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The Phantom Planet (1961).

October 10, 2008

The Scoop:
In the fantastically futuristic world of 1980, a miniature planet roams the Solar System at will, capturing Earth’s exploratory rockets. The studly Capt. Chapman (Dean Fredericks) is sent to investigate, and winds up on the planet, shrunk down in size to visit with its tiny inhabitants. Turns out they’re at war with a race of dog-faced aliens, who are also very small. Chapman helps them win their war, and along the way cures a mute girl (Colleen Gray). All in a day’s work!

This bit of B-movie fluff from director William Marshall (and a large posse of screenwriters and producers) is certainly odd, but the novelty value alone isn’t enough to make its 82 minutes exactly fly by. “The Phantom Planet” is best in small doses. (And yes, this is where that crappy band got its name.)

Best Line:
“You know, Captain, every year of my life I grow more and more convinced that the wisest and the best is to fix our attention on the good and the beautiful. If you just take the time to look at it.”

Side Note:
Under the mask of the captured dog alien is none other than Richard Kiel, best known as Bond villain Jaws. As if that wasn’t enough, the leader of the tiny aliens is played by aging silent film star Francis X. Bushman, who is a long way from his “Ben Hur” days.

Companion Viewing:
“Fire Maidens From Outer Space” (1956).

Links:
IMDb.
Music from the Monster Movies, 1950-1969.
io9.

Take a Look:
The hilariously overwrought trailer:

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