Sci-Fi Devil Girl from Mars (1954 England)

BudBrewster

Captain
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Location
North Carolina
An odd little cinematic gift from England — but don't take it too seriously.

The story is set in an isolated English inn where a flying saucer lands and surrounds the area in an invisible force field. From the spacecraft emerges a fifteen-foot-tall robot and an evil Martian woman who announces that the matriarchal Martian society has sent her to select Earth men for breeding purposes.



Bear in mind that this movie predates the first reported case of alien anal probing — which was in 1987 — by twenty three years. Pretty impressive, huh?

The Martian men have been subjugated ever since they lost a war with the women, and during the intervening centuries the males have grown weak and useless. (All of this is played absolutely straight by the cast. No cutesy sex jokes).

Bear in mind that this movie predates the Feminist Movement — which began in the mid-1960s — by ten years.

On the negative side — bogus scientific terms saturate Miss Laffan's dialogue. The robot looks entirely too much like a refrigerator with a police light for a head. With the exception of a few scenes, the entire film is shot on an indoor set, causing it to resemble the original stage production on which it was based (yes, a British sci-fi play).

On the positive side — the interior of the ship is nicely done, with effective use of lighting.





The concepts described by the bogus scientific dialogue are key elements in the plot — which means the viewer has to pay attention to keep up with what's going on.





The spacecraft doesn't look all that great in the air, but on the ground it's very impressive.



The scenes of the woman and the robot coming out of the huge spacecraft are flawlessly matted. The scenes of the robot's demonstration of its death ray are well done for their era.





On the negative side (again) — Patricia Lafffan (the Martian women) overacts outrageously, but her performance is still enjoyable, in spite of the fact that she is decidedly unattractive. Her shiny black outfit consists of boots, short skirt, black pantyhose, long cape, and black skullcap. That might sound sexy to some male readers, but the results just don't live up to the billing.



On the positive side (again) — The supporting players do a fine job, including the lovely Hazel Court.



Praiseworthy musical score by Edwin Astley. The story contains some good concepts. For example, the spacecraft is made of "organic metal" which repairs its own damage. Unfortunately we don't get any special effects depicting this marvel. In the final analysis, this one is more fun to watch than some of the more well-regarded sci-fi entries from both America and Britain.

Director David MacDonald had a tough row to hoe with this one. He deserves credit for what he did with material given to him.

Using Paint.net, I took a crack at modifying the robot to improve its design. The torso is too long and blocky, the legs are too short, and the head is too small.

I started with the first picture below and ended up with the second one.

By my count, there are six significant alterations. It took me a few hours to modify the robot's appearance and carefully "paint in" the highlights and shadows needed to accent the altered shapes in the torso.

You'll have to scroll up and down while comparing the two to spot all the changes. I'm hoping somebody will have fun listing them all. :cool:



 
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Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
I have to admit, @BudBrewster, you certainly do have a knack for coming up with stuff I haven't seen! (y)

I'm not sure about the main characters black vinyl costume but I agree with @Verna, the ship is pretty neat. I think it captures that literal "flying saucer" type design of the period quite well.

Netflix US has this on on DVD (Rent Devil Girl from Mars (1954) on DVD and Blu-ray - DVD Netflix) but not streaming. Amazon US though has it available for free streaming to Prime members and for DVD purchase (https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Girl-Mars-Patricia-Laffan/dp/6305772681).

From the Amazon description....
Nyah (Patricia Laffan) is a commander from Mars who is part of an alien team looking for Earth men to replenish the male population of her planet. Her space saucer is damaged when entering Earth’s atmosphere, and she is forced to land in the remote Scottish moors.

On Mars, the freedom of women led to open warfare between the sexes. The females won, but their victory lead to the sexual impotence of the planet's entire male population. So, Nyah spends her time in a Scottish bar where she makes threats toward the local women to give up their men.

Nyah entices one of the town’s men aboard her ship, Professor Hennessy (Joseph Tomelty), but the professor suggests that one of the other men at the inn volunteer to go back with her to Mars. A selfless volunteer agrees to go, with the intention of sabotaging the Devil Girl’s spacecraft after takeoff. Will his plan work and save the rest of the Earth’s male population? Watch this crazy science fiction film to see what happens to Nyah’s evil plans. This is a superb British cult film you can’t afford to miss!
Wasn't the Scottish moors also the setting for The Man from Planet X from the 1950's as well? I wonder if there is any relation between the two films or just a coincidence that two movies in the same time frame chose the foggy moors of Scotland as their backdrop.

The robot looks entirely too much like a refrigerator with a police light for a head.
Hey, now, don't forget our UK friends like big square looking boxes with police lights on top. ;) :tardis:
 
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