(U.S. Version) A mysterious magnetic spool found during a construction project is discovered to have originated from Venus. A rocket expedition to Venus is launched to discover the origin of the spool and the race that created it. Written by
Leo L. Schwab <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At one point DEFA intended to establish a co-production with a French company for financing and scriptwriting. Part of the plan was to use French actors Yves Montand and Simone Signoret. However, Communist government officials disapproved of DEFA's pursuit of Western partners. See more »
One of the crew is injured during the first meteor shower, and has a gauze applied to his head. The next time he's seen the gauze has moved to the side of his head and now has a lot more tape holding it on. See more »
The version I saw had a lot of problems, but there is still something memorable about it
Since this movie was covered fairly early on by the MST3000 crew (along with "Rocketship XM" and "King Dinosaur"), my initial perception of this movie was something on the lines of 'Ehhhh, pretty cheesy', although it was clearly one of the better films they covered. Undoubtedly I saw the chopped up 93 minute version, instead of the longer, more coherent original version mentioned by other reviewers.
However, I saw a standalone DVD edition on sale at a clearance store and picked it up for a couple of bucks on some obscure impulse, and one fine evening I gave it a spin.
You know...in spite of the dated message and foreign cultural references and the problematic dubbing and "Engrish" translations, "1st Spaceship To Venus" does have a certain quality about it that I've come to respect. There's a certain gravity and solemnity to the proceedings. There's a certain wildness and inventiveness to the art direction and the sound design. And while none of the actors here are going to win any awards (or even by remembered by American audiences), if you pay attention you will see humane, approachable performances (undercut by poor dubbing) that make the film much more watchable than glib junk like "Rocketship XM" or space flight oriented stuff out of the Roger Corman sausage factory.
When I first saw "1st Spaceship", I had the impression that it definitely had an East European vibe to it, and the only Slavic speculative fiction author I was familiar with was Stanislaw Lem (whose best known work is probably "Solaris", although my favorite piece is "Non Serviam"). Sure enough, this movie turns out to be based on a Lem piece from decades back. Lem's dispassionate, Kabbalistic voice and speech rhythms, and his gift for oddly moving plots and characters somehow survived the adaptation to film and the tiny budget and the "Engrish" translation, leaving a dignity and substance to the proceedings that many contemporary American sci fi flicks can't match.
No, this will never be anyone's first choice for a space opera shoot-em-up, but under the crappy dubbing and hacked-up editing, the sympathetic eye can see that there is some good work being done here. A good item to add to the collection of the sci fi completist and archivist.
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