Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Director: Byron Haskin
Year Released: 1964
Rating: 2.0

… Because honestly, what's the difference between stranded on an island with a slave or, you know, in outer space with only a monkey and a recording device to talk to? Doesn't quite play out as badly as it might sound, with its brilliant usage of the Death Valley topography - plus, the Defoe story is still a potent statement on the need for companionship (except this adds yet another obstacle to overcome: the need for oxygen). Still, the kitsch becomes excessive in the last act with stingray-shaped enemy aircraft (which look like cardboard cutouts) zipping by every couple of minutes, making obnoxious noises. The Buñuel version of the story is arguably the most fascinating screen adaptation of the tale, with its dominant performances and buried politics. My suggestion for another literary classic set in the intergalactic realm: Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs on Venus. Get to it, screenwriters!