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"Review: War of the Satellites (1958)" Topic

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347 hits since 10 Feb 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian10 Feb 2019 10:30 p.m. PST

This is another low-budget Roger Corman picture, available now in the Sci-Fi Classics Triple Feature set along with two other pictures.

After the launch of Sputnik, satellites became a "hot topic," and this sci-fi pic was rushed out.

Richard Devon stars as the head of the United Nations space project, the delectable Susan Cabot is a lead scientist, and Dick Miller plays another scientist.

The basic idea is that the UN keeps putting up spaceships (which this movie confuses with satellites), and they keep blowing up. Then a message is dropped from space: Stop trying to explore space, or we will destroy your planet! But threats and nuclear bombs aren't going to stop the brave explorers of the U.N.!

The movie actually veers away from being a sci-fi movie, and turns into more of a horror/suspense plot as the alien force infiltrates the crew and is attracted to an earth girl!

The spaceship interiors are minimal but quite effective, including space couches; some of the space effects are good for the time and the spaceships are quite Wernher von Braun. Other effects are animated and look poorly.

Richard Devon probably does as well as he can, given the loony plot. Susan Cabot is ravishing but has little to do except "check her calculations" and become an alien target. Dick Miller is quite good in a heroic role. Roger Corman is boring in a cameo as a ground controller.

The big let-down is that we never get to see any aliens, and they seem rather easy to defeat. And then the U.N. spaceship engages intergalactic mode!??

So in the end, this is silly nonsense masquerading as sci-fi. But it's fun.

Could you game it? You could run a campaign loosely based on the Earth spaceships fighting for liberation against aliens, with failed missions meaning another nuke for Earth…

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 4:01 a.m. PST

I'm working on Space a 1959 role playing/skirmish campaign where the Soviet Union and US realise we are under a Alien Quarantine when Sputnik blows up after one orbit. All alternate designs, vhicles/weapons that didn't work or catch on DO work (DYNASOAR, nuke-powered bombers etc.)

Saw this film when I was 10 on a Monster Movie Matinee TV show. It always stuck in my mind. Along with Soviet May Day parades and X-15 launches.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 7:55 a.m. PST

Looked this up on IMDB and discovered that the star, Dick Miller, passed away at the end of last month. It appears he was a frequent presence in film and television, and had recently completed another role in an upcoming production. So a timely review indeed!

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 7:57 a.m. PST

Love the poster, by the way:


Personal logo Dances With Words Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Feb 2019 12:00 p.m. PST

I never saw any 'model' released of the main ship….even though it appeared here and on an episode of Lost in Space…..

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Feb 2019 6:38 p.m. PST

Looked this up on IMDB and discovered that the star, Dick Miller, passed away at the end of last month. It appears he was a frequent presence in film and television…

For a number of years, Roger Corman tried to fit Dick into at least a bit part in everything he produced. He's even in the "nurses" series!

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