Devil Girl From Mars (1954) DVD.

It’s a journey back in time, way back to 1954, for this British B-movie, ‘Devil Girl From Mars’, and you might ask the question why it was dredged up from the depths of obscurity? Well, it has actually quite a lot going for it even though, to all intents and purposes, it’s a load of nonsense. I shudder to think that I could have been in the movie myself but, thankfully, I would have been too young to remember the experience although, trying to place myself back in the early 50s to view this as it would have been at that time, it was probably a rather novel event. People were more naive in many respects, certainly where technology is concerned but, as a result of the recent war, they were a lot harder, mentally and physically than we are today.


What would have been rather risqué was the sight of Patricia Laffan, a sexy but cold glamorous woman, in black tights with vinyl clad outfit carrying a ray gun. Travelling all the way from the planet Mars in a white hot flying saucer, she decided to land in a remote area of Highland Scotland. Before arriving, we become acquainted with the occupants of a small hotel. Many will recognise John Laurie, later to become one of the stalwarts of ‘Dad’s Army’ and also Adrienne Corri and Hazel Court who both appeared in many Hammer horror movies. Introduced gradually, we see the middle-aged couple running the hotel, the young woman helper and her son, plus a somewhat curious glamorous woman, a scientist, a reporter plus an escaped convict, ostensibly a murderer. Once familiarised with the characters, we see the flying saucer appear and everything is changed forever!

Why has the Martian woman decided to visit such a remote location? It is explained later that her very advanced society underwent a war between the sexes, man fighting woman, until eventually women came out on top. Well, there’s nothing new in that! Happens all the time on Earth. Anyway, as a result of winning the war, they find themselves a little bit inconvenienced when it came to procreation. They actually needed men! So, with very few men on Mars, the next best place was our lovely little planet. For some strange reason, the Martians had to have the men come willingly and they seemed reluctant to follow. I imagine, in reality, thousands of men would be throwing themselves into the flying saucer!

As a part of an intimidation process, a huge robot is produced from the flying saucer. Controlled by a wand, it can vaporise buildings, trees and just about anything but this lumbering giant, a clumsy ridiculous affair, is more laughable than you can imagine. Nonetheless, back in 1954, it could have been frightening for small children. The devil Martianess had plans, once successful in rural Scotland, to attack London. Even at that time, it’s possible to imagine the robot and the flying saucer being blown to smithereens by the defence forces, sharpened by a recent war.

When it first appeared, the movie was supposed to be scary but now it has evolved into a comedy. With no real instance of fear emanating from the proceedings, we can now look at its antiquated shenanigans with derisory laughter, though it is also a good sociological study into a society that existed almost 60 years ago. I imagine that the majority of the actors are no longer with us and it’s more than likely that they acted with good faith and a certain amount of hilarity. I would definitely recommend the DVD to anyone who likes old black and white movies. For them, it’s one not to miss.

Rod MacDonald

September 2013

(Region 2: pub: Network B00B5RKIQI. 1 DVD 90 minute black and white film. Price: £ 7.75 (UK)
cast: Hugh McDermott, Joseph Tomelty, Adrienne Corri, Peter Reynolds and Hazel Court

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