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The Angry Red Planet

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The Angry Red Planet (1969) starring Gerald Mohr, Nora Hayden
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The Angry Red Planet (1969) starring Gerald Mohr, Nora Hayden

The Angry Red Planet deals with the fictional first manned exploration of Mars. Our intrepid explorers find all sorts of “interesting” wildlife, and barely escape.


The Angry Red Planet begins with the four-person ship being returned to Earth by remote control. There are only two survivors, and one has a strange growth on his arm, imperiling his life. The other survivor seems to be suffering from amnesia caused by the traumatic events. As she’s being debriefed, the story’s told in flashback …


The Angry Red Planet is an inexpensive, cheesy sci-fi movie from the 1950’s. Taken as such, it’s enjoyable. Although there’s a lot of things to laugh at while watching it!

The cliched beautiful young female scientist, Irish, is treated badly by today’s standards. With a lot of lines about how she’s just a woman, easily frightened woman, etc. And Colonel O’Bannion is chasing her romantically, and relentlessly, throughout the movie.

The alien life forms are … interesting, to say the least. Bat-Rat-Spider-Crab! Seriously. At least, you have to give them points for creativity. Notice how that Martian creature looks not only red, but cartoonish? That’s the “CineMagic” process at work. Producer Norman Maurer thought, correctly, that it would make the admittedly cheap sets and monsters look not quite as bad. He used a modified version later in The Three Stooges in Orbit, which he also produced. Moe Howard‘s son-in-law, by the way.

And, as they barely manage to leave the planet, they receive a warning from the Martians:

The warning

Martian Voice: Men of Earth, we of the planet Mars give you this warning. Listen carefully and remember: We have known your planet Earth since the first creature crawled out of the primeval slime of your seas to become man. For millennia, we have followed your progress. For centuries, we have watched you, listened to your radio signals and learned your speech and your culture, and now you have invaded our home. Technological adults, but spiritual and emotional infants. We kept you here, deciding your fate. Had the lower forms of life on our planet destroyed you, we would not have interfered. But you survived.

Your civilization has not progressed beyond destruction, war and violence against yourselves and others. Do as you will to your own and to your planet, but remember this warning – do not return to Mars. You will be permitted to leave for this sole purpose. Carry the warning to Earth – “Do not come here.” We can and will destroy you – ALL life on your planet – if you do not heed us. You have seen us, been permitted to glimpse our world. Go now. Warn mankind not to return unbidden. 

Voiced by Ted Cassidy (Lurch of The Addams Family, by the way)


  • Gerald Mohr (Gilda) … Colonel Thomas O’Bannion. Leader of the expedition. On the way back, he has a deadly green growth on his arm. If only Irish can remember …
  • Nora Hayden … Dr. Iris ‘Irish’ Ryan. Beautiful eye candy. Seriously. That, and screaming. A lot.
  • Les Tremayne (The War of the Worlds) … Prof. Theodore Gettell. Designer of the rocket ship. He suffers a fatal heart attack on the return trip.
  • Jack Kruschen (The Apartment) … Chief Warrant Officer Sam Jacobs. He uses a “freeze gun” against the various Martian wildlife. Eaten by a giant amoeba with a single eye. No, seriously!
  • Paul Hahn … Maj. Gen. George Treegar
  • J. Edward McKinley … Prof. Paul Weiner
  • Tom Daly (The Man from Planet X) … Dr. Frank Gordon
  • Don Lamond (The Three Stooges in Orbit) … TV Newscaster / Special Narrator / Martian (voice)
  • Edward Innes … Brigadier General Alan Prescott
  • Gordon Barnes … Maj. Lyman Ross
  • Jack Haddock … Lt. Col. Davis
  • Brandy Bryan (How to Marry a Millionaire) … Nurse Hayes
  • Joan Patrick … Nurse Dixon
  • Duke Norton … Dr. Muller
  • William Remick … Dr. Hawley
  • Fred Ross … Air Force News Photographer
  • David De Haven … Air Force News Photographer

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