Serial Film (1950; cut vt Missile Monsters 1958). Republic Studios. Produced by Franklin Andreon. Directed by Fred C Brannon. Screenplay by Ronald Davidson. Cast includes Lois Collier, James Craven, Gegory Gaye (credited as Gregory Gay) and Walter Reed. Serial version in twelve instalments, total 167 minutes. Feature version 75 minutes. Black and white.
Pilot Kent Fowler (Reed), armed with an experimental Ray Gun developed by Dr Bryant (Craven), shoots down an unknown craft which proves to be a Spaceship belonging to the humanoid Alien Mota (Gaye) from Mars, who plans to conquer Earth through the use of atomic bombs and other Weapons which require uranium (Mota is Atom spelled backwards). Dr Bryant reaches the craft first, and soon – he had been a secret Nazi during World War Two – begins to help Mota with his Invasion. After setting up base in an extinct volcano, the two use various human criminals to gather the radioactive elements necessary for the scheme, though they are opposed by Fowler and his loyal secretary Helen Hall (Collier). In the final chapter, Kent penetrates the base and rigs one of the atomic bombs to detonate after he makes his escape, destroying the alien and Bryant. The world is safe once more.
In this virtual remake of The Purple Monster Strikes (1946), Republic used extensive stock footage from that film as well as from G-Men vs the Black Dragon (1943) while hiring Craven to essentially repeat his role from the 1946 serial. The edited feature version released in 1958 as Missile Monsters, to capitalize on the interest in Space Flight brought about by the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in the previous year, is much shorter and perhaps easier to digest. [GFi]
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