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En route to Earth's orbiting space station, a spaceship with four men aboard is attacked and they awaken after their spaceship crash lands. One of them, Professor Konrad, determines they have landed on Venus, a planet scientists had believed to be uninhabitable. They are taken prisoner by the inhabitants, all beautiful women, who imprisoned the men and took control of the planet. Their masked Queen, Yllana, has plans to destroy the Earth with their beta disintegrator but there is dissent among them led by the beautiful Talleah. Written by
Fans Have Debated for Years Whether This Film Was Intended As A Parody or Not.
"Queen of Outer Space" has been unkindly described as a deliberate parody of sci-fi cliches, but the director wasn't in on the joke.
Fans have been debating for years just what the intentions of Ben Hecht and Charles Beaumont were in penning this much-reviled space adventure. Surely both writers were capable of much better work. Surely Zsa Zsa Gabor as a Venusian space maiden was a piece of casting nobody expected to be taken seriously. Surely director Edward Bernds must have known the score. This is the man who directed the Three Stooges. He knows a joke when he sees it! Yet, in interviews, Bernds insists that the film was intended to be taken straight.
Even a casual examination of the finished product makes this hard to believe. The first half of the film seems to be skewering the stereotypical male/female relationships found in pulp sci-fi cinema of the day. But after the captain rebuffs the evil queen's advances and the plot turns to action, the film starts taking itself seriously and its sense of goofy fun dissipates quickly.
But, in fairness to Bernds: if he wasn't in on the joke, neither were any of his cast, who perform with earnest sincerity throughout.
Although the film was made by Allied Artists (Monogram after their name change), some expense seems to have been spent on it: it's in color & Cinemascope and the sets, although gaudily and colorfully fake, are extensive. Perhaps most tellingly, AA released it as a single feature, clearly a sign of confidence (or misplaced optimism) in those days where double-features were standard for B-films.
In hindsight, the question of deliberate parody may never be answered. Because of the film's reputation, those involved in the production were undoubtedly anxious to rewrite history to salvage their professional reputations.
Favorite scene: Zsa Zsa's attempt to impersonate the queen by donning her mask and issuing orders in her imperious and distinctive Hungarian accent, then being shocked when the ruse fails.
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