The Cosmic Man    /     The Flying Saucer    /    Stranger From Venus

Look up to the stars... for we are not alone! First The Cosmic Man arrives in a strange spherical spaceship. Is he here to destroy the world or bring it peace? Humanity stands in the balance in this powerful and engaging sci-fi saga with John Carradine, inspired by The Day the Earth Stood Still. Then a Stranger From Venus has the power of life and death at his touch, and Academy Award-winner Patricia Neal is a woman caught up in the biggest event in history in this touching and haunting story of "first contact" with a peaceful and advanced intelligence from another planet. Finally, America and Russia race against the clock in a thrill-packed contest to capture The Flying Saucer hidden in the uncharted, avalanche-prone wastelands of Alaska. After experiencing these three fantastic tales of Cold War-era visitors from another world, you'll never look through a telescope the same way again!

****

Well, lets not kid ourselves - kindly referring to them as B-pictures helps disguise how really poor they are. These are just plain old bad, frugally made films... but fortunately I have a real soft spot for weak cinema of both the sci-fi and noir variety. I suppose it is the strong atmospheric elements that are so easily implied. Some people bond this way to the horror genre.

The come-on to the set is probably the Patricia Neal Stranger From Venus (originally shown on television) but be prepared that this is no The Day the Earth Stood Still .  I suppose if you, like I, are keen on the genre then throwing in one of these films on a rainy Sunday afternoon is paramount to an excessively enjoyable family viewing. These films have some depth behind their plots but the limited production dollars seem to easily cloak our receptiveness. But it's the 50's - full of innocence and blossoming social acknowledgement of our human limitations and possible existence that we aren't the smartest bunch if we include the vastness of space. 'Keep Watching the Skies' is an apt title for the package - illuminating the prevalent paranoia and fear of any potentially invading ideology - being of this world or another. Some supplements on the DVDs would have been nice but you can't fight the price - you save a bundle from buying together rather than individually. To me watching this is nirvana... and I, of course, recommend!

Gary Tooze

 

Directed by Herbert S. Greene
USA 1959

 

  John Carradine heads the cast of this largely inconsequential 1950s B-move as the titular being who lands in Los Angeles, holes up at a local lodge and baffles the military with his true intentions - is he friendly or a genuine threat to the planet? To be honest, you'll soon cease to care. The film was made on the back of such sci-fi successes as The Day the Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Planet. Carradine's performance as the strange newcomer gives this a limited curiosity, but The Cosmic Man pales in comparison with many of its 1950s peers.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: February 17th, 1959

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DVD Review: Image Entertainment (3-disc) - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Package includes The Cosmic Man / The Flying Saucer and Stranger From Venus

   

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Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:12:45 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.32 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: February 21st, 2006

Double thick transparent keep case
Chapters: 14

 

 

Comments:

Probably my favorite of the 3 films in the package (despite the unanimous panning). The DVD image is quite acceptable considering. Although acting and dialogue are quite weak I still enjoyed the plot. The menus have some motion and at least they throw in a trailer making it the production gem of the box set. I consider this a typical 50's low-grade sci-fi film with plenty of flaws but it appears as though they were doing the best they could with the budget they had. It held my interest.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Directed by Mikel Conrad
USA 1997

 

  The CIA sends playboy Mike Trent (actor/director Mikel Conrad) to the untamed beauty of Alaska with agent Vee Langley, posing as his "nurse," to investigate flying saucer sightings. At first, installed in a hunting lodge, the two play in the wilderness. But then they sight a saucer. Investigating, our heroes clash with an inept gang of Soviet spies, also after the saucer's otherworldly secrets for militarily advantage.

*****

Theatrical Release: January 4th, 1950

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DVD Review: Image Entertainment (3-disc) - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Package includes The Cosmic Man / The Flying Saucer and Stranger From Venus

   

CLICK to order from:

Also available individually here:

          

Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:14:54 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.16 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none

DVD Release Date: February 21st, 2006

Double thick transparent keep case 
Chapters: 14

 

 

Comments:

Probably the weakest of the three DVDs in the package - the image has prominent contrast boosting which can intensify damage marks and hairline scratches. No subtitles again and occasionally inconsistent audio mark this, with the film, as probably the 'black sheep' of the box set. As far as the film goes - the lingering flirtations and barren landscapes take prominence over any solid sci-fi action. It is not a bad premise but it doesn't unfold with enough tension.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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(aka 'Immediate Disaster' or 'The Venusian')

Directed by Burt Balaban
UK / USA 1954

 

  Shades of The Day the Earth Stood Still punctuate this intriguing British B-picture starring Dantine as the Venusian whose mission to help earthlings properly manage their newfound knowledge of atomic power is scuppered by his burgeoning romance with earthling Susan North (Neal), and some sneaky governmental types who want to steal the secrets of his technologically superior home planet. A small, interesting effort, but its attempts to make any serious points about the acceptance of outsiders don't really work, while the special effects, such as they are, look (understandably) dated. Still, sci-fi completists will probably be quite content.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

Poster

Television Premiere: January 18th, 1954

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Image Entertainment (3-disc) - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Package includes The Cosmic Man / The Flying Saucer and Stranger From Venus

   

CLICK to order from:

Also available individually here:

               

Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:14:30 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none

DVD Release Date: February 21st, 2006

Double thick transparent keep case 
Chapters: 14

 

 

Comments:

Well, what is not to like here? An alien from another world cannoodling with sultry Patricia Neal, head-scratching intellectuals, government intervention!... yes, someone was liberally borrowing from The Day The Earth Stood Still. Although a bit of a dirty print the image is acceptably sharp. There is some boosting but shadow detail, especially in natural light, seems unaffected. It has moments of pretty good clarity and I doubt anyone could expect more - ditto for the film.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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DVD Package includes The Cosmic Man / The Flying Saucer and Stranger From Venus

   

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

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