Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

Devil Girl from Mars (1954)An astronomer (Professor Hennessey, played by Joseph Tomelty) and a newspaper reporter (Michael Carter, played by Hugh McDermott) find themselves in a remote inn in Scotland. They’re investigating a report of a meteor. But it’s no meteor. It’s a spaceship. A spaceship with one passenger - and she’s the Devil Girl from Mars!

Women now rule Mars, after a bitter and destructive civil war with the Martian men. But the Martian women have a problem - despite their incredibly advanced science they still need men in order to breed. And the Martian men are no longer up to the job. The answer is simple. There are plenty of men on a neighbouring planet called Earth - they’ll just take a few back with them. Well actually they intend to take a lot of men back with them, all good breeding stock.

If the Earth people resist, they will be destroyed.

The Martian spaceship was heading for London but it was damaged entering the Earth’s atmosphere and ended up in a remote part Scotland. They aren’t many men to choose from here. There’s the barman, but the Martian astronaut, a female named Nyah (Patricia Laffan), quickly decides he would be useless for breeding purposes and liquidates him. That leaves the middle-aged astronomer, the reporter, an escaped murderer and Jamie the elderly innkeeper (played by the wonderful character actor John Laurie). And there’s also a small boy.

Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

There are several women at the inn, but Mars has no need of women. Mars needs men.

The women are the beautiful model Ellen Prestwick (Hazel Court), the barmaid Doris (Adrienne Corri) who is in love with the escaped convict, and the innkeeper’s wife. Once Nyah’s plans become obvious this motley collection of men and women realise that the fate of civilisation rests on their shoulders. If Nyah returns to Mars with a few samples of Earth men then more Martian spaceships will follow. Somehow  she has to be stopped, and since Nyah is impervious to bullets that means her spaceship has to be wrecked. That will have to be done by destroying the advanced nuclear power plant.

Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

This won’t be easy since Nyah also has with her a powerful robot. The robot is very good at obliterating things.  Martian technology seems to consist mostly of ways of obliterating things. But somehow that spaceship must be prevented from leaving Earth.

This 1954 British production is a great deal of fun if you accept it as high camp silliness. Nyah wears a sexy leather flying suit and her robot is delightfully goofy (apart from having immense obliterating powers). The spacecraft is actually quite cool.

Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

Patricia Laffan plays Nyah like a cartoonish and somewhat distracted dominatrix. Which is exactly the way she should be played. John Laurie lays on the ham as thick as he possibly can. The other cast members try to play things straight but the whole concept is so campy it doesn’t matter.

The special effects match the silly mood of the movie although the spaceship looks fairly impressive in a fun 1950s flying saucer sort of way.

Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

There are plenty of stiff upper lips as the beleaguered humans valiantly plan to resist Nyah’s evil plans. Don’t even try to take this movie seriously. The British made several thoughtful and fairly ambitious science fiction movies in the early 50s but this is not one of them. 

Westlake’s all-region NTSC DVD doesn’t have much in the way of extras but it’s an acceptable if not fantastic (and rather dark) transfer. In fairness to the DVD the entire movie takes place at night so although the screencaps look very dark they are all night shots.

Highly entertaining fare that proves the British could match the Americans went it came to silly high-camp science fiction nonsense. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Stacia said...

I really had fun watching this film. Nyah is pretty much the only reason to watch, not just because of her outfit but her robot and ship, too.

Ninja Dixon said...

Thank for a great review, need to buy this one!

tom jones said...

"Well actually they intend to take a lot of men back with them, all good breeding stock."

And these men are resisting because ... ? If a tall woman covered in leather landed on Earth and said her civilization needs Earth-men to breed, she wouldn't exactly be short of volunteers!