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Ramiel, an inhabitant of Mars, having committed some misdemeanor, the God of Mars commands him to proceed to Earth and reclaim some selfish mortal. By means of a Crystal Globe, which reveals the actions of the happenings on Earth, the God of Mars has noticed one Horace Parker, a selfish person. He sees him pushing his way through a crowd watching a Punch and Judy show. Horace, when solicited to contribute a few pennies by the showman, refuses, shoving his way surlily onward. The God of Mars decrees that Ramiel must cure Horace of his selfishness before regaining favor in Mars. Horace, at home, settles down for a comfortable evening by the fire. He had promised to take his fiancée, Minnie, to a dance, but when she calls for him en route, she finds him in day clothes. She reproaches him for his thoughtless selfishness, and finally returns him the engagement ring. She goes to the dance with an escort who has called, Horace having failed her. Horace is now left at home, to read and ...Written by
Moving Picture World synopsis
Long-forgotten British sci-fi movie is more than a tad dated, as you'd expect
A MESSAGE FROM MARS is an intriguing little sci-fi movie with two distinguishing factors: it's a silent film, released in 1913, and there aren't too many of them around; also, it's British, which is unusual in itself from this era. We have the BFI to thank for recently cleaning up the print and putting it on general release.
As for the film itself, I think it's fair to say this is no classic. I was expecting a low rent British version of A TRIP TO THE MOON from the title, but what we get instead is a morality story along the lines of A Christmas CAROL. The plot involves a disgraced Martian who, in order to reintegrate into his society, must help a selfish human see the error of his ways in order to become a better person.
A MESSAGE FROM MARS is an hour long production with accompanying music and sound effects and tinted scenes varying between sepia, blue, and red. The acting is exaggerated, as you'd expect from the era, but the storyline is quite involved. Although the Martians themselves are disappointingly dated, the 'zap' effects are cleverly staged, and there's a decent set-piece involving a burning building. The camera-work is static for most of the time but there's a good rolling shot of a moving vehicle which must have been tough to stage. I should imagine that this was electrifying stuff for audiences at the time although nowadays it's more of a quaint curio than anything else.
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