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Visit to a Small Planet (1960)

The weirdest alien of the galaxy pays a visit to Earth...



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Major Roger Putnam Spelding
Milton Frome ...
Police Commissioner
Mrs. Mabel Mayberry
Barbara Lawson ...
Beatnik Dancer Desdemona


Jerry Lewis is Kreton, a childish alien who, against his teacher's will leaves his planet to visit the Earth, and lands in the backyard of a famous television journalist who doesn't believe in U.F.O's and aliens. Wanting to study humans but not able to fully understand them, Kreton makes a mess out of it, generating a lot of comic situations. Written by Alessio Quirino

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Sci-Fi


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Release Date:

4 February 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un marciano en California  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Gore Vidal, who wrote the original play, was upset with the choice of Jerry Lewis as the lead in the movie version. On Broadway, Vidal's play ran for 388 performances between Feb 7, 1957 and Jan 11, 1958, and won Cyril Ritchard, originator of the Kreton character, a 1957 Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in Play. But Jerry Lewis was a star, twelve times named to the Top Ten list of Box Office Stars, six times with partner Dean Martin (with whom he was the top star of 1952), and six times solo (ranking as high as #3 in 1958). He got the part. See more »


During the Hungry Brain sequence, the jazz band's trumpet player is shown playing with his horn "open" (unmuted), but the trumpeter heard on the soundtrack is using a mute. See more »


Referenced in Morons from Outer Space (1985) See more »


Desdemona's Lament
Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
Performed by Barbara Lawson
See more »

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User Reviews

Classic Science Fiction Comedy.
26 November 2002 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

A bumbling, clowning alien visitor named Kreton observes the ways of humans here on Earth. Arriving in Richmond, Virginia in Civil War costume in 1960, he believes he is just in time to witness the beginnings of the Civil War, but is off by 100 years. He then decides to observe the customs of 20th Century American life, including such things as lovemaking rituals and what people do for entertainment: he watches two people romantically involved with each other (Holliman & Blackman), billing and cooing at one another, and ends up getting between them; he goes to a Beatnik nightclub, and realizes that the Beatniks are more like the aliens he knows than humans. Lots of hilarious Jerry Lewis mugging, sight-gags and comedy routines, terrific special effects work by the master John P. Fulton; great flying saucers! Terrific counterpoint with Lewis' Kreton and his professor back home, Mr. Delton, played by the distinguished English actor John Williams; a few Lewis gems: "Keep your nose out of other people's planets", even if you think "the grass is greener on the other side of the galaxy"! A really fun picture. I saw this when it first came out in the summer of 1960. Too bad it wasn't filmed in Technicolor; that's really the only flaw I find in it - it was made in b&w. It would have been so much better in Technicolor. This is probably why it wasn't more popular. Great fun for the whole family, with a terrific cast. This was Lewis' last studio picture under his old Paramount contract before he formed his own independent production company; he made "The Bellboy" in six weeks completely on his own, right after completing work on this movie, and sold it to Paramount. This would be his arrangement with the film studio on all his subsequent films of the 1960s at the studio until he went on to other studios. Delightful for Jerry Lewis fans, and a delightful music score by Leigh Harline. So why isn't this out on video?

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