Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#187. Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962)

Directed By: Sidney W. Pink

Starring: John Agar, Carl Ottosen, Peter Monch

Tag line: "Have They Terrifying Powers Of Mind Over Matter?"

Trivia:  Though credited, actor Ove Sprogøe claimed that he never participated in the movie, stating he was sick the week it was shot

"There are no limits to the imagination”. 

Spoken by the film's narrator, this is the opening line of 1962's Journey to the Seventh Planet.  More than a clever introduction, it's also a clue as to how we should approach the movie itself. Produced at a time when man's understanding of the universe was in it's infancy, Journey to the Seventh Planet is, like most sci-fi films of the 50's and early 60's, scientifically naïve, though what it lacks in scientific knowledge, it more than makes up for in creativity. 

The year is 2001, and the United Nations is the governing body of the entire world. Having eliminated poverty and hunger, mankind “now hungers only for knowledge”. Thus far, explorations of the six planets closest to the sun in our solar system have found no signs of life. Spaceship Explorer 12, under the command of Captain Don Graham (John Agar), is on it's way to Uranus, the seventh planet, to continue the search, and what they uncover will change forever man's perception of the known universe. 

Journey to the Seventh Planet is an ingenious film, offering up enough plot twists to keep it's story rolling along at a brisk pace. Before the space explorers even land on the surface of Uranus, the movie throws a puzzling (and quite interesting) mystery our way; while making preparations to orbit the planet, the ship and its crew are thrown into a sort of suspended animation, as if frozen in time. When they finally come to, the clock tells them they've been unconscious for two hours. However, a piece of fruit one of them was holding at the time has gone rotten, indicating they may have been out for a much longer period. It's an ominous beginning to their adventure, one that, in the long run, will prove as perplexing as it is dangerous. 

Seeing as science had not yet caught up with them, the makers of these early sci-fi films were given free reign to create their own realities, and though current knowledge has made their vision of the universe obsolete, it has not put a damper on their entertainment value. Where science has turned its back on their worlds, the imagination continues to embrace them.


pylgrym said...

"Journey..." a good, creepy and truly 0uter $pace flick deserving a Big Screen view by all ten year old boys and their ilk. Maybe MOMA will bring it to NYC?

DVD Infatuation said...

pylgrym: That would certainly be something if they did! I'd love to see it happen.

Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment