Red Planet Mars (1952) starring Peter Graves, Andrea King, Herbert Berghof
Synopsis of Red Planet Mars
Review of Red Planet Mars
Red Planet Mars is a very different science fiction movie — it’s literally a movie that invites you to think, rather than providing a special effects bonanza, or mindless violence. The movie begins with an astronomer, showing photographs of Mars, with the Martian polar ice caps melting and filling the canals on Mars — causing Dr. Chris Cronyn (Peter Graves) to announce that he’s been trying to contact any intelligent life on Mars, using equipment that had been created during World War II by a Nazi scientist, who has since disappeared.
But the ex-Nazi, Franz Calder (Herbert Berghof) is alive and well, and working for the Soviet Union — and also trying to contact the Martians, although unsuccessful — he can, however, eavesdrop on the American’s attempts. But that still leaves the problem with how to communicate with a totally alien species, with whom humans have nothing in common … until Dr. Cronyn’s son Stewart (Orley Lindgren) suggests pi — since any advanced scientific community would know the concept.
Sure enough, the concept works, and they can use that as a basis to start communication between the two species. Dr. Cronyn’s wife, Linda (Andrea King) is concerned about the possible harm that might happen … and at first, it seems that her concerns may be valid as the first four Martian messages are translated — revealing that the Martians have lifespans of roughly 300 years, endless supplies of energy, and advanced agriculture that can feed 1,000 people from one-half of an acre.
The thought of the massive disruptions that this technology could happen on Earth — destroying the oil and coal industries, agriculture, etc. — causes widespread chaos, rioting, and threatens Western civilization; which Calder’s Communist masters enjoy greatly, thinking that they will soon take over the world as the West collapses. Until the final message from the Martians …
I won’t spoil the rest of the movie, except to say that the Soviet Union soon has its own problems. And the movie ends with a twist, followed by a twist … a very enjoyable movie that I truly enjoyed, and recommend highly.
Cast of characters
- Peter Graves (Stalag 17, Mission Impossible) … Chris Cronyn
- Andrea King (Beast with Five Fingers) … Linda Cronyn
- Herbert Berghof (Harry and Tonto) … Franz Calder
- Walter Sande (The Navy vs the Night Monsters) … Admiral Bill Carey
- Marvin Miller (Sleeping Beauty, King Dinosaur) … Arjenian
- Willis Bouchey … President
- Morris Ankrum (Earth vs the Flying Saucers) … Secretary of Defense Sparks
- Orley Lindgren … Stewart Cronyn
- Bayard Veiller … Roger Cronyn
Movie quotes from Red Planet Mars
Dr. Boulting – Mitchell’s Assistant: Do you seriously believe that you’ve established contact with Mars?
Chris Cronyn: [Somewhat annoyed] Well, you take pictures of it. Why shouldn’t I talk to it?
Linda Cronyn: [to Chris] We’ve lived on the edge of a volcano all our lives. One day it’ll boil over.
Stewart Cronyn: How bout pi?
Linda Cronyn: That’s hardly the way to offer it, Stew, and by the size of that slice I doubt there is anything left.
Admiral Bill Carey: I wonder what kind of world we’re opening the door on!
Arjenian: [Threateningly to Calder] We don’t make investments with no return!
Franz Calder: It’s not in the American character to keep quiet about success.
Franz Calder: He who follows the tyrant’s banner shall wear the tyrant’s chains. He who carries God’s banner shall know everlasting life!
Arjenian: You expect me to tell them that?
Franz Calder: What you tell them is no concern of mine.
Linda Cronyn: It’s the Sermon on the Mount… from Mars.
Russian Commissar: That will silence their hymns. What do these superstitious peasants think? They cannot compete against our guns!