Sunday, February 22, 2015

Queen of Outer Space (1958) - She Hates All Men

By Steve D. Stones

Even Zsa Zsa Gabor's Hungarian beauty cannot save this 1950s sci-fi clunker. Still, it's a fun little film to watch - if only to laugh at the cheap pastel colored sets, politically incorrect language about women and the fulfillment of every male's fantasy to live in a world only inhabited by pretty gals in short skirts carrying ray guns. Listen carefully for the cute gals saying over and over again - "Botchino! Botchino!"

Originally entitled "Queen of The Universe" and produced by Allied Artists (formerly Monogram Pictures), the film was not the first to employ the idea of men landing on a planet only inhabited by beautiful women. Cat Women of The Moon (1954), Fire Maidens of Outer Space (1956) and Missile To The Moon (1958) are others that use the same plot.

Opening sequences recycle stock footage from other Allied Artists films of the early 1950s - such as Flight To Mars (1951) and When Worlds Collide (1951). Costumes and props are also recycled from Forbidden Planet (1956). A giant rubber spider is used in a cave scene that bears a resemblance to other giant rubber spiders used in many sci-fi films of the era.

Four men travel to Space Station 8 to investigate reports of alien attacks on the station. While in route to the station, the four men crash land on the planet Venus, which is inhabited only by women. The lovely gals in mini skirts do not greet them with open arms. In fact, their Queen Yllana - played by Laurie Mitchell - hates all men and wants the unwelcomed males imprisoned and executed.

One of the men - played by tall, lean, chisel faced Eric Flemming (of TV's Rawhide) tries to charm Yllana so he can save himself and his men. The Queen plans to use her "beta-disintegrator" ray to destroy the earth. The beta-distintegrator is a machine with an atomic beam aimed at the earth - which looks made of cardboard and oversized Erector playsets. Even Ming The Merciless' atomic beam in Flash Gordon's Trip To Mars (1938) looked more convincing than this laughable "Beta-Disintegrator."

Talleah, played by Zsa Zsa Gabor, is a scientist who is part of a group that opposes the queen's hostile ways. It's tough enough for the viewer to be convinced of Gabor as a scientist with a Hungarian accent on Venus, but what's even more silly is the fact that Gabor's outfits change in every scene she is in. She leads a small revolt against the queen and teams up with the men.

Gabor and the men are eventually captured by the queen and forced to witness Yllana power up the beta disintegrator ray to destroy the earth. The ray has been sabotaged by Talleah's group, and it blows up with queen Yllana inside. A televised communication from earth informs the men that they cannot return home for a year or more. The film ends with each man smiling from ear to ear, happy to be stranded on a planet with lots of beautiful women.

Reports over the years have suggested that Laurie Mitchel and Zsa Zsa Gabor did not get along very well on and off the set of the film. Mitchell confirms that this report is not true on the audio commentary for the film on DVD. Mitchell says that Gabor liked to keep to herself and was very quiet and shy off camera. She also mentions that Gabor was very picky about wearing many of the dresses assigned to her character to wear on camera - in an attempt to protect her image as an actress.

For every student of bad cinema, particularly bad sci-fi films - Queen of Outer Space is a must. Don't miss it! Happy viewing! 

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