Stranger from Venus (1954) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Stranger from Venus (1954)Stranger from Venus (1954) by #BurtBalaban
w/
#PatriciaNeal #HelmutDantine #DerekBond

A woman meets a man with no pulse who is here from Venus to warn Earth about the atom.

“When the Earth had Fourteen Seconds to Live!”

“There is no pulse. There are two possible explanations for this; I am drunk, or you are dead.”

#SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Last week I wrote about a weird British science fiction movie that was actually based on a play (!) and as a result was actually much better than I expected. This week I’m writing about another weird (albeit less weird) British science fiction film that wasn’t based on a play – but feels very much like it could have been. I am talking about Stranger from Venus (1954), directed by Burt Balaban. 

Stranger from Venus is an intelligent, serious-minded science fiction film that is trying very hard to be about something. One can’t help but think it’s specifically trying to be like The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), which is a fair superior film. For those who don’t know, it’s about an alien named Klaatu who comes to Earth with his guardian robot, Gort,  to warn the human race about nuclear war. Stranger from Venus is about an alien who has no name – and no pulse – who comes to Earth to warn the human race about developing dangerous technologies without measuring their long term destructive consequences. Hmmm… sounds a little familiar….

Stranger from Venus also stars Patrica Neal – one of the stars of The Day the Earth Stood Still

One of the main differences between the two movies is that Stranger from Venus is much lower budget, and as a result, it tries to do most things without special effects. Everything is more subtle and implied. This is one reason that it feels like a play.

Another reason that Stranger from Venus feels like theatre, is that it mainly takes place in a single location. Yes, there are scenes out on the road, and nearby in the woods. But there were also scenes like that in Devil Girl from Mars (1954), which WAS baed on a play. So, similarly, Stranger from Venus feels like a play that’s been opened up a little bit.

I imagine that if it was a play, we would only hear about the terrible accident that happens on the road. And it would be from the mysterious, nameless alien who wanders into the country inn. And then, eventually, the woman who actually died in the crash, but was brought back to life by the alien, would wander in looking a bit shell-shocked, as she does in the movie. 

I actually found myself wondering at this point if the filmmakers had based Stranger from Venus on a play. But I looked it it up, and no soap. 

Much like Devil Girl from Mars, Stranger from Venus is a pretty good, if somewhat dated, science fiction film from the 1950s. It not as campy as Devil Girl from Mars, but is also slightly better in its own way. So, if you prefer a fairly serious movie to campy fun, you might enjoy checking out this largely forgotten film. 

Stranger from Venus (1954) is not the kind of #NotQuiteClassicCinema that’s so-bad-it’s good. Although, when a doctor examines the alien and says “There is no pulse. There are two possible explanations for this; I am drunk, or you are dead,” I found myself laughing out loud. And although it’s a little more serious than most, I declare this movie to be a perfect addition to a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

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