Film (1967; vt Perry Rhodan – SOS aus dem Weltall; vt Alarm im Weltall; vt Órbita Mortal; vt Mission Stardust) Aitor Films. Directed by Primo Zeglio. Written by Federico De Urrutia, Sergio Donati, Karlheinz Scheer, Kurt Vogelmann, and Primo Zeglio, based on a story by Kurt Vogelmann that was based on the Perry Rhodan novels by K-H Scheer and Clark Darlton (aka Walter Ernsting). Starring Lang Jeffries, John Karlsen, Essy Persson, Stefano Sibaldi, Luis Dávila, Pinkas Braun. 95 minutes. Colour.
Astronaut Perry Rhodan (Lang Jeffries) leads a flight to the Moon to find a valuable mineral and encounters an enormous Alien Spaceship. Its occupants are two humanoid aliens, the friendly Crest (John Karlsen) and the arrogant Thora (Essy Persson), who explain to Rhodan and his crewmates that they are members of a highly advanced but dying race, which needs to be reinvigorated by merging with a younger race; they also learn that the ailing Crest is dying of leukemia. Fortunately, Rhodan knows of a Dr Haggard (Stefano Sibaldi) in Africa who is perfecting a cure for leukemia, so he and the aliens travel to Earth in an alien shuttle craft to recruit the doctor to treat Crest. While Thora fends off soldiers with her superior Technology, Rhodan and crewmate Mike Bull (Luis Dávila) use her diamonds and weapons to get a car so they can visit the doctor, who agrees to treat the alien. However, a criminal mastermind named Arkin (Pinkas Braun), who has been monitoring Rhodan's adventures hoping to profit from first the mineral and later the aliens' technology, attempts to seize control of the alien spacecraft by means of a complicated scheme involving a phony Dr. Haggard. Fortunately, Rhodan is able to thwart his plans and cure Crest, and while Arkin employs a device taken from Thora to make one final threat while their spaceship is returning to the Moon, he is ultimately catapulted into the vacuum of space to die.
This very weak film was given so many alternate titles that some references have been fooled into listing it as two separate films; yet it commands attention as the only Cinema adaptation to date of the very popular Perry Rhodan novels. Its plot roughly follows the series' introductory story arc, and there were presumably plans for a sequel or sequels that would show Rhodan using the aliens' technology to establish himself as Peacelord of the Universe – plans aborted by the film's spectacular failure. Its problems include consistently poor special effects and an unfortunate emphasis on very terrestrial adventures, such as a car chase, fistfights, and other melodramatic hijinks that recall crude Saturday-morning serials like Radar Men from the Moon (1952). There is precisely one impressive scene, near the end of the film, when the villainous Arkin is expelled into space and we see his body drifting further and further away, shrinking into a black background of stars. But few viewers will have the patience to watch the film long enough to see it. [GW]
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