WILD, WILD PLANET (Criminali della galassia, I)

(director: Antonio Margheriti (Anthony Dawson); screenwriters: Renato Moretti/Ivan Reiner; cinematographer: Riccardo Pallottini; editor: Otello Colangeli; music: Angelo Francesco Lavagnino; cast: Tony Russel (Mike Halstead), Lisa Gastoni (Lt. Connie Gomez), Massimo Serato (Dr. Nurmi), Franco Nero (Jake), Charles Justin (Ken), Vittorio Bonos (Dr. Delfos, dwarf), Umberto Raho (General Maitland), Aldo D’Ambrosio (Dr Anton Fryd); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Joseph Fryd/Antonio Margheriti; MGM; 1965-Italy-dubbed in English)

“A terrible film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This MGM schlocky sci-fi B-film was made in Italy and dubbed in English. Italian director Antonio Margheriti (“Castle of Blood”/”Vengeance”) used the pseudonym of Anthony Dawson to Anglicize his name. The alien abduction tale goes for high-camp and that Flash Gordon look, but is such a loser that its nonsense tale never amounts to more than a robotic romp in outer space and misses the fun in the Flash serials by light years.

The story is set in the future–2015; the uniform of the day is some kind of bland pajamas look; the slave of the day is an android; the transportation system is built around a monorail in a cityscape setting, as the travelers fly around in cars with fins hanging from wires. The plot centers around mini-skirted women (a homage to 1960s pop-culture) with enormous strength, accompanied by robotic bald-headed men in dark wraparound sunglasses and black rainslickers that conceal four sets of arms, who shrink people into miniaturized humans and then tote them in suitcases. They are given their marching orders by a deranged genius scientist, Dr. Nurmi (Massimo Serato), an executive in the powerful corporation of CBM, who looks constipated and has the presence of someone who already has swallowed the Kool-Aid. Nurmi is kidnapping the leading citizens of Earth in order to genetically create a perfect human master race, as well as to graft one side of his and the perfect woman, Lt. Connie Gomez’s (Lisa Gastoni), a judo instructor, bodies’ together (using the perfect qualities of each to make the ideal single perfect human being).

The film opens as Nurmi is experimenting on some human organs and United Democracies Space Commander Mike Halstead (Tony Russel), the film’s gallant but dumb-ass hero looks on with disapproval at the experiment’s ethics. The two leave the top-secret lab at the space station Gamma 1 and enter an exercise room where Lt. Connie Gomez, communication and code control officer for the United Democracies, is gleefully tossing around some military looking men with judo moves. One of those tossed around is Jake (Franco Nero), who loves flirting with the snippy Connie but is a rookie who is very loyal to boss Halstead. Nurmi upon meeting the flippant Connie crudely makes a date with her, not caring a lick if she’s Halstead’s squeeze and he’s still present. Halstead tells Nurmi she’s the perfect woman. Behind Halstead’s back Nurmi seduces Connie to join him on the planet Delphos for a vacation. That’s the spot where the mad scientist carries out his shrinking experiments. As reports come back of some 6,000 mysterious abductions a day, Halstead is given a new assignment by the authorities of the United Democracies to go after the kidnappers. The Commander’s first big clue comes about at the failed abduction of Dr. Fryd, who is able to tell him something about the kidnappers. As the investigation wears on, Halstead starts putting the pieces of the puzzle together and goes after Nurmi and comes to the rescue of Connie.

This is a terrible film anyway you cut it, as it knocks itself out with an unintelligent plot and lame acting and concludes on a listless note.

The Wild, Wild Planet Poster