Planet Outlaws

January 1, 2013 at 11:55 pm (5 Heads, Planet Outlaws) (, , , )

Planet Outlaws – 1953 – United States

Planet Outlaws is a 1953 reedit of the 1939 Buck Rogers serial. The serial was reedited twice more into Destination Saturn (1965) and Buck Rogers (1977). The serial contains clips from Just Imagine (1930) and props from Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938). Obviously Universal Pictures had an excellent understanding of the idiom “bang for the Buck”.

Great War dirigible pilot Buck Rogers and his sidekick Buddy inhale “Nirvano Gas” while exploring the North Pole. They enter suspended animation until 25th century scientists discover them. Buck Rogers is soon embroiled in a rebellion against Killer Kane, crime boss and ruler of Earth. Befriending a Saturnian Prince, Buck Rogers leads Saturn’s space fleet in the war versus Killer Kane

Planet Outlaws is chock-full of rollicking action. Since the flick is a condensed serial, there isn’t a single reflective moment. The outmoded sci-fi gadgetry is charming too. There are anti-gravity belts, brainwashing helmets, cloaking rays, and remote-controlled planes. The spaceship interiors look like submarines, complete with oversized levers, valves, and periscopes.

Serials were produced fast and cheap, a fact made apparent by Buck Rogers. It’s confined to a few sets, and shots of firework-shooting spaceships are reused constantly. Nonetheless, Planet Outlaws captures the enchanting optimism of an era when folks were still hopeful about the future. Modern sci-fi’s dystopian visions are utterly cynical in comparison.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. Pay attention to the pro-UFO wraparound scenes. The truth is out there, and it’s totally groovy!

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