Spacemaster X-7 (1958)

Rating:

USA. 1958.

Crew

Director – Edward Bernds, Screenplay – Daniel Mainwaring & George Worthing Yates, Producer – Bernard Glasser, Photography (b&w) – Brydon Baker, Music – Josef Zimanich. Production Company – Regalscope

Cast

Lyn Thomas (Laura Greeling), Bill Williams (John Hand), Robert Ellis (Private Joe Radigan), Paul Frees (Dr Charles T. Pommer), Moe Howard (Ravinger)


Plot

The rocketship Spacemaster X-M712 returns from Mars with a collection of samples. Dr Charles Pommer determines that these are made up of ganglionic brain tissue and are capable of rapidly producing spores. At the same time, Pommer is engaged in a bitter custody dispute over a child he has fathered with married Laura Greeling. Pommer then becomes infected by the spores and dies. John Hand of the Office of Internal Security begins a massive manhunt for Laura as she tries to flee back to her husband in Honolulu, not wanting him to know anything about her visit to Pommer. All the while however, she is spreading the alien fungi.


Spacemaster X-7 is a peculiar entry in the 1950s B-budget alien invader stakes. It is often slapped with the alien invader film label – one suspects by people who have not seen it – but it is more of a Typhoid Mary chase film. After some not very convincing scenes of what look like porridge-coated plastic spread out over a lab, the alien is largely forgotten about and the film turns into a hard-boiled 1950s detective drama, adopting the didactic narration, hard-boiled characterisations and documentary style of the hit contemporary tv show Dragnet (1951-9).

Unfortunately, Spacemaster X-7 is not very good. The direction – from Edward [L.] Bernds who made other such cheapies in the era (see below), as well as various Bowery Boys and Three Stooges comedies – is pedestrian and dull. The film looks cheap – there is a laughable effects shot of a model Jeep being burnt by the scientific team. The plot never deigns to explain why scientist Paul Frees is blackmailing housewife Lyn Thomas. It almost seems as though the explanation of this had been censored – something to do with him blackmailing her over an unwed child she had to him and he is preventing her from seeing. One of the oddities of the film is also a minor appearance from former Three Stooges member Moe Howard as a hard-headed cab driver.

Edward L. Bernds’ other genre films include:- The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters (1955), Bowery to Bagdad (1955), Jungle Gents (1956), World Without End (1956), Queen of Outer Space (1958), Return of the Fly (1959), Valley of the Dragons (1961), The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962) and The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962).



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