The Man from Planet X (1951) starring Robert Clarke, Margaret Field, Raymond Bond, William Schallert
Synopsis of The Man from Planet X
The Man from Planet X. To study a rogue planet heading for a near-miss with Earth, Prof. Elliot sets up an observatory on the foggy moors of a remote Scottish island. His companions are his pretty daughter Enid, and Dr. Mears, a former student with a shady past. Soon after the arrival of reporter John Lawrence, a ship from Planet X lands near the observatory. Is the visitor (who actually looks alien) benevolent? What are Mears’ real motives for trying to communicate with it?
Actually, The Man from Planet X is a very good, moody, atmospheric story. It tells the story of a first contact with an intelligent alien …. But it goes horribly wrong, when a greedy man tries to torture it for advanced technology. And this, in turn, nearly leads to the enslavement of the human race.
- Robert Clarke (Beyond the Time Barrier, The Hideous Sun Demon) … John Lawrence. The young reporter, following up on a story lead from his friend, Professor Elliot.
- Margaret Field … Enid Elliot. The professor’s beautiful young daughter. Six years prior, she told John that she was going to marry him. She first finds the alien, and runs away frightened. She leads her father there, where he’s hypnotized. Then, John & the professor go there, and aid the alien. and the alien follows them back.
- Raymond Bond …Professor Elliot. Enid’s father, John’s friend, Mears’ employer. Shortly after following Enid to the spaceship, he’s temporarily incapacitated by some hypnotic beam from the ship.
- William Schallert (Innerspace, The Incredible Shrinking Man) … Dr. Mears. A scientist with a criminal background. The actual villain of the story. He takes the opportunity, when alone with the alien, to torture him. To get his advanced technology, which could make him rich. In return, when the alien escapes, it enslaves the town people in small groups. A very good performance by William Schallert, by the way.
- Roy Engel (Zombies of the Stratosphere) … Tommy – the Constable
- David Ormont … Inspector Porter
- Gilbert Fallman … Dr. Robert Blane
- Tom Daly (Gog, The Angry Red Planet) … Donal – a searcher
Enid Elliot: When I got close to it, it looked like a giant glass ball girdled with something like a steel belt. Three of them, I think. When I got close enough to look in – there it was.
Professor Elliot: It? What?
Enid Elliot: That face! Right on the other side of the glass looking right into mine! I was terrified!
Professor Elliot: A face? A human face?
Enid Elliot: A ghastly caricature like something distorted by pressure. I can’t think how else to describe it – a horrible, grotesque face looking right into my eyes!
Dr. Mears: [to the Man from Planet X, laughing] To think – a fantastic gnome like you had to hurdle out of space to put this power in my hands. Well, now that we’ve made contact, I’m gonna tear out every secret you’ve got!
Editorial review of The Man from Planet X courtesy of Amazon.com
Daring reporter John Lawrence (Robert Clarke) narrates this gripping tale of an alien’s attempt to take over a tiny village in Scotland. As the story opens, Lawrence is visiting his old friend, Professor Elliot, who’s made the startling discovery of a new planet that is approaching Earth at breakneck speed. Soon Elliot’s lovely daughter, Enid, has spotted a mysterious craft in the middle of the moor. Lawrence and Elliot decide to investigate, inexplicably allowing the clearly evil Dr. Mears to assist.
Lost the plot? Not to worry! The Man from Planet X cheerfully helps slower viewers by offering expository dialogue as frequently as humanly possible. “Look!” says Elliot, “It seems as if he’s trying to turn that knob to the right, but doesn’t have the strength or coordination,” as the alien tries to turn the knob to the right, but doesn’t have the strength or coordination. All seems lost as the alien begins using telepathy to control the local villagers. Luckily for the Earth, the alien’s superior mind-control powers are not matched with superior common sense–he never bothers to give his slaves such crucial commands as “Don’t tell the enemy my entire plan!” or “Let me know if any outsiders show up!” or “By the way, don’t follow the commands of anybody but me!” A guaranteed hoot of an evening. –Ali Davis