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Brian G. Hutton,
David J. Stewart
Typically fast and cheap early Roger Corman sci-fi epic was put together in a hurry in order to capitalize on the launching of the Soviet satellite Sputnik, and the subsequent efforts of the United States to launch a satellite of their own. Lawrence L. Goldman wrote a script (based on a story by Jack Rabin and Irving Block), about the United Nations repeatedly failing with their space exploration missions. A hostile alien intelligence wants Earthlings to cease and desist with these missions, or else. Our intrepid heroes, naturally, become more determined than ever to succeed, and send a pair of rockets into outer space. But the aliens are ready to sabotage the mission.
The not so special effects and the minimum of sets merely serve to add to the fun factor of this Corman quickie. It sure as hell isn't anything great, but then it doesn't try to be. It's an amusing, fast paced, decently acted Allied Artists production that has a certain charm that often came with the low budget genre movies of this period. It's impossible to dislike, especially considering the way that Corman is slyly injecting some commentary about the Cold War as part of the package. Cormans' constant collaborators during this time, production designer Daniel Haller and cinematographer Floyd Crosby, do the best that they can with their minimal budget, and the music by Walter Greene is highly enjoyable. The acting is pretty good from all concerned: Richard Devon is effective as the determined Dr. Pol Van Ponder, Susan "The Wasp Woman" Cabot appealing as leading lady Sybil Carrington. Eric Sinclair as Dr. Howard Lazar, Robert Shayne as Cole Hotchkiss, Jered Barclay as John Compo, and Bruno VeSota as Mr. LeMoine comprise a fine supporting cast. But the primary appeal of "War of the Satellites" is the opportunity to see the legendary Dick Miller in not just a leading role, but a *heroic* leading role, as brave scientist Dave Boyer.
These 66 minutes go by quickly and engagingly.
Seven out of 10.
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