Red Planet Mars (1952) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster. for Red Planet Mars (1952)Red Planet Mars (1952) by #HarryHorner
#PeterGraves #AndreaKing

Scientists make contact with Mars and cause unforeseen political, economic, and spiritual problems.

“SEE! The first contact between Earth and Mars!”

“The World Torn Asunder By A Threat From Outer Space!”


Where do I begin with this one? Red Planet Mars starts off like an interesting sci-fi story. Husband and wife scientists are on the verge of making contact with Mars. Or rather, they have been in contact with Mars, but they just haven’t been able to decipher the messages that they’re getting back. It’s intriguing, and you want to know more. And eventually the scientists DO figure out how to communicate with the Martians, but it leads to all kinds of unexpected difficulties on Earth… and this is where the movie starts to get a little weird…

Just How Weird Does It Get?

As the scientists start to decode the Martian messages, Red Planet Mars (1952) suddenly turns into some kind of a strange cautionary tale. The world begins to fall into complete ruin because of the information being learned from the Martians. Industries collapse as news of possible “better” ways of doing things comes down the interplanetary hotline. And then things gets even weirder, as the Martians send the Earthlings a message that seems to be, well, sort of Christian. Christian? Yes, and it causes people to wonder whether or not the Martians could somehow be Christ… or something like that.

Wow, that IS Weird

Needless to say, Red Planet Mars is not a really cool sci-fi adventure story. Nor is it a horror story exactly. There are, of course, science-fiction elements. But there are no giant monsters, and no overt attacks or invasions. No one ever goes to Mars. It’s all strangely earthbound. And it seems to be meant to teach us a lesson about human nature or something like that. Red Planet Mars is a much better made movie than many I have featured on this blog. But it’s not exactly fun.

What were the makers of Red Planet Mars thinking?

Apparently based on a play, it’s easy to see how Red Planet Mars may have been a piece of theatre designed to make audiences think – as opposed to an exciting science fiction spectacle. We don’t see any Martians. There may (sort of) be an attack on Earth – or at least the western world – but it’s not an attack involving flying saucers and laser guns. It’s an exploration of the power of manipulation (?) and the East versus West mentality that was so powerful at the time (I think…?). It may also be some sort of religious fantasy – or allegory – or something like that.  I don’t know what to call it, but I don’t particularly like it.

So, what’s the bottom line?

Red Planet Mars (1952) is not without its drama and its moments of intrigue – but it’s no science fiction or horror story. It is definitely #NotQuiteClassicCinema. I’ve never heard of it before, and I doubt I’ll ever hear much about it again. It doesn’t do very well on the IMDb (currently rated 4.9), but it’s not exactly in the bottom 100.

Red Planet Mars is not a bad movie, but it’s not particularly good either. It’s a curiosity at best. It might be of interest to some people. I’m sure there are viewers out there who enjoyed it more than I did. So if you’re curious about it, I’d say go ahead and give it shot. One thing is for sure: it will be unlike any other movie you might watch on a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

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