around at the time and at this particular was the legendary editor of the famous publication “Famous Monsters of Filmland,” and in the process bumped into this guy who informed Robert that he was about to embark on a film and was looking for someone who could make specialised models and that was how it kicked started Robert’s career into the film industry. As time progressed with Robert’s career he also got into the make-up department and also pursuing into building ever more ambitious film sets. But eventually his career stepped up a notch when he got a phone call to work with the legendary film director Roger Corman, especially working on films like ‘Battle Beyond The Stars’ which took 15 months to shoot, but even more exciting he eventually met the equally legendary direct James Cameron, before he became a famous director. Over the many years Robert’s film career the name Ib Melchior [Screenwriter] kept cropping up and eventually by pure chance he actually got to meet his hero, the legendary Ib Melchior, because Robert was totally fascinated with Ib Melchior and all the films he was involved in. But a very interesting fact emerges about Robert is that when he lived in in Michigan in 1967 he became a Theatre Manager, because that is where they showed films, but in 1973 Robert decided to create his own publication because for many years he had been writing loads of short articles about the art of making films like ‘The War of the Worlds.’ Again Robert informs us that all this time he was still fascinated by Ib Melchior and happened to see he was listed in the telephone book and decided to send a letter to Ib Melchior in finding out as much detail about this famous screenwriter and any sort of background fascinating information that would interest his readers of his publication which was entitled “FANTAZINE” and from that first correspondence he got a massive big box delivered to him from Ib Melchior, because Robert was informed by Ib Melchior that he had massive amounts of original scripts, drawings and story boards of films that Ib Melchior had been involved personally and Ib Melchior told Robert that he was very honoured he was interested in his work and getting everything published. So from that fantastic start went up a gear and in 1975 went to Los Angeles to do loads of interviews with anyone involved with the film industry and eventually actually got to meet the legendary Ib Melchior in his home and from then on became a very good close friend to Ib Melchior with lots of regular correspondence and visiting him in his home. But very sadly just after Robert made his last visit in 2015 he heard the very sad news that Ib Melchior passed away at the age of 97 years of age who was originally born in Denmark in 1917 and over his lifetime career Ib Melchior had seen a lot of massive changes in the film industry, not only in Europe, but of course in Hollywood. But as this audio commentary progresses, we get to hear from Robert more in depth information about Ib Melchior lifetime career and all that shaped his career and the information is totally fascinating and because of this information Ib Melchior sounded like a really nice person I would have liked to have known him personally. We hear a lot of information about the logistics of filming in Death Valley for the film ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars,’ and also all the other problems of transporting all the equipment to shoot the film and luckily at the time of shooting in 1963 it was the cooler part of the year, but despite this, it was still a very arduous working conditions especially with all the crew getting dirt in their shoes and especially the actor Paul Mantee wearing the black spacesuit, which as you know absorbs heat and the actor got extremely hot working in it, but we especially we find the black spacesuit kept getting split in a very embarrassing part of the suit that exposed his underwear and had to be repaired far too many times. We also find out that when the film was released that it was very well received by the public, but some of the critics were very caustic and Robert has kept all the reviews, but Robert says that that the way the film was constructed story wise, especially with all the characters in the film, that is why the film is still respected and loved today. We also find out some interesting facts about Mona the monkey, because originally the animal was one found on the planet Mars that would become the pet of the astronaut that he could talk to before Friday made an appearance. But what animal they proposed was an armadillo puppet and in the wide shots you would see it walking around, but when on the close-up shots we would see its paws work like hands, so of course they felt it was going to be too complicated, as it would have been too restrictive, so eventually Mona was brought in, especially as you may remember in the early days of sending up rockets they use to send up chimpanzees, but today if they made a sci-fi film the way they used Mona in that 1964 film, the Animal Rights people would be up in arms and would not be tolerated. As we arrive around the 1:48:00 mark, we come to the end of this special audio commentary, which for me personal has been very informative and also very interesting, especially concentrating most of the time on Ib Melchior, who I personally have never heard of until now, but I am so pleased to hear about this very prolific Ib Melchior and again so enamoured by the information I have heard, again I would have loved to have known this really nice and brilliant person. And so this audio commentary comes to an end and it is a must to hear and it definitely gets a 5 star rating from me.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [2.35:1] [4:00] This is the original Theatrical Trailer for ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars,’ that is well preserved trailer that's big on the film's authenticity and lists 'Mona, the Woolly Monkey' as one of the stars. What I can tell you is that it is a totally brilliant dramatic presentation and the image quality is stunning. So obviously Eureka Entertainment Ltd is very professional in bringing out their Blu-ray discs.
BONUS: Beautiful designed 28-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new solid essay on the film ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ by author Paul McAuley, and rare archival imagery who highlights a few of its scientific inaccuracies, but also praises many of the things that mark it as a standout genre work. Paul McAuley is a Science Fiction writer whose works includes “Red Dust,” which is a novel about the Chinese conquest of Mars. But what I liked about this essay is that it is very informative and fascinating. But I feel the last part of the essay sums up what I feel about this booklet, is when Paul McAuley states, “Long before the first images of Martian landscapes were beamed back to Earth by robot landers, and it portrayed Mars as a sublime and truly alien place, and gave human context by focussing on the travails of its hero. And because our dreams of one day sending people to the red planet are as yet unfulfilled, especially shots of Draper’s lone figure tolling through vast and vividly alien landscapes are still thrilling evocative. Like all good science fiction, ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ both entertains and enlightens. It shows us something new, and remakes old ideas into fresh and strange visions of things to come.” The stunning designed booklet also contains the original Press Release, Viewing Notes and Blu-ray and DVD Disc Credits.
Finally, this fantastic Blu-ray released by Eureka Entertainment Ltd which seems to be sourced from the same master of The Criterion Collection Region A/1 Blu-ray USA release and the image is sharp, colourful and there is good depth to the image. Grain is intact and the overall sharp picture should please viewers a lot. The Audio is clear and has a nice depth and the music score especially stands out well. Despite the lack of Extras, it still includes a brilliant interesting exclusive new brilliant audio commentary with Michael Felsher and Special Effects Designer and ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars’ Historian Robert Skotak. Also included is the brilliant original film trailer and an equally well written stunning booklet. Some of the observations at the end feel quite dated now, but the film still has a tremendous atmosphere. To be honest, I find it a lot more enjoyable than the various flashy blockbusters from recent years that have tried to outdo each other with all sorts of different special effects. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom