WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS
(Il Pianeta Errante)
Despite the colourful cheapness of some of Antonio Margheritis earlier space operas, War Between the Planets emerges as one of his duller efforts. Some of the other entries, notably the wacky The Wild, Wild Planet, had numerous different plot elements going on, but there is not much that happens here. The first hour of the films running time consists of the astronauts on the space station spouting technical doubletalk (which is scientifically nonsensical). The journey to and landing on the planetoid takes up the last 20 minutes. When they do get to the asteroid, the plot is a recycle of Battle of the Worlds (1961), one of Antonio Margheritis earlier space operas, albeit unconnected to the Gamma 1 series, which likewise concerned an expedition to investigate a rogue planet.
With War Between the Planets, Antonio Margheriti aims more ambitiously than in his earlier entries in the creation of a futuristic city, a space station, space walk sequences and the landing on an alien world but largely fails through impoverishment of budget. The city sets and rockets circling the volcanic planetary landscape are obviously models, while the space station can be seen wobbling on its support wire. At one point, when the three rockets set off to rendezvous with the asteroid, the ignition of their jet flares unintentionally illuminates the hidden wall behind them. The EVA sequences with the astronauts travelling out on their tethers is imaginatively conceived but fails through the numerous clearly visible support cables that we see holding the actors up. Not to mention some of the unscientific moves that this result in, like seeing the astronauts swaying back and forward in zero gravity. (There are some decidedly dodgy scientific ideas bandied about throughout the film, including at several points the notion of wind in space).
The roles in these Italian films were always wooden and the performances further ruined by the hack-handed English-language dubbing. Giacomo Rossi-Stuart comes across as too hot-headed and cross playing the commanding officer you wonder how someone like that ever ended up in a command position.
Antonio Margheritis other genre films are:- Assignment Outer Space (1960), Battle of the Worlds (1961), the Gothic Castle of Blood (1964), the peplum Devil Against the Son of Hercules (1964), the peplum Hercules, Prisoner of Evil (1964), the Gothic The Long Hair of Death (1964), the Gothic The Virgin of Nuremberg (1964), War of the Planets (1965), The Wild, Wild Planet (1965), the spy film Lightning Bolt (1966), The Snow Devils (1967), the giallo The Young, The Evil and the Savage (1968), the giallo The Unnaturals (1969), the invisibility comedy Mr Superinvisible (1970), the Gothic Web of the Spider (1971), the giallo Seven Dead in the Cats Eye (1973), the gonzo Western comedy Whiskey and Ghosts (1976), the cannibalistic Vietnam Vets film Cannibal Apocalypse/Cannibals in the Streets (1980), the adventure film Hunters of the Golden Cobra (1982), the post-holocaust barbarian film Yor, The Hunter from the Future (1983), the adventure film The Ark of the Sun God (1984), Treasure Island in Outer Space (mini-series, 1987), the alien nasty film Alien from the Deep (1989) and the sf/action film Virtual Weapon (1997).
Full film available online here:-