In 1970, debris from the 1908 Tunguska "meteor" are found which turn out to be recordings from a spaceship crashed there. The ship's origin is determined to be Venus, and an international team sets out with their spaceship "Kosmokrator" to visit the "Silent Planet", which is shrouded in clouds, and doesn't respond to contact attempts. While the "Kosmokrator" is in flight, the record is decoded and it turns out that the Venusians seemingly planned to invade Earth in 1908. Should the "Kosmokrator" still attempt to get in touch with the Aliens? And why are they silent now?
Directed by: Kurt Maetzig
. Starring: Yôko Tani
, Oldrich Lukes
, Ignacy Machowski
, Julius Ongewe
, Michail N. Postnikow
, Kurt Rackelmann
, Günther Simon
, Hua-Ta Tang
, Lucyna Winnicka
, Klaus Bamberg
, Fredy Barten
, Christoph Beyertt
, Karl Brenk
. Music by: Andrzej Markowski
I hear a lot of people yearning for some mysterious original version of this film, which is supposed to last for around 4 hours or so. Well, DEFA has recently released an original version DVD, and it still runs for exactly 1 hour 30 minutes. If you think the English version was badly dubbed - be prepared for a treat of your lifetime. The multitude of actors (this word should be used in parentheses) who worked on this film, came from Germany, Russia, Poland, China, France (the Japanese actress is French) and Africa, and God only knows what mish-mash of languages they used on the set. It's all dubbed in German, in a sound booth that has the acoustics of a bucket, regardless whether the actors are in their space suites, in an Sound-of-Music-like mountain paradise, or fighting the boiling tar on Venus. Amazingly, the original version takes place in the year 1970, not 1985 as the version released in the US.
I can't really say anything redeeming about this over-lit, under-directed yarn. There's a bunch of extremely unexciting actor wannabes with the average age of somewhere around 55, who in real life would probably have hard times climbing the stairs to second floor, let alone flee from the living slime which at one point is supposed to be so sticky that the slightest drop glues the female to the floor, and which a minute later pours over the protagonists like a sea of mud (which it is) with no visible effect. Everything is shot in a rather small sound stage (as opposed to Russian sci-fi classic Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet), and how some viewers can deem this dermatine-plasticine world to be eerily alien, is far over my head. I remember the time when every Socialist coffee house had furniture like the "glass forest of Venus".
The way the director, the cameramen and the lighting crew have managed to neglect their tasks, is biblical. The scriptwriters probably just were somewhere else from the very beginning. The actors are quite often a real pain to behold, especially the black astronaut who probably was simply the only black man they had in East Germany, and who is so miserable, that the director, on his more sane moments, has wisely asked him to turn his back to the camera while delivering his dialog. Another horrible character is the TV-woman with her bedroom eyes (don't forget it's a 1959 Socialist bedroom), who covers the event globally on a live Intervision network. Then there are some excitingly unnecessary characters like Brinkmann's mother and Arsenjew's wife, who were cut from the first part of the film for US release, but for some inexplicable reason can be seen at the ending, thus making the whole mess even more perplexing.
Oh, and let's not forget the despicable, but unavoidable precious little robot, one of which you can unmistakably find in every 50s sci-fi flick, so you can marvel how it's cute little light bulbs start flashing frantically when it starts talking in a funny little voice! Even though it looks like a tiny toy tank, it manages to run over the stomach of a 7 foot Russian astronaut, thus giving the petite female surgeon excuse to undress the heroic male and operate on him to save his vitals (sorry, not shown!).
I find Stanislaw Lem one of the best writers in this genre, and that makes me wonder whether the fact that his name was used for this miserable screensoiler tormented him throughout his life.
Please don't waste your time on this film, otherwise you'll want to waste some more time to write a comment about how you wasted your time in the first place.
Review by Mart Sander from the Internet Movie Database.