Russian film (1962; vt Planet of Storms; vt Storm Planet; vt Cosmonauts on Venus). Leningrad Studio of Popular Science Films. Directed by Pavel Klushantsev. Written by Alexander Kazantsev, Klushantsev. Cast includes Kyunna Ignatova, Gennadi Vernov, Vladimir Yemelyanov and Georgi Zhonov. 85 minutes, cut to 74 minutes. Colour.
Cosmonauts land on Venus, accompanied by a robot that plays dance music (thus proving that funny Robots are not peculiar to US Cinema). A well-paced adventure story follows as they search for intelligent life. In an interestingly realized alien landscape they encounter Dinosaurs, dangerous plants and a volcanic eruption, but the sole intelligent Venusian appears only at the end, watching unnoticed as the crew departs. By Western standards the film is a little slow and overtalkative (long conversations between the ground crew and the woman controlling the command ship), but it is always watchable. The best Russian sf film until the 1970s, it is, like other Russian sf films of the period – Nebo Zovyot (1959; vt The Sky Calls; vt The Heavens Call) and Mechte Navstrechu (1963; vt A Dream Come True; vt Encounter in Space) – stronger on production design than on plot.
Much footage from the Venus sequences was used in a Roger Corman production, Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965), which includes new US material written and directed by John Sebastian (pseudonym of Curtis Harrington), starring Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue, but is little more than a partial remake. Planeta Bur footage was used again in Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968; vt Gill Woman), also a Corman production, along with new material directed by Peter Bogdanovich (in his directorial debut), starring Mamie Van Doren and Mary Park. The new feature here was the inclusion of telepathic Venusian women who send the crash-landed astronauts home again. [JB]
see also: Russia.
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