Phantom Planet (1961)

“The Phantom Planet” is well worth watching: not because it’s a great movie, but because it’s not a great movie. Unlike the great movies, it never steps out of its box, and as such it’s an amazing piece of social, cultural and cinematic history.

Watching the movie is like watching an undiscovered episode of the original “Star Trek.” We have a rocket being pulled off course by a strange phenomenon; we have special effects of the most functional and basic kind; we have a strange planet populated by earthlike (albeit small) people, whose strengths and weaknesses are allegories of human strengths and weaknesses; we have a series of curvaceous women, a brash young man and an elderly wise leader in the alien society; we have a brawny hero who alternates between fighting, courting and moralizing.

Readers Comments (6)

  1. I agree 100 percent with your synopsis: this is just like an original Star Trek episode. Just as good. Which to me, is pretty darn good – having grown up watching the original on t.v. (and no, it was not cable).

  2. Say, I am getting a little confused!! I’ve been watching movies on your site for years using windows and linux without a problem. Here in the recent months I’ve started experiencing a strange phenomenon where at some random stage in the movie the video will freeze!! Audio is unaffected, but the picture stays on the same frame until the end of the movie. I have tried to change os’s with no change of behavior. Do you have any ideas??

    • I sent you an email about this. I don’t know. Nothing seems odd here.

    • I agree somewhat with the comments. This is another I saw on the big screen at the movies… my take was ‘other dimensions in space’… something like the 4th or even a 5th dimension… that we cannot see nor sense or feel. More like “One Step Beyond” (to me) than Star Trek. The monsters look like giant two legged dogs. Still, how could you NOT have empathy for the ‘couple’ at the end?

  3. I just watched this movie again last summer. It’s on a loop I’ve set up of movies and old TV shows I downloaded from this site several years ago. I found it to be an entertaining kind of corny. Hard to believe all the technological advances that were made in the 5 years between this and Star Trek and the decade leading up to Star Wars. I always enjoy watching what Hollywood THOUGHT the near future was going to be like and what actually did happen. Like shows from the 50’s and early 60’s that showed the future up to 1999 with the cast still wearing 1950’s styles. I think it’s a hoot that it never seemed to occur to the people creating these shows that modesty and good taste were going to take a backseat to $$’s long before the 1980’s even began. AND it’s even better when the shows are B&W. I always liked it when I was able to use my own imagination throughout the viewing. It always made the endings worth looking forward to.

    Thanks Kevin for making Retrovision possible. I appreciate it. And I love you for it. Have yourself a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  4. 54 years and we haven’t even come up with rocket boots.

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