Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         

FLIGHT TO MARS. Monogram Pictures, 1951. Marguerite Chapman, Cameron Mitchell, Arthur Franz, Virginia Huston, John Litel, Morris Ankrum. Director: Lesley Selander.

   It’s difficult for me not to like movies with Cameron Mitchell in them. Sure, he did more than his fair share of lousy films, but the man’s got a unique presence and a wry, world-weary manner of speaking that’s difficult to explain: a sort of you-know—it-when-you-hear-it.

   So when I learned of this science fiction B-film that stars not only Mitchell, but also Arthur Franz (another favorite of mine from that era and that genre), I had to check out Flight to Mars. The result: well, let’s just say that’s a clumsy, superficial film without much to recommend it except that the movie has these two actors in it and that it makes great use of Cinecolor.

   The plot, evidently borrowed from the silent Soviet film, Aelita (1924), follows a group of American scientists, as well as newspaperman Steve Abbott (Mitchell), as they make their way to the red planet. When they arrive, they discover a highly advanced civilization led by a quasi-fascist regime led by the authoritarian Ikron (Morris Ankrum).

   So everyone runs around a bit through the hallways of the Martians’ underground city, all wearing similar cheap looking uniforms (apparently the costume budget for this movie wasn’t all that elaborate), and then our friendly group of earthlings finally discover a means by which they can fix their rocket ship and head back home.

   That’s really about it. It’s a shame, for merely adding a little green man or two to the mix would have really spiced things up a bit.

   Still, I imagine that if you were a kid in the early 1950s and you saw this at a matinee, you would have thought it was all super neat. And you may not have been half wrong, either.