Battle in Outer Space (1961)

Rating:

aka The World of Space (Uschia Dei Senso)

Japan. 1961.

Crew

Director – Ishiro Honda, Screenplay – Shinichi Sekizawa, Based on the Novel by Jotaro Okami, Producer – Tomoyuki Tanaka, Photography – Hajime Koizumi, Music – Akira Ifukube, Special Effects – Eiji Tsuburaya, Art Direction – Teruyaki Ando. Production Company – Toho

Cast

Ryo Ikebe (Dr Kotsumiya), Kyoko Anzai (Ersuko), Leonard Stanford (Dr Roger Richardson), Koreya Senda (Professor Adachi), Harold Conway (Dr Immerman), George Whyman (Roger), Elise Richter (Sylvia)


Plot

In 1965, Earth is suddenly attacked by aliens from the planet Natal who cause mass devastation with an anti-gravity ray and via sabotage caused by mind-controlled humans. Humanity launches two rocketships to attack the alien beachhead on the Moon but the mission is endangered by one of the crew who has been taken over by the aliens.


Battle in Outer Space was a follow-up of sorts to The Mysterians (1957), a colourful and popular alien invasion space opera from the Japanese studio Toho and director Ishiro Honda, who had previously had a big hit with Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954). Battle in Outer Space is probably a better film than The Mysterians, although is less well known.

Battle in Outer Space is an amazingly colourful piece of solidly juvenile space opera. It owes a clear lineage to Buck Rogers – indeed the special effects budget and amazingly colourful space battles would surely have made the directors of the original Buck Rogers (1939) serial green with envy. There is not a great deal more to Battle in Outer Space than lots of space battles but they are conducted with a sense of wonder and imaginative vigour. There are some marvellous raygun battles between flying saucers and lunar tanks. The climax is a grand mass destruction finale in the Japanese tradition, albeit one that seems to have borrowed from Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) in its blowing up recognizable world landmarks. The film and its marvellously colourful space battles could not have helped but be an influence on George Lucas and Star Wars (1977).

Ishiro Honda’s other genre films include:- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954), Gigantis the Fire Monster/Godzilla Raids Again/The Return of Godzilla (1955), Rodan the Flying Monster (1956), The Mysterians (1957), The H-Man (1958) about creatures that can dissolve, the Yeti film Half-Human (1958), Varan the Unbelievable (1958), Gorath (1962) about a rogue planet, King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962), Mothra (1962), Atragon (1963) about a super-submarine, Attack of the Mushroom People/Matango, Fungus of Terror (1963), Godzilla vs the Thing/Mothra vs Godzilla (1964), Dagora the Space Monster (1964), The Human Vapor (1964) about a gaseous villain, Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Monster Zero/Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965), War of the Gargantuas (1966), King Kong Escapes (1967), Destroy All Monsters (1968), Godzilla’s Revenge (1969), the submarine adventure Latitude Zero (1969), Yog – The Monster from Outer Space (1970) and Terror of Mechagodzilla/Monsters from an Unknown Planet (1976).



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