vhs or dvd (stunning) (dvd in NTSC format only)
Commander Kit Draper and Colonel Dan McReady are orbiting Mars in an exploritory surveyor. A malfunction forces them to eject with only Draper and a monkey named Mona surviving. Draper must learn to survive in this hostile environment fighting thirst, hunger and even hostile aliens if he expects to see home again.
- Give This Sci-Fi Classic A Video Re-Release NOW!
On an outerspace mission in orbit around the planet Mars, two astronauts, Cmdr. Chris Draper (Paul Mantee) & Col. Dan McCready (Adam West), along with their pet monkey Mona, are forced out of orbit to avoid collision with an approaching meteor, and are then forced to abandon ship and land on the red planet itself using their respective escape capsules. Draper lands safely, but McCready's landing goes awry and he is killed.
Although devastated by McCready's death, Draper is very happy to discover Mona The Monkey miraculously alive amongst the wreckage of McCready's capsule, and he scoops her up in his arms. With only Mona for company---and with his air supply running out---Draper begins his adventure, fighting for survival while stranded all alone on the red planet....
"Robinson Crusoe On Mars" has always been one of my favorite movies ever since I first saw it on TV as a child. This is a wonderfully entertaining film, and it proves that a little inspired imagination can go a LONG way. Okay, so the film was made on an obviously low budget, as the visual effects are not of the "Star Wars" variety. And yes, the film's cast only consists of three men & a monkey (and the most famous cast member, Adam West, has only two scenes!). And it also can't be denied that Draper's eventual discoveries of air, food and water on Mars is pure 100% fiction.
But nevermind any of that---as a purely fictional tale, "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" greatly succeeds. What this particular variation on the "Robinson Crusoe" story has in big abundance is an intriguing story, beautiful photography (with the rocky landscapes of Death Valley, California playing the role of Mars for a good portion of the film), and excellent performances by Paul Mantee as Cmdr. Draper, and Victor Lundin as the big, kind-hearted alien slave that the stranded astronaut eventually meets, takes under his wing, and appropriately names Friday.
For the first half of the film, "Crusoe" is primarily a one-man show, and it's up to Paul Mantee to carry the film's first act virtually all alone (though the monkey is constantly with him). But Mantee is more than up to the challenge. Whether he's talking into his "diary" tape recorder about his daily survival, interacting with Mona (and later on with Friday), or in the various scenes where he struggles to survive (such as his oxygen tank running low, or the powerful scene where he has a bad dream one night about a silent McCready visiting him in his Martian cave), Mantee gives us a strong, courageous astronaut we can care about.
In an equally strong supporting role, Victor Lundin is perfectly cast as the quiet, kind-hearted Friday. The two men eventually develop a great bond, and Mantee & Lundin's chemistry is a pleasure to see. Although Adam West's role as Col. McCready isn't much more than a cameo, it's still very nice to see him playing a role that ISN'T Batman for a change. And Mona The Monkey is an adorable presence in the film, as she's far and away the cutest monkey in the history of cinema.
I'm astounded that "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" was only released on video once in 1994---and only on laserdisc. Although I'm happy that "Crusoe" still gets played on TV every so often, I think it's a HUGE mistake that this marvelous sci-fi film is not available on tape or DVD at this time (my own VHS copy of "Crusoe" is a copy from a friend who taped it off TNT one afternoon). I pray for the day when the movie company that distributed "Crusoe" finally wake up, and make this film available on video again. "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" is TOO GOOD a film to just leave forever stuck in TV re-runs. It's a sci-fi classic, it's great entertainment for the whole family, and it deserves a home video re-release NOW.
And while we're at it, how about a RE-MAKE of this great movie as well? Russell Crowe as Cmdr. Draper, and Sylvester Stallone as Friday....I'm telling ya, it could work! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for any TV re-runs of "Robinson Crusoe On Mars," and goshdarnit, HAVE YOUR VCR READY. No doubt about it, this wonderful gem of a movie deserves an honored place in every sci-fi fan's video library.
- A Childhood Favorite
What can I say. This movie will never be known for its' refinement. Marginal acting (one- man shows are always painful for me to watch); monotonous musical score (three or four notes, tops); and crude special effects (probably state-of-the-art back then). We won't even go into the scientific accuracy. BUT... It will always be one of my favorites because I loved it as a child! War of the Worlds (1953), too. Every week, I'd search the TV guide to see when these movies would air on TV (usually very late at night). With Mars being closer than it has been in the last 60,000 years, I'll break out my LaserDisc copy and watch it again, along with War of the Worlds. Somehow I doubt my sophisticated kids will appreciate these movies as much as I did!
Maybe, some day, Robinson Crusoe on Mars will be available on DVD. Surely it is worthy enough to be immortalized in that medium, considering the volumes and volumes of far greater tripe that has been already.
- He wasn't a real Martian
When my brother and sisters and I were little, our aunt dropped us all off to see "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" at the movies. I was watching intently when there was an elbow in my ribs. I turned to my brother, who was about 10 years old, and he said, "That's not a real Martian." I asked him why not. He said, "He has a smallpox vaccination scar on his arm."
- A Sci-Fi Classic you'll watch over and over
With Mars making its closest approach to Earth on August 26/27, 2003, this is a good film to pop in the VCR (if you're lucky to own an out-of-print copy).
First saw this science fiction cult film like many here, on late-night TV. Was very fortunate to see a theater screening last year in Hollywood (the two main actors, Paul Mantee and Vic Lundin were there to recall their 'making of' experiences - such as: monkey astronaut Mona was actually performed by a male spider monkey named Barney).
For anyone who ever dreamed or imagined of being an astronaut, exploring (and surviving) a planet like Mars, this is one movie you will watch over and over. The acting is just excellent; the musical score by Van Cleave is superb; and the Death Valley scenery (simulating the harsh Mars landscape) is sublimely beautiful.
Why Paramount or someone else has not released this onto DVD yet is a mystery. It is a genuine and underrated classic of the genre.
- A fun Film.
This little seen film is good. Bearing in mind that it was made in 1963-64, the special effects, story line and the setting are great.There are a few flaws but overall it holds up well. A lot of the ideas from it were taken for Red Planet. It is a fun film to watch, and brings back a time when films were fun and exciting and not full of overpaid talent, over blown effects or violence. It was made when the space program was in it's early years, we really did not know what the surface of Mars or it's atmosphere was like. It can be watched by all ages. Remember that movies are supposed to be fun.
- My Monkey Friday
This is one of my favorite movies from the sixties. It is great for non SciFi fans as well as those that enjoy the genre. Men and Women alike find it entertaining. And since the violence is very minimal it is great for the whole family. Although not a true Robinson Crusoe story it has all the similar flavor to that great book by Defoe. This was not a movie with a large budget so those that appreciate the detailed work that goes into movies like this will be pleasantly surprised. The acting, sets, and music are exceptional considering what they had to work with. The director should be very proud of this little gem. If you like reality shows you should find this even more to your liking. A lone spacer must survive the harsh conditions of the unforgiving planet Mars. Beyond all odds he manages to survive and rescue a monkey and a slave. Don't miss this one. Unfortunately it is not available on VHS or DVD so you will have to catch it on TV.
- Great Science Fiction
A man stranded on a barren planet by himself. Well maybe not. In fact Mars turns out to be a busy place. A cleverly written story. Well acted, and very well done for it's time. I only wish this film was available on DVD. If you see this film in the TV schedule take time to watch it, you won't be disappointed.
- Classic little SF gem
This movie, barely promoted by Paramount back in 1964, has acquired over the years a cult following, mostly by men who remember seeing it when boys. I first saw this film on TV in the 60s when I was a kid. The first half is very good, once you suspend disbelief because we know know that Mars has little atmosphere and a human can't survive in the open on the surface. But given that, the first part of the film may remind some of the beginning of a better known SF film, "Planet of the Apes." This film came first though. Directed by Byron Haskin and shot by Winton C. Hoch, the location shooting in Death Valley is excellent, aided by a fine score by Nathan Van Cleave, as we follow the stranded astronaut's struggle to survive. But the film somewhat falls apart in the second half as aliens in unconvincing costumes and spaceships borrowed from Haskin's earlier film "War of the Worlds" (the budget was very limited) are introduced and the focus of the film shifts. Still the movie remains enjoyable at its own level. The lead actor, Paul Mantee, actually reminds you of the original Mercury astronauts, and he's very good. The other actor, Vic Lundin, playing the alien "Friday" (referring to the Defoe classic) has a much harder job pulling off his part, but he manages well. And Mona the wholly monkey will keep the kids entertained. A very good movie that's worth checking out. But there's the problem. It rarely shows up on TV, and then in awful pan&scan. I have a wonderful Criterion laserdisc of it that was released in the early '90s that presents the movie as it should be seen, but now we're in the era of DVD and why Paramount hasn't released this movie yet is a source of great frustration to SF fans. I'm just glad I have the laserdisc.
Complete credited cast:
Paul Mantee .... Cmdr. Christopher 'Kit' Draper
Victor Lundin .... Friday
Adam West .... Col. Dan McReady
Runtime: 110 min
Color: Color (Technicolor)