Is the video box being ironic in calling this "the most
spectacular and exciting science fiction film ever released on
April 15, 1966!"?
A Jack Broder Production. 91 minutes.
Commander King: Wendell Corey
Also starring Keith Larson, John Agar, Merry Anders, Stuart Margolin, Irene Tsu.
Produced: George Edwards
Directed: Arthur C. Pierce
Written: Arthur C. Pierce
Special Effects: Howard A. Anderson.
Star Trek lingo regarding "deep space" and travel
"without incident" introduces Admiral King whose 6-year
space mission among the Centaurians on Centaurus seems completed,
but for a lot of blab about the relativity of time. A mutiny
of two Centaurians aboard another ship, the Cosmos 3, forces that
wessel into the magnetic field of a planet in another solar system:
Solaris, where "gas clouds" are a worry.
Cosmos 3 crash lands on this planet, with Lieutenant
Bradley (an paunchy ass who thinks he's funny), a bunch of other
idiots, Zanda (a Centaurian), and Lieutenant Sally something,
who is hurt and blames Zanda's ilk for all that is wrong with
this universe: "If it weren't for you and your kind! . .
. You're all alike; you take everything from us and you give
nothing!" Zanda's mutinist brother attacks again, but Zanda
proves her loyalty by killing him (regular guns here, no "space
rays"). One guy decides we'll all be safer in the foothills.
They can live here; "if we just trust each other,"
The problem is this time relativity thing.
Admiral King disobeys this film's version of Starfleet Command
and undertakes a rescue mission, but their three months to get
to Solaris equals 18 years on the planet. Besides, says
King, telegraphically: "young planet--primitive--treacherous.
You can't trust young planets. . . . They're usually infested
with living things completely unknown to us." Living on
the planet he diagnoses as being mostly a matter of "combatting
the elements" and "defending" themselves against
They land and send out a party of five into
an atmosphere described as an "inferno." More belabored
time relativity explanations are followed by a giant lizard on
a rock who is summarily engulfed in flames and killed. "The
way they grow lizards around here, I'd hate to run into a snake!"
Things get confusing. Linda is the Admiral's
half-breed daughter, but doesn't know it. She swims naked while
birds squawk. As she dresses, a snake threatens. She faints
and an unknown hand shoots a crossbow at the snake, killing it.
Linda is taken off.
Among the party, Mr. Bradley goes into an unbearable
stand-up shtick. Linda wakes up to meet Tang, a caveman, no a
second generation Centaurian, so there were survivors 18 years
ago. Tang shows us the original crash landers frozen upright.
Back among the search party, idiots shoot a snake and one guy
harasses Mr. Scott with the fact that Zanda married Liuetenant
Anderson! Face it! (Tang's speed-aged frozen parents?)
"Whew, what a smell!" The party
must cross a bubbling stinkhole (since the fact that they could
easily walk around it doesn't occur to them) so they set up a
rope and the last guy falls in. "Chief" (the beady-eyed
Stuart Margolin of Love, American Style) is upset. The
remaining four find the ruins of the Cosmos 3, and "Chief"
ends up with a vicious poisonous thing on the back of his neck
which kills him but gets blasted by the others.
Linda is in a leopard sarong. Tang brings
her Centaurian dresses and tells her that the planet contains
"savages who hate and kill." "If you live here
alone, who undressed me?" He says he did. She slaps him.
He slaps her. They make up and kiss.
Wendell Corey is stinking drunk now, lucky
bum, so Admiral King is slurring his words so badly that it's
anybody's guess what's happening. "We might be on the trail
of the very man who murdered Captain Ross." (Who?)
Tang and Linda are at their special water place.
Tang no use tenses, no use articles consistently; possessive
pronouns hard for Tang. He introduces his chimp friend, Tiko.
"Linda like Tang?" "Linda love Tang." (All
astronauts do.) Tang jealous of former shipmates. Cute water
play. Cavemen come. Throw spears. Idiots finally come. Take
Linda. Shoot Tang in arm. Tang run far.
With Linda back and some volcanic worries,
the Commander wants to "prepare ship for take-off."
With news of Tang's trail ending at the brink of a cliff, Linda
screams, "I hate you. I hate all of you!" She runs
out. The Admiral admits she's his daughter and must rescue her.
But he comes back and the ship launches.
Linda and Tang have another reunion at special
water place. Those aboard ship realize that "Linda and the
boy are alive." "They'll be happy here. . . . They'll
create a new world." (In other words, they'll breed, which
is not creating a new world, it's destroying the old one.) We
finally decide to dub this planet of Solaris the blue planet,
"Planet Earth." And indeed, as we pull back, it is
Earth! So all along I thought . . . oh I see. . . . But wait,
if . . . oh never mind.
Something's wrong. Where is the promised "planetscape full
of beautiful scantily-clad space chicks"? Was I getting
popcorn? Or does this have something to do with the fact that
the tape claims a running time of 91 minutes and the box says
The plot is impossible to follow because there
are too many characters and too many pockets of characters all
with bland interchangeable names: Captain Farrell, Mr. Scott,
Sergeant Allen, Captain Ross, Lieutenant Bradley, etc. Grunts
have names like "Chief" and characters seem to have
various titles too (e.g., Admiral King, a.k.a. Commander King).
"Dinosaurs" amount to one lizard
for a few seconds. What finally really doesn't make sense is
how this is supposed to be prehistoric Earth, so apparently we
are all great-great-offspring of AdamTang and EveLinda, or maybe
those cavemen. So therefore we have Centaurian and native blood
and this accounts for our supposed dual Jekyll/Hyde natures?
And where were all those other idiots from? They sure seemed
like Earth-asses from the '60s.
Best line [perhaps the source for a similar
moment in Planet of Dinosaurs (1978)]: