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Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
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The Spike
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:32 pm    Post subject: Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) Reply with quote




The title does the film no favours at all because it kind of reeks of daft Z movie origins, in fact if I hadn't looked up some research on the film prior to viewing it, I would have expected a comedy!

This is an interesting variant on the much loved Daniel Defoe story about Robinson Crusoe, only as the title suggests, this is set on Mars.

Whilst orbiting Mars, Commander Kit Draper is forced to eject and is stranded on Mars with only his wits and Mona the monkey for company. Here he has to source all the basic ingredients to stay alive, but he finds that man's need for companionship can trouble the mind greatly, and not only that, he finds that he is not alone after all, and the visitors that turn up are not exactly of the friendly kind.

This is a very solid and intelligent sci-fi picture, dealing with isolation and the will to stay alive. Robinson Crusoe On Mars is very much a film that relies on story over style. That it succeeds is with much credit to Paul Mantee as the lonesome Draper, carrying the film for two thirds on his own (except for the wonderful Mona Monkey of course). He infuses emotion and credibility in abundance to lift the film way above average. 7.5/10

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Pye-Rate
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have enjoyed this film since I first saw it on tv in 1960's.
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Pow
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good movie. They reused the Martian ships from George Pal's War Of The Worlds.
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Randy
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the Criterion Collection Blu-ray version and it looks as good as when I watched it when it first played in the theater!
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Krel
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
Good movie. They reused the Martian ships from George Pal's War Of The Worlds.

They reused the design, but not the ships. Paramount donated all of the War Machines from WOTW to a copper drive, except for one George Pal kept. That was later lost in his house fire.

The RCOM satellite ships were made out of wood, each ship was in a different scale. There was no lighting in the ships.

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For five years running I showed this movie to the 4th and 5th grade classes I taught, between 1997 and 2002. I showed it in 20 minutes segments each day over an entire week, stopping it at places I knew would be good cliff hangers.

Then the students would write about what had happened so far and what they thought would happen next.

The last couple of years I was able to set up a "movie screen" in the room by taping a 3 ft X 9 ft piece of white paper on the wall, with a 12 inch wide black paper boarder, and I used a computer projector from the school library to project the movie onto the screen from my laptop while the audio played through a modest sound system with several speakers.

The kids would push the desk out of the way and arrange the chairs into rows. They always loved the movie.

In 2001 and 2002, students who had been in previous classes would come to visit me and ask if I was still showing the movie to my students.
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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

This statement caught my eye when I read the article at the link below from one of Pye-rate's posts.


Quote:
Liquid volcanic rock cools rapidly as it hits water, flash-freezing to form mostly glass. Without water, it takes longer to cool and forms crystals within the groundmass . . .

_______ New method for detecting water on Mars

And here's a Youtube video in which the young scientist explains her discovery.

WSU undergrad helps develop method for detecting water on Mars


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Quote:
Liquid volcanic rock cools rapidly as it hits water, flash-freezing to form mostly glass. Without water, it takes longer to cool and forms crystals within the groundmass . . .

Boy, does this article put me in the mood for Robinson Crusoe on Mars! I remembered those big crystals that angled up through Paul Mantee's cave home.



If you haven't seen that one in a while, here's the trailer — and it's one the best trailers ever!


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____Robinson Crusoe on Mars - Theatrical Trailer


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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:24 pm; edited 8 times in total
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scotpens
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Future Batman Adam West played Draper's fellow astronaut, Col. Dan "Mac" McReady. West's total screen time is about six minutes.



Mona the monkey had a bigger part. She probably had a better agent.


Krel wrote:
Pow wrote:
Good movie. They reused the Martian ships from George Pal's War Of The Worlds.

They reused the design, but not the ships. Paramount donated all of the War Machines from WOTW to a copper drive, except for one George Pal kept. That was later lost in his house fire.

The RCOM satellite ships were made out of wood, each ship was in a different scale. There was no lighting in the ships.

I read somewhere -- can't recall the source -- that the alien ship model or models used in RCOM were in fact from War of the Worlds. They weren't the copper-sheathed "hero" models, but smaller, less detailed ones carved from solid wood and used for long shots.

The alien ship miniature in RCOM certainly looks as if it wasn't meant to be filmed close up. You can see paintbrush streaks and chisel marks on it!


Last edited by scotpens on Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

__________________________________

Here are some wonderful videos about Robinson Crusoe on Mars, our All Sci-Fi's Friday Live Chat feature for October 27th. Very Happy
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__ Mick Garris on ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS


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_ Is "The Martian" a Remake of "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"?


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_Co-star Victor Lundin's song for Robinson Crusoe on Mars


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* And a song by Johnny Cymbal ("Hey Mister Bass Man" and other hits) released on Top 40 radio at the time the movie came out, which perfectly describes why we all love science fiction!
Very Happy

___ Robinson Crusoe On Mars by Johnny Cymbal


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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
Robinson Crusoe On Mars by Johnny Cymbal

Otherwise known as "Love Theme from Robinson Crusoe On Mars"
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alltare
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud-
I'm curious. What other SF movies did you show to the kids, and do you recall which were their favorites?

Bud Brewster wrote:
For five years running I showed this movie to the 4th and 5th grade classes...
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alltare wrote:
Bud-
I'm curious. What other SF movies did you show to the kids...?

I'm putting my money on Space Children.
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is far from a bad movie, but it is very much a victim of it's time.

The real accurate information on atmospheric conditions was unknown as was most of the topographic data. Still it told a compelling story with great characterization. .

I always thought that the "pod" Kit landed in was a bit small for an escape pod.

The extraterrestrial slavers was a 80's "Gotta make it sci-fi" affectation to make it relate to the Defoe story and introduce Friday.

Still I wish for what it could have been if the original vision had been followed.

As it is, it's a compelling story of survival and the strength of the human spirit as was the original story.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

The Criterion laser disc of Robinson Crusoe on Mars has a ton of extra features which describe what the original project was like, complete with production notes and concept art by screenwriter Ib Melchior.

The art work is great. But some of the ideas . . . not so much.

Mars was going to be populated by a number of hideous monsters that threatened Christopher Drapers. Here's what Michael Lennick writes about the film at The Criterion Collection website.
________________________________

In preparing his heavily illustrated first draft of the screenplay for Robinson Crusoe on Mars, a film he intended to direct, Melchior was clearly seeking a middle ground: native plant and critter life galore, but this time in support of a lonely astronaut's internal struggle.

Conflicting projects forced Melchior to drop out of Robinson Crusoe on Mars, leading to a very different take on the material once director Byron "War of the Worlds" Haskin signed on.

________________________________






If a large budget and a brilliant team of FX designers had been employed on Melchior's version of the film, I'm sure it would have been wonderful. However, I suspect that it would have been a bit more like two of Melchior's other two less-than-stellar science fiction efforts, Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962) and The Angry Red Planet (1959).

With the change in directors and the significant alteration in the film's nature, we got a much more intelligent and compelling story, one which has been a favorite of mine for many years.






Two IMDB trivia items refer to possible sequels that were never made.
________________________________

A sequel titled "Robinson Crusoe in the Invisible Galaxy" was planned but it was scrapped due to the films lackluster box office.

- and-

After this film was released, screenwriter Ib Melchior and Victor Lundin collaborated on a script called "Columbus of the Stars". which they presented to Paramount. It was similar to Star Trek (1966), complete with illustrations similar to the Enterprise. Some time later, "Star Trek" went into production. Lundin does not claim that his ideas were borrowed by Paramount.

________________________________

It occurred to me this morning that a good idea for the sequel would involve the revelation that during Friday's 70+ years as a slave (he states that in the film), he had been trained by the aliens to service and repair their technology.






After returning to Earth, he urges the scientists and the military to enhance Earth's defenses against the aliens who enslaved him. He shares his knowledge of their technology and helps mankind design spacecraft and weapons that can be used against the hostile aliens.





After the first of the ships have been built, an expedition which includes Draper and Friday would be sent out to gather info about the alien enemy, and this would allow the sequel to carry the story to another star system, with all the action and special effects any fan of science fiction could possibly want! Very Happy
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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:19 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Krel
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
After this film was released, screenwriter Ib Melchior and Victor Lundin collaborated on a script called "Columbus of the Stars". which they presented to Paramount. It was similar to Star Trek (1966), complete with illustrations similar to the Enterprise. Some time later, "Star Trek" went into production. Lundin does not claim that his ideas were borrowed by Paramount.

Years ago Filmfax had some information on this, including some sketches of the ships. As I recall, the starships were mushroom shaped, similar to the Cloud City in TESB, but thinner, with a smaller mushroom shape on the bottom. The shuttles/landing craft had a mushroom shape protruding from the keel. I assume this is the engine nacelle.

Scotpens, the information I have on the Satellite ships comes from a magazine from the 70s named Fantascene. They did two issues on the movie, but I only have the first issue. The ships had no practical lighting, just a red plastic piece in the belly. I have wondered if reusing the design was a nod to Byron Haskin, or a joke on Byron Haskin's part.

David.
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