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Planeta Bur (1962) - Pavel Klushantsev

Related: 1962 - Russian cinema - Peter Bogdanovich - Roger Corman - American cinema - science fiction film

Planeta Bur (1962) - Pavel Klushantsev


Pavel Klushantsev and the moon

Sunday the 8th of august, on Dutch television NEDERLAND 1 (18.25: AVRO close-up), there will be a documentary about Pavel Klushantsev: the father of Russian Sci-Fi space-cinematography!

Note: Pavel Klushantsev was a true inventor, and he was the very first to show the techniques which were also used in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: a space odyssey" (extra vehicular activity (EVA), walking "upside down" in a wheel-shaped space station, etc...). Of course, for us moonobservers it's mr.Klushantsev's moon-related movies which are extremely worthwile to investigate! (perhaps his lunar landscapes are a bit "Chesley Bonestell-esque", but very interesting to look at!).

Danny's via http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lunar-observing/message/4764 [Dec 2005]

Planeta Bur (1962) - Pavel Klushantsev
The russian language version is rare, but well worth seeing. If you're really curious, you can see the American version which was retitled "Voyage to the prehistoric planet" and released in 1966. Back in the early 1960s, when this film was made, the Soviets had focused thier space program on Venus. In fact, they were the first to send probes into the atmosphere, land successfully, and return pictures from the surface. It's no wonder they were inspired to produce an extravagant adventure, based on the promise of thier exploration. The story is basic and straight forward, about an expedition to the planet Venus, but the science is flawed. They encounter oceans, flooding rains, and animal life. When this film was produced, we were just beginning to discover the truth about Venus. A surface temperature at the melting point of lead. A poisinous atmospere, with crushing pressure hundreds of times as heavy as ours. No water, or oxygen, and sulfuric acid in the clouds. If you're lucky enough to run across this film, forget all that, suspend you disbelief, and enjoy this rare classic gem. --http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056352/combined#comment [Dec 2005]

See also: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063790/

This was directed by Roger Corman; what else do you need to know? Astronauts visit Venus, which is inhabited by women wearing seashell bikinis, snug pants with flowing calf things that make them look mermaidish, and elaborate seashell necklaces remniscent of Madison's in Splash. They divide their time between lying on rocks in the ocean (heightening the mermaid imagery), communicating telepathically, eating raw fish, and worshipping a large rubber pterodactyl. Oh, and some of the astronauts can hear their siren song and others can't. There is never any real interaction between the astronauts and the Venusian mermaids. --http://belladonna.org/Gynotopia/gynomovies.html [Dec 2005]

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965) - Curtis Harrington
The first of two modified versions of a well-done Russian movie, filmed in 1962 under the title "Planeta Burg" ("Planet of Storms") by the Leningrad Studio of Popular Science Films. No kidding. --http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059887/combined#comment [Dec 2005]

Though its influence was indirect on such current filmmakers as James Cameron and the Skotak Brothers (in that they saw the two versions Corman made of it with inserts of American actors like Basil "Planet of Storms" Rathbone at the end of his career), it was the Soviet part of the efforts that captured their young imaginations. In other words, the production design and use of miniatures, as well as the overall effects photography. No joke, you can vividly see the influence in early Cameron pictures like GALAXY OF TERROR and THE TERMINATOR.

Many folks remember bits and pieces of these flicks despite the fact they've rarely if ever been aired in America since their Corman-ized release back in the late 60's. That's because they made the usual rounds as cheap syndicated fodder for late night local t.v. slots eager to use such sensational Planet of Storms sounding A.I.P. titles like ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE, et al. But it's a tribute to the Russian filmmakers who toiled in near obscurity that today these flicks are highly prized and sought after for their historic cinematic value. The value is not merely retrostalgic, but truly deserved, as these movies advanced SF cinema as surely as BLADE RUNNER and other more well-regarded efforts albeit in a less spectacular way. -- Notes by Dr. Heywood Floyd. via http://www.bijouflix.com/goods/bijou_store1vcd_PQ.htm [Dec 2005]

Discounting Kosmitchesky Reis (1935) for its heavy socialist-realism and Stalinism, Planeta Burg is the only truly well made and visually exciting Russian space travel film between Aelita (1924) and Solaris (1972), far better than the stodgy version of Efremov's classic story Tumannost Andromedy (1968). Three spacecraft set out for Venus, two arrive, one commanded by Caotain Masha (Ignatova) which remains in orbit and one that lands on the planet. The rest is a fast-paced adventure story, told with considerable humor, involving volcanic eruptions, giant animals and hostile plants. The sets are stunningly designed with outlandish color schemes rendering the uncanny alienness of the Venusian landscapes as well as the spectacular aspects of space travel itself. The appearance of a Venusian is wisely delayed to the very end, and even then only suggested as being "just like us". As in all popular space operas, there is a robot (called John) who occasionally goes out of control. Here he is given to talking gibberish and playing forties dance music, a more appropriate musical accompaniment to space fantasies than the monumentally majestic waltz of

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The result is the best straightfoward, unpretentious sf space travel movie made in the USSR.

As happened with Zeman's Cesta do Praveku (1955), an American producer, in this case Roger Corman, bought the film. Curtis Harrington and Peter Bogdanovich were hired to cannibalize large chunks of the Soviet film, which were dubbed and combined with newly shot material starring Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue. The results were released directly to tv as Voyage to a Prehistoric Planet (1965). Bogdanovich also used the Soviet footage for his tv film, Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1966), which had additional scenes with Mamie Van Doren and assorted bathing beauties. --http://www.csie.ntu.edu.tw/~ntucs82/PEOPLE/b2506017/sf/6r.html [Dec 2005]

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