Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)

Paul Mantee as Commander Kit Draper

Paul Mantee as Commander Kit Draper

In this 1960s Sci fi epic retelling of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Commander Kit Draper (Paul Mantee) crash lands on the red planet and has to find ways to survive in the harsh Martian environment. Fortunately he discovers sources of oxygen, water and food, but loneliness is Draper’s big problem, wooly monkey Mona just isn’t the same as a living breathing person, even if she does get billed above dead mission commander Adam West in the closing credits.

Fortunately some wicked aliens turn up to do a spot of mining and despite their superior technology they still bring a bunch of slaves with them to do the fethching and carrying, but one of them (Victor Lundin) escapes.

Victor Lundin as Friday

Victor Lundin as Friday

So Kit makes teams up with the escaped slave, who naturally he names Friday and they have to escape the marauding aliens who are determined to take Friday back.

Filmed against the background of Death Valley, Robinson Crusoe on Mars was one of the most critically acclaimed and successful Sci Fi movies of the 1960s going on to influence many more films and TV series, including this year’s The Martian. Director Byron Haskin was also responsible for 1953’s The War of The Worlds and the alien’s spaceships share basic design and the sound of their death rays with Martians from the earlier film.

Mona the monkey

Mona the monkey, she’s the bright one who finds the food and water

An entertaining piece of 60s Sci Fi with pretty good pre-digital effects I give Robinson Crusoe on Mars a 555/666

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Robinson Crusoe in Mars is released on Dual Format Bluray and DVD on 23 November

Extras include commentary by SFX designer Robert Skotak, theatrical trailer and a 28 page booklet by Paul McAuley.

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