24 October 2011

QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE/1958/ZSA ZSA GABOR

QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE

1958/Director: Edward Bernds/Writers: Charles Beaumont, Ben Hecht

Cast: Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eric Fleming, Dave Willock, Laurie Mitchell, Lisa Davis, Paul Birch, Patrick Waltz

Producer of many cheesy sci-fi yarns Walter Wanger had just finished serving a four month prison sentence for shooting his wife’s (Joan Bennet) suspected lover in the leg and crotch – only four months since he successfully pleaded temporary insanity -when he began to put together this project based on a story by Ben Hecht. Hecht’s original story was more of a farce but Wanger wanted it the story to be more serious and turned the production over to Ben Schwalb for some reason. Schwalb had worked for Sam Katzman on some Bowry boy episodes and director Edward Bernds had done some Three Stooges films. I guess that is way Queen of Outer Space is sort of an odd little story at best. Many of the props and costumes seem to be left-overs from other sci-fi films – Forbidden Planet, World Without End, Flight to Mars – and the actors are playing it pretty straight but it is a cheese fest from the get go.

The film follows a story line that had already become familiar in previous sci-fi films and that is an adventure built around a group of male astronauts stranded on a planet of beautiful Amazon type women. The women are usually sexually frustrated and really seem to like Earthmen from the USA the best. Crew includes Eric Fleming and Paul Birch and the queen is Laurie Mitchell and her rival is prima donna Zsa Zsa Gabor. Story has it that Gabor was so difficult to work with that Ben Schwa wound in the hospital from stress and ulcers. Action takes place on Venus and there is a great spider in the cave sequence that usually accompanies these space maiden films. The color is nice and while the story drags for the most part it is worth the moments when the dialog gets really strange and to see the maidens drooling over the earth guys. The scene at the end where a flock of vivacious Venusian girls are pawing over an ecstatic Paul Birch sums it all. Fans of  super cheezy sci-fi will love it.

No comments:

Post a Comment