D-DAY ON MARS. Republic Pictures, 1946. Feature version of the movie serial The Purple Monster Strikes (1945). Dennis Moore, Linda Stirling, Roy Barcroft, James Craven, Bud Geary, Mary Moore. Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet & Fred C. Brannon.

   Back in the mid-60s someone got hold of a bunch of Serials from the ’40s, cut them down to 90 Minutes (from their original four hour plus running time!) and sold them to TV as feature films. D-Day on Mars is the thus truncated version of The Purple Monster Strikes, an early Republic Serial, and it’s actually pretty good with lots of well-staged fights and nifty cliff-hangers.

   Veteran Heavy Roy Barcroft plays a Martian, come to Earth to steal the plans and prototype for a new Space Rocket so he can go back to Mars, build a mess of ’em and conquer Earth. (Warning!) He doesn’t make it. (End of Warning!)

   As usual in these things, he ties up with a Gangster and they go around stealing or trying to steal Annihilator Beams, Rocket fuel, Magneto-Sensors and whatever else the writers decided they’d fight over that week, and of course Hero Dennis Moore keeps getting in rock’em sock’em slug-feats with the hood and his men.

   For some reason, they almost always fight in groups of three – Maybe it was Union Rules or Family Pride: I see the Stunt-Men saying to the Producer, “We Don’ work ’less-a Tony work-a too.” Whatever the case, in each chapter, there’s a face-off, someone gets the drop on someone else, the gun gets knocked out of his hand and everybody throws punches, furniture and each other around for several minutes until the bad guys get away.

   After awhile, this gets a bit redundant, but this one’s mostly fun, with inventive stunt-work and some nice comic-bookish sets and costumes.