2 + 5: Missione Hydra

Tagged: Film

Film (1966; vt Star Pilot). Golden Motion Pictures. Directed by Pietro Francisci, starring Leonora Ruffo, Mario Novelli, Roland Lesaffre, Leontine May, Kirk Morris, Nando Angelini, Giovanni de Angelis. Written by Pietro Francisci, based on a story by Fernando Paolo Girolami. English screenplay by Ian Danby. 89 minutes. Colour.

A Spaceship from the constellation Hydra crashes in Sardinia and is buried for two years, forcing its commander Kaena (Ruffo) to place her crew in hibernation. When the spaceship is discovered by a team headed by Scientist Dr Solmi (Lesaffre) and his impetuous daughter Luisa (May), Kaena forces the humans to help repair her spaceship. She then takes off, using the scientific team and three Chinese agents who followed them as her crew. After one of the Aliens does a spacewalk to repair an antenna, Kaena receives instructions from her homeworld, but the humans attempt to seize control of the spaceship. At this time, the spaceship is trapped in a "photon shower", forcing humans and aliens into an alliance to handle a difficult landing on a strange world inhabited by apelike savages. When they take off to get away from these attackers, the spaceship happens upon a spaceship from Earth with two dead cosmonauts on board, and Solmi deduces from their recorded message that, while he and the others were traveling at relativistic speeds (> Relativity), Earth experienced a devastating atomic war. After Kaena returns to her homeworld to find that it has suffered the same fate, the crew resolves to seek out a new world to rebuild their civilizations.

This film has largely received attention because of its bizarrely inept sequence in space, featuring Stars that visibly waver, indicating that they are hanging lights, and astronauts in space who do not bother to don space helmets, though there is a tube to provide them with oxygen (in reality, of course, such spacewalkers would be instantly killed by exposure to the vacuum of space). Its Space Flight is also unduly delayed by tedious hijinks in Sardinia, so that the centre of attention instead becomes the skimpier and skimpier outfits worn by the flippant, flirtatious Luisa. When the spaceship finally takes off, there are brief efforts to track its flight by Earth's Space Stations – represented by footage borrowed from Yosei Gorasu (1962; vt Gorath) – though like the contrived conflicts on Earth, these ultimately prove to be irrelevant and are forgotten. In light of the film's relentless silliness, its suddenly sober conclusion – including scenes of the gruesomely decayed bodies of the dead cosmonauts – is quite incongruous, and it dishearteningly leaves a motley and most unsuitable crew of humans and aliens with the sole responsibility of maintaining civilization in the Galaxy. One cannot be particularly hopeful about the outcome. [GW]

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