The romance that was Mars ..

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brian livesey
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The romance that was Mars ..

Post by brian livesey »

The decades of the 1940s, '50s and '60s could rightly be described as the the UFO era. Flying saucers and the like were being sighted everywhere, especially in the USA, in particular at Area 51, a secret military base where experimental aircraft were/are tested.
In fact, UFO incidents where so prolific as to prompt the US airforce to compile a dossier known as the Blue Book.
It was perhaps inevitable that a string of science fiction movies,with an emphasis on Martians, were produced. Two notable Hollywood Mars movies were "The Day the Earth stood Still", featuring Michael Rennie, who could make Einstein look like a maths junior, and H.G.Wells' "War of the Worlds with its nasties descending on small town America.
Then things changed with NASA's 1965 Mariner 4 flyby of Mars, showing a harsh cratered landscape with not a trace of greenery nor expanses of water, nor of those celebrated canals with lush oases at their nodal points. For many, the romantic notion of Mars supporting advanced life forms, benign or hostile, began to fade. In fact, well before the Mariner flybys, British scientist, James Lovelock, had strongly doubted that life existed on Mars, as he could find no trace of methane in his sensitive, earthbound, methane detector.
As we know, there might still be traces of microbial life in Martian soil, but the old romantic notion that Mars was likely another Earth has gone, to be replaced by a world of stoney deserts, dust devils and harsh solar radiation.. .
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michael feist
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

Post by michael feist »

The two early films that you mention, 'War of the Worlds' and 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' I really enjoyed, but the flashy, modern versions I thought were but poor overcooked copies.
Although not necessarily about Mars, the three Quatermass stories / tv films concerning, particularly the second one, which had Holst's 'Mars' as theme and 'Quatermass and Pit' I thought most enjoyable, but scary, as a lad. I rather think the 'Pit' story, is perhaps relevant now, as it concerned the discovery of a very old space craft, haunted by the ghosts if you like, of strange three-legged locust-like aliens which apparently had become so overcrowded that, from time to time they swarmed and killed each other and any that deviated from the norm. Sound a bit like 'the too-many people on the this Earth' scenario. Not about aliens but anther relevant book, in fact the only sci-fi book I have from my past, is 'Earth Abides' by George R. Stewart. I concerns a lethal virus which all but wipes out humanity and desperation attempt for the remaining people to build up society again, but slowly lose the plot. ....'Men go and come, but Earth abides' . First published in 1950, republished in 1979 by Corgi, fortunately not on acid free paper, the book itself is now horribly smelly. regards mike
Last edited by michael feist on Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
brian livesey
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

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When Kubrick's 2001 was released Mike, I went to see it five times! I wouldn't do it now. It was the sheer immensity and technical glamour of the film that appealed and, of course, legetti's music.
A surprising point about this Sixties movie is that it doesn't seem to have aged, apart from the presence of the pre-glasnost Soviet character on the space station. The Flash Gordon movies we used to watch in the 'Forties, with rockets suspended from visible wires and sparks and smoke issuing from the back of them,look amusing now. I suddenly feel old. :lol:
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Cliff
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

Post by Cliff »

Brian & Mike
I vaguely recall enjoying Flash Gordon films at Saturday morning matinees when I was a boy, but I don't recall seeing half the movies you have mentioned. If I remember properly I thought "2001" was boring & didn't watch it all.. As for Mike's mention of the World's Population, I have sworn to be silent in future on that topic in future - However, it's the UK's population problems (and England in particular) I'm really concerned about. Amongst other things I'm told the UK only produces about 45% of the food we eat. But possibly science fiction films might seem better if there are no noisy potato crisps being sold at cinemas.
Best wishes from Cliff
brian livesey
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

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The Flash Gordon films Cliff where probably made in the Thirties. They certainly looked like Thirties vintage. :wink:
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jeff.stevens
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

Post by jeff.stevens »

I love the 1951 version of “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. Like all good films, at its heart is a truly fascinating and thought provoking story. If I recall correctly, it was based on a short story called “Farewell To The Master”. I seem to recall reading the short story, but not finding it quite as inspiring as the subsequent film script.

I wonder how much it inspired young people of that era to seek out a career in science, or in more general if it actually got people interested in looking up at the night sky? I wonder too if there was a boost in telescope and binocular sales that particular Christmas. Rumour has it the famous line “Klaatu barada nikto” actually translated to “Klaatu recommends buying Nikon binoculars”.

Best wishes, Jeff.
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

Post by brian livesey »

:lol:
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Cliff
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

Post by Cliff »

Jeff
I vaguely recall seeing a film possibly (?) - The Day the Earth Stood Still". I think the Earth (or at Least USA was under attack but can't remember by who?, or only asteroids ?. Anyway hoards of people were escaping from cities taking to the hills. But I think the film ended with its two heroes a female & male) supposedly escaping by spaceship (probably the only one existing at that time - and only in fiction). However, where the escapees were heading for I don't know , or if they ever got there, I think the film ended just after take off. Of course there were no known exo-planets when the film was made.
Oh! Brian I wouldn't be surprised if the Flash Gordon films were made in the 30s - but I don't think I was old enough to see them then.
michael feist
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

Post by michael feist »

The basis, Cliff, of the story was that an alien craft landed. Within was a humanoid alien played by Michael Rennie and a vey powerful robot. Humanity was considered to be danger to the rest of the life in the Universe and had to justify its existence or else would be expunged. They just about got away with it! The more recent version, but too-slick in my view, was similar.
The original book story of 'War of the Worlds' took place in England, the modern films, in USA. regards mike.
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

Post by joe »

Cliff wrote: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:09 am Jeff
I vaguely recall seeing a film possibly (?) -[...] hoards of people were escaping from cities taking to the hills. But I think the film ended with its two heroes a female & male) supposedly escaping by spaceship.
Perhaps it was When Worlds Collide? A passing star (with orbiting planet) threatens to destroy the Earth.
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brian livesey
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Re: The romance that was Mars ..

Post by brian livesey »

It was worth watching The Day the Earth Stood Still if only to listen to Bernard Hermmann's out-of-this-world theremin music.
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