User Reviews (84)

Add a Review

  • I actually found this to be a decent movie. Yeah it suffered from some silliness and goofy stuff like the scene where they space walk to repair their ship and their tool of choice? A wrench, ha!! However, from the point where the astronaut landed on the asteroid it was pretty good. The story was well written for the most part and the acting wasn't that bad. The girls were really cute and if i had landed there, id probably stay and enjoy myself!!! This truly played much like an episode from star trek, with another actor subbing for captain kirk. Some of the special effects on the asteroid were pretty decent, especially when the main character shrank in his space suit. The bad alien crashing rocks into his invisible prison out of frustration was pretty cool too, but the alien itself was kinda stupid looking. There were some genuinely touching scenes: the astronaut saying the Lord's Prayer while he floated helplessly doomed in space, and the final goodbyes there at the end. This was released in 1961 so maybe that explains why its a notch or two better than the typical fifties stuff. I actually enjoyed this one. I'm sure audiences in 1961 weren't let down. Heck they might have caught this one and The Three Stooges Meet Hercules at a drive in double feature. Cool!!!!
  • A friend gave me a cheapie DVD of this movie and I left it around the house for months, figuring that it would be a dud, remembering a picture spread on the movie in SPACEMEN, a great pre-Starlog SF movie prozine, possibly the first of the genre.

    Anyway, I remembered Dean Fredericks for his great portrayal of STEVE CANYON back in the 1950s, so what the heck, I ran it and was suitably surprised. In fact I sat back for the entire 82 minutes and actually ENJOYED it! Forgetting the weird asteroid-planet and Richard 'JAWS' Kiel in the monster suit, the cast performed credibly via a sound and at times quite good, in fact intelligent, script. The tight direction and excellent B/W photography, coupled with a number of extremely attractive girls, made the viewing experience worthwhile.

    Not recommended for young viewers due to the less-than special effects but for old-timers brought up on 50s SF, good entertainment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've seen Phantom Planet a couple of times now and is quite an enjoyable low-budget sci-fi.

    An astronaut lands on the planet Rheton and discovers everyone on it are much smaller than him and he shrinks to their size during his time here. He is greeted with hostility at first but they welcome him later. He then helps them to defeat their enemies, the Solorites, ugly monsters with pig-like heads. He succeeds but the one they have got captured on the planet escapes and starts going on the rampage until killed by the astronaut, who also falls in love with one of the girls. The astronaut then goes back to his own size and leaves, and is rescued by another ship.

    For a low-budget movie, this is not too bad even though it is unintentionally funny at times, especially the monsters.

    The cast includes Dead Fredericks, Collen Gray (The Leech Woman), Anthony Dexter and Francis X Bushman. The man in the monster suit (Solorite) is non other than Richard Kiel, Jaws in the Bond movies The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

    Phantom Planet is worth a look, especially for sci-fi fans. Great fun.

    Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
  • An astronaut finds himself stranded on an asteroid inhabited by intelligent lilliputian beings. Once our hero breaths the atmosphere, he shrinks to size of the asteroids inhabitants and gets involved in various court intrigues and an interplanetary war.

    Although I consider myself a completist of old science fiction movies, I only saw this film for the first time very recently. THE PHANTOM PLANET is one those of films thats pretty bad, but you wish you could like it more. To its credit, this film has the air of being made by people who were trying to make something a little different. The special effects -although obvious, are ambitious and elaborate. The writers appear to have tried to come up with a slightly unusual story line, but the film is over plotted and makes little use of the central gimmick. The dialog is lame and the acting is indifferent. A few scenes are of interest, such as when the tiny Rhetonites approach the giant astronaut and peer through his space helmet. Some shots of the rockets in space I thought looked attractive.

    THE PHANTOM PLANET is one of those films that I wish I could say more good thinks about. Its badness is anything but the result of cynical motivation, but the result of makers who ambitions far exceeded the skills of its makers to deliver
  • 'The Phantom Planet' is almost your archetypal silly low budget 50s/60s sci fi movie. Set in 1980(!) the story concerns a couple of astronauts on a mission to search for some colleagues who have inexplicably vanished. The team is led by the fearless Captain Chapman (a wooden Dean Fredericks), who soon finds himself a prisoner on "the phantom planet", shrunk to miniature size, and forced to choose between two alien beauties (one of whom is played by 'The Killing's Coleen Gray), while clashing with suspicious planet person Herron (Anthony Dexter, who also appeared in the supremely silly 'Fire Maidens From Venus'), all the while plotting his escape. The acting is poor, the dialogue lame brained, the special effects as inept as you can imagine, all in all great fun if you dig this kind of moronic camp fun (and I do!). The cast also includes veteran Francis X. Bushman who already had a film career spanning fifty years(!!) when he made this, and an uncredited Richard Kiel (best known to most movie goers as "Jaws" in a couple of 1970s Bond films, but also fondly remembered by trash fans for the idiotic horror flick 'Eegah' made shortly after this) as the utterly ludicrous Solonite monster. This may not be the best bad movie I've ever seen, but fans of the genre will have a great time watching it.
  • I actually like this cheesy drive-in second feature B-movie classic.

    The story goes from chapter to chapter with innocent exuberance. It's a typical "meeting aliens in outer space" story. An astronaut meets barefooted Lilliputian aliens (who all wear Star Trek type mini-skirts) hiding inside an asteroid, and promptly shrinks to their size. They're hiding not from Earthlings, but Solarites, creatures that use fire to attack the asteroid.

    This is the luckiest dude in the cosmos; he meets raven haired beauty Delores Faith and if I were him, I'd stay on the asteroid with her. Meanwhile, there's some interesting sub-plot action going on--jealous rivals, invaders closing in, court trials and what not. A captured Solarite breaks loose, attacks Delores, but then can't decide if he'll kill her or not, and wanders around carrying her for a while.

    The special effects are cheap, but amusing, even interesting to watch. Rays, fireballs, a large-nosed creature with a big head, an asteroid that looks like popcorn chicken chunks; it's just a lot of fun. The story is too abbreviated in several places (like the climactic battle with the enemy creatures), but I was actually involved with the characters, even the hastily developed astronaut/barefoot alien girl romance was somehow believable.

    I don't know exactly what it is about this film, it's silly and absurd, definitely MST3K stuff (they lambasted it pretty well, lol), but it really is an OK thing to watch. It's turn-off-the-brain stuff all the way, but it's fun.
  • The Phantom Planet was one of the many victims of TV's Mystery Science Theatre 3000 back in 1997 where its failings provided a rich source of comment. When watched away from such mockery, it doesn't prove the tedious slog that other MST3K choices have sometimes proved in their original, un-tampered versions. A sucker for 1950s and 1960s space movies - Destination Moon, Conquest Of Space and the rest - I have a weakness for those films informed more or less by the hard science of the times. In which men risk space travel in curiously stripped-down boiler-tank interiors, served by a few lights on a console and clunky readouts, belt-up in space recliners, and when they land, high concept meets low culture.

    Having said that, most of the 'science' in The Phantom Planet occurs at the beginning, and again at the end, and what falls between, despite some speculations about the revolutionary properties of gravity, is more than a little daft. Director William Marshall, whose only other credits were two late Errol Flynn movies, returned a decade later for this last effort, based on a script by the producer. Essentially a love triangle set on a Lilliputian planet (revealing this won't spoil any of the wooden drama it attempts) The Phantom Planet's early scenes are reasonably proficient and suffer most with the benefit of technological hindsight. But once hero Captain Frank Chaplin (western regular Dean Fredericks) lands on asteroid Rheton, any scientific integrity deflates as quickly as the spacesuit he wears, the astronaut shrinking down to local size courtesy of the planet's uniquely affecting atmosphere.

    If the script had called for Chaplin to remain an intergalactic giant among alien pygmies, then perhaps the film's central triangle would have been more problematic and interesting. But, as it turns out, the interpersonal relationships and jealousies engendered by Chaplin's unscheduled arrival are the most mundane elements of the story. His principal love - an infatuation, incidentally, sprung upon the viewer at a very late stage - is a mute girl, Zethra (Dolores Faith). Along the way he is also tempted by Liara (Coleen Grey), the daughter of Rheton's ruler Sesom (an elderly Francis X. Bushman, here reminiscent of the controller in Plan Nine From Outer Space). The fly in the ointment is Herron (Anthony Dexter), jealous of Chaplin's attractions to his preferred mate. Thus all the worthy speculations of the opening space drama are reduced to an off-world soap opera.

    Rheton is a peculiar place, an asteroid-deemed-planet by dramatic contrivance and insistence of its inhabitants. Despite a surfeit of women, there are relatively few people around outside of one or two gatherings. In environmental styling it often reminds one of the early Star Trek, with severe (i.e. cheap) décor, moulded rock faces and limited vistas. But it has its attractions, apart from the feminine majority: for action fans there are the 'disintegrating gravity plates'. These form a key part of a scene where, in echo of Kirk's bare-chested arena battles to be on TV a few years later, Chaplin and Herron fight a duel to the death. They also lead to the demise of the film's principal alien, a stranded representative of Rheton's principal enemies and potential destroyers, the Solarites. Played by none other than Richard 'Jaws' Kiel in monster costume the Solarite is, despite all efforts, relentlessly un-scary and cheap-looking, shambling around before attempting to grope Zethra.

    Bad movie lovers will find a lot to enjoy in The Phantom Planet even away from the marauding Solarite terror. The rifle shot sound effects ringing out in space during the climatic space battle for instance; the Solarites' burning cotton wool ball spacecraft (an effect worthy of Edward D. Wood), as well as the earnestness of all involved. Then there's clunking pieces of dialogue. A solemn narrator, heavy on the significance, starts and ends the film. It is he who firsts suggests, with a heavy hint, that there might exist races both larger and smaller than our own, and that mankind might only be "unimportant driftwood... floating in the universe." This faux high manner emerges a few times elsewhere in the film, as when Chaplin's doomed co-pilot speaks directly to camera and informs us solemnly that "Every year of my life I grow more and more convinced that the wisest and best is to fix our attention on the good and the beautiful" - a quote apparently lifted wholesale from a more prestigious source, and here ludicrously self-important. Incidentally, the same speaker is responsible for one of the movie's best moments: during his untimely demise, drifting helplessly off into the void and realising the inevitable, he relaxes calmly and starts off on the Lord's Prayer.

    I've given this film an above average score as, for those with a taste for this type of thing The Phantom Planet remains entertaining, if daft. There's an innocence here, typical of the period, which makes up for shortcomings and that's helped along by Marshall's adequate direction. And ultimately I suppose such innocence can be seen as a legitimate response to a universe that has become more confusing and complex a generation on
  • Thirty comments on this film and no one so far has mentioned the obvious inspiration for The Phantom Planet. This is a science fiction update of Gulliver among the Lilliputians. Too bad that Jonathan Swift's classic didn't inspire a better film.

    And that's a pity because the idea is intriguing. But this was low budget film, very low budget, so the production values and special effects were kept to a minimum. Also too bad that Jonathan Swift's gift for satire in late Stuart Great Britain didn't bring forth a better script.

    The film is set in what the writer's mind would be 1980 and we are on the moon and using it as a base to explore the solar system. Two ships have been lost in the asteroid region between Mars and Jupiter have already disappeared. A ship commanded by Dean Fredericks has been sent out to find out what happened and it crashes on an asteroid.

    It's really a small planet with people about half a foot tall led by a leader Sesom played by Francis X. Bushman. The movie is about Fredericks' adventures on the planet and his attempts to leave. Like in Gulliver's Travels he helps the people fight off some nasty alien enemies called Solarites who live in a world between Mercury and the sun. With all that heat to contend with, small wonder they're such nasty tempered folk.

    And if you want to know how the story ends before seeing the film, I won't say, but read Gulliver's Travels.

    Phantom Planet is great example of a lousy film becoming a cult classic. Players like Francis X. Bushman, Coleen Gray, and Anthony Dexter have all done so much better stuff.
  • Low budget production but the script is visionary in regards to anti-gravity and magnetic fields. Nuclear physicist Robert Lazar who worked at Area 51 in Nevada during the 1990s, says his job was to back-engineer a spacecraft that apparently used anti-gravity for propulsion. While, he and other scientists could theorize about anti-gravity, they and nobody else had the knowledge to create or utilize such.

    Also, magnetic walls have long been studied and attempted by U.S. Department of Defense research scientists.

    So, while it is easy to dismiss this film due to hokey characters and cliché love story, the script is visionary for a 1961 movie. There are many other sci-fi films far worse than this such as Santa Claus Conquers the Martians with Pia Zadora. If you want bad, this is not bad. However, it is good for low-budget films but it is not good in the context of big budget sci-fi films.
  • Judged by viewers post 2001, post Star Wars, post War of the Worlds, even post Star Trek, of course this movie will get bad reviews, for unscientific plot holes, for poor special effects, for bad acting, for dumb costumes, for simplistic sets, even for Black and White filming.

    But this was made in 1961! Seen as a moment in the history and evolution of Sci Fi on film, it's a great way to spend some time. It's available as a free legal download too. Go to www.archive.org and check under Feature Films to find the movie available as part 1 and part 2.

    The captain's tape recorders anticipate Kirk's "Captain's log". The cheap special effects had to be inspirational to the makers of Dr. Who. And it's a pleasure to have to use your imagination instead of having to be spoon fed with spectacular special effects.

    To hate this movie is to hate a jazz 1940s jazz piece because they used acoustic instruments instead of synths and cut to vinyl instead of digital to CD. Look beyond the limitations of the error to the art, and you'll find a 5 out of 10, not a 1. As the co-pilot said....
  • This movie is not that bad when you consider the type and time this movie was made. It was a 50's science fiction (even though it was made in 1961). It does have a plot-astronaut is on a mission to check out why rockets keep crashing on asteroids. Crashes into one, shrinks, meets good looking girls and helps fight evil space invaders. Typical sci-fi 50's movie. If you want good acting, see Casablanca or Citizen Kane. This movie was entertaining enough. I rate it 6/10 for a 50's type sci-fi.
  • Even though it was made in 61, I would include this film in the classic 50s genre of science-fiction. The script, for what it is, is fairly tight, as is the able direction of the actors, who are quite believable in the context of the film. Although one monster looked like ET on steroids, one is able to suspend disbelief just for the fun of it. These movies were FUN. It was not necessary to spend millions of dollars on special effects; the producers, with creative set designers, a creative script, and reasonable stretches of the imagination, were able to allow viewers to use their imaginations, instead of spoon-feeding every idea and emotion to the audience, like most modern sci-fi films do (with rare exceptions). The rating of Sci-Fi movies needs to be changed. The simple A or B ratings are too general. It is the same as rating students in a classroom. There are other ways to classify students other than A or B. An A film like Space Odyssey or Star Wars, is obviously an A film. This would obviously be a B film. But there are dozens of horrendous sci-fi films that are lumped in with the good sci-fi B films. Those films should be rated as C films. Does it take that much of a leap in understanding cinema to be able to rate films on three levels instead of two? Recommended to see how good sci-fi can be made on a limited budget.
  • I rather enjoyed this amazingly daft sci-fi film. There's just something about hokey effects, pseudo-science, astronauts recording their thoughts on cassette and the brain scratching physics on display. It's 1980 (!) and man has a spaceport on the moon, sending out manned rockets here and there. Problem is, these rockets keep crashing on a dwarf plant that can seemingly move around the solar system at will, and it's up to astronaut Frank Chapman to sort things out! The US are already two ships down by the time Frank heads out there with his buddy, and Frank's not about sticking to the rules, so in order to find a random planet that flies about the place, he goes off course and it's not long before the ship is being wrecked by meteorites. Frank and his buddy go outside to fix things and Frank get's beaned on the head by a tiny rock, but his mate gets him onboard before he himself is battered by a rock and drifts out into space. Frank comes to just in time to steer the rocket onto the Phantom Plant.

    This is where the film get (even) dafter, because Frank crawls out of his ship and meets loads of tiny men, but don't worry about that. Didn't Stephen Hawking mathematically prove that a physical body will shrink to adapt to its environment? He didn't? Well that's what happens here as Chapman shrinks to the size of everyone else and soon finds himself on charges of assault. Also, they all speak English and lives in caves but can steer their planet about. Yep.

    So Frank is found guilty but that means nothing as he's set free as long as he doesn't try and escape. He also gets into a duel with a guy and there's a mute girl making goo goo eyes at him. Just when you think Frank's about to go native (and to be honest just when things started getting boring) a bunch of aliens called the Solarites turn up and start attacking everyone! Thank the Gods for them as this bunch of crazy eyed bovver boys tear around the place in ships made of fire. Can Champ Frankman sort them out, grow big again, and go home? You'll have to watch the film to see or at least look up the plot on Wikipedia or even go and do something worthwhile with your life instead.

    Films like the Phantom Planet are far too daft to hate. Full of cheesy effects (including the rockets ships, the look of the Solarites, and the brain damaging 'science) and the kind of rugged guys who always do okay as long as there's someone to sock on the jaw, this one was a good laugh back in those naive days before we discovered that space was full of a whole load of nothing.
  • Has anyone ever watched this movie and FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE back to back? Yes they are both classic examples of B movies but these two movies in particular seem to be cut from the same cloth. In both movies astronauts from Earth land on far distant planet where the dominant race is in some dire trouble and the Earthmen just happen to possess the know-how to get them out of it. In PHANTOM PLANET the people have the technology to have turned their entire planet (or asteroid which is what it really is) into a spaceship but they live in caves and sleep on marble beds! (The whole race must have back problems) What gets me though is that just below the surface of the plots of both movies is the same male fantasy. In both movies the macho Earthment encounter ineffective males on both planets and races of totally submissive females who wander aimlessly around barefoot and miniskirted waiting for some man to notice them. In PHANTOM PLANET the women mostly just stand around while the men argue, fight and wonder what to do next. In both movies the strong assertive woman turns out to be the villain! Okay, I know to keep saying "It's only a movie" but couldn't the tough girl have also been the nice girl?
  • There seemed to be a lot of dodgy thinking going on, considering this was space exploration. For instance, spaceships going along a certain route keep on mysteriously disappearing, and the man in charge simply decides to send one more ship at a time, along the same route. What's going to happen when he runs out of men? And there are many other instances that defy all attempts at logic. This is one of those films that would have given Spock a sleepless night, let me tell you.

    As I'm finishing up my now-legendary Mill Creek 50-pack, 'Nightmare Worlds', I watched this, and it was fun, fine and downright decent. I had a good time, and it was very enjoyable with some interesting ideas (and Richard Kiel in a rubber monster suit), once I put my brain into suspended animation. As of yet, I haven't bothered with MST3K or its related ilk, as I fail to see the point--the idea seems stupid and condescending. It seems like if the neighbourhood prostitute regularly charged say, $5, and for $50, you would have the experience, but with two losers there, laughing at her and explaining to you why she was a whore. At least to my estimation, cinema shouldn't be experienced like that. Every film is like a woman, appreciates its own love and understanding, and furthermore, deserves to be treated like a lady.
  • Astronott lands on mysterious planet, where he shrinks to the size of its tiny citizens and helps to combat some royally goofy aliens!

    Ultra-silly drive in sci-fi of the early 60's is pretty much what one would expect from a low-budget 'space age' movie of this era. The special FX are very silly looking - planets that look like flying fried chicken and big bug-eyed dog looking aliens for villains! Yet, through it all the films stars do decent performances. Dean Fredericks, Coleen Gray, and Anthony Dexter aren't bad actors for this kind of film.

    Silliness and cheese abounds, but the right viewer will enjoy this number.

    ** out of ****
  • This is the sort of Grade-Z "quickie" that can best be appreciated when seen at 1:00 a.m. on the Late Show while gnawing on a slice of cold pizza. Though undistinguished in most of the usual respects, it does offer something not often seen in the sci-fi films of its era -- "beefcake." Yes, leading man Dean Fredericks whips off his shirt for a rather-extended fight sequence with Tony Dexter. Though Dean was only about 36 when this movie was made, he's already showing a bit of middle-aged softness around his middle, but the hair across his pecs has been left gloriously unshaved and his physique clearly outranks that of his older, shorter opponent. (One other point of interest: Francis X. Bushman, looking sadly old and tired, pops up as the leader of the alien world on which our hero accidentally crashes.)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I must admit that I did not watched an old Sci-Fi movie since long time, so, maybe I'm not what they call an expert in classical movies. I am the child of my times, so I'm used with the new wave of Sci-Fi movies, full of action and special effects.

    Still I enjoyed this classic film and I think is worth viewing. You can find a bit of everything in this movie.

    The dream of nuclear power as fuel for rockets. Some kind of Gulliver among the people of Liliput. The highly advanced civilization who gives up to the comfort of technology (and all the dangers that comes with it) to live a simple "primitive" life. A touch of Ancient Greek fashion style in the dress models of the main feminine characters. An echo of Feminism: female juries wearing short dresses. And at the end, the somehow blurred line between what is real and what is not.

    The "special effects" and the general style reminds me of Star Trek TOS. And just like in Star Trek, the monster aliens look unconvincing. But we should admit that the creators of this movie did their best for that time. I could point out some goofs, but I think we should show some understanding and just enjoy this classic!
  • This movie obviously isn't Oscar-worthy or one that will change your life. Heck, it's pretty cheap and silly as well. However, despite this, the movie is entertaining and despite many technical problems, it managed to keep my attention.

    The film begins in the future...1980! There are moon bases and interplanetary travel is the norm. However, this travel is called into question when two ships crash into a planetoid that just appears directly in front of the ships with no warning! In other words, any space ship COULD just crash into this planet at any time and at any place...bummer. So, the best astronauts are sent to look for(?!) this hidden planetoid. Naturally, things don't go quite right and one of the astronauts is stranded on this place. Oddly, he is shrunk by the artificial atmosphere until he is itty-bitty just like the rest of the inhabitants. On this odd appearing and disappearing rocks, he has many adventures--a fight to the death, a sexy mute girlfriend and some silly looking bug-eyed aliens. While the sets and costumes are a bit silly, the film has so much action and plot devices that it does manage to entertain. You'll enjoy it provided you have an appreciation for this sort of sci-fi film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One of the first revelations that this was going to be a fun camp film was it's setting in the way distant future of 1980, replete with space age jargon and a goal to find out what's been happening to prior lost space missions. I found myself making comparisons between "The Phantom Planet" and the TV Series "Star Trek"; Planet had a very similar look and feel to Trek once the action moved to the planet Raton. But what a difference the ensuing five years made, as any single Trek episode blows this film away in story content and quality.

    Astronauts Frank Chapman (Dean Fredericks) and Ray Makonnen (Richard Weber) are sent out from Lunar Base 1 to determine what's happened to a couple of ships that simply disappeared in outer space. A meteor storm damages their propulsion system, and while making repairs, Chapman is knocked unconscious by a stray light flash, and Makonnen loses his grip on the Pegasus IV and floats away reciting the Lord's Prayer (undeniably a prayer of thanks for getting him out of this). Later, while gaining his wits, one of the scenes in Chapman's delirium is seeing his partner float away in space exactly the way it happened, even though he was unconscious at the time!

    With the Pegasus IV captured by a gravity ray, the ship is brought down to the living planet Raton, where miniature people marvel at the gigantic newcomer. Shortly after though, Chapman shrinks down to their size, a result of the planet's atmosphere. In retrospect, there really seems to have been no reason for this plot device, as all the remaining action doesn't rely on what size the characters are.

    Of course the newcomer is tested by his captors, put on trial for "harming" one of them, and is punished by allowing him freedom on Raton with his choice of two beautiful women (Colleen Gray and Dolores Faith). Chapman is no Captain Kirk, and he can't be moved by the wiles of his female companions, all the while trying to figure out how to get back home. In the mean time, he must battle a jealous Ratonian (Ratonite?) in hand to hand combat, and team up with him to defeat the threat of an evil Solarite (Richard Kiel in a wild alien costume).

    "The Phantom Planet" is a blast, and you'll have fun with it as long as you have patience and a good sense of humor. I have to say the film had me right from the start. What other movie can you name that uses the word "azimuth" even once, while here it's referenced a good half dozen times!
  • Despite it's outre trappings and slightly surreal plot points, this excellent little movie benefits from the natural style of the acting. Characters behave in realistic ways--the astronauts look, and act, like well trained professionals doing a job; the military commanders slap down any sign of levity, and the byplay between the lead captain and his navigator feels entirely unforced and genuine.

    It's the Jack Webb school of acting, and it feels, at once, both incredibly modern (think of the scene in Alien where the crew is sitting around the table having a meal, and just relating to one another in a comfortable, utterly realistic way, for example) and also a throwback to early documentary style genre films like 'Dragnet.' A deeply under-rated gem.
  • Another "bad space movie" that's not so bad, held back by a meager budget that also provides its charm: centering on an astronaut shot not from the Earth to the Moon but, in this particular future, 1980 viewed from 1961, the moon's space station into deeper space where another rocket had already vanished. When Captain Chapman lands from a magnetic pull, he finds a world hybrid of a Biblical Epic and B-Western...

    The inhabitants are miniaturized, which means nothing since we mostly see Dean Fredericks the same size among them: a square-jawed, high cheek-boned, dyed-blond-haired actor best known as television's really white STEVE CANYON, he also played a score of Native Americans, which, ironically, the leaders of this planet share the same cinematic wisdom of...

    With technology far beyond our own, they still choose to live in a primal setting, leading to a man-to-man fight between our hero and the only other virile young man around (their overall anti-chemistry's reminiscent of Sam Jones and Timothy Dalton in FLASH GORDON years later)...

    But it's the dames, including smart, semi-manipulative Coleen Gray and passive mute Dolores Faith, who make this worth the watch: blunting the dated aspect since hot chicks are as universal then as now. And both remain equally important as the men plot-wise while invading forces move in: made tangible by an alien-mask-wearing Richard Kiel...

    The mellow science-fiction is similar to the future STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE "wait and watch from the console window" aspect, and is pretty interesting and creative albeit needing (in both cases) more urgency...

    Meanwhile, Dolores Faith's Zetha becomes the kind of damsel-in-distress the likes of horror genre scream queens. Only she can't scream, or even speak, but is equally as pretty and effective: ultimately more worth saving than the planet itself.
  • ctomvelu14 September 2012
    An astronaut finds his ship pulled to a large asteroid, where he encounters a race of people who live inside it. His ship is jettisoned and he is told he will have to live with these people forever, Which,k of course, he resists, even though there are about a hundred young women in tunics who would love to give the guy a go and help replenish the population. He is on hand for an attack on the asteroid by other aliens, and engages in a badly staged fight with one of the enemy (Richard Kiel in a laughable plastic costume). Special effects are on par for the time. The music isn't half bad. Veteran actor Francis X. Bushman plays the head guy on the asteroid. You may recognize several other actors, such as Anthony Dexter who performed in many B movies and TV shows. Definitely for the kiddies, so we don't get to see any mating or nudity. Have a six-pack on hand to get through this one.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While on a mission to find the whereabouts of a missing space ship, Captain Frank Chapman (Dean Fredericks) is forced to make a crash landing on a roving asteroid. There he discovers a race of people only a few inches tall. Before he quite knows what's going on, he is shrunk to their size. With little hope of escape, Chapman helps the tiny people in their ongoing battle with a racing of warring creatures. Also, and quite unexpectedly, Chapman finds love on this strange planet.

    Even with 4/10 rating I've given The Phantom Planet, I realize that may be too high. There are obvious weaknesses, but I just don't think the movie is as bad as its reputation would suggest. Just as I wrote about Teenagers from Outer Space, underneath the cheese is a nice little story just aching to get out. The acting isn't the best, but everyone seems to give it their all, especially Fredericks in the lead role. Other than the creature special effects, the rest are nicely done given the time period The Phantom Planet was made and the obvious budget constraints. Without being overly original, the plot kept me fairly entertained throughout. And isn't that why we all watch movies in the first place – to be entertained?
  • ferbs5426 October 2007
    "The Phantom Planet" (1961) is a film that comes off like a cross between "Gulliver's Travels" in space and an old Flash Gordon episode. In this one, Dean Fredericks plays Frank Chapman, a moon-based astronaut who crashlands onto a wandering asteroid whilst searching for some missing men. He breathes in the asteroid's atmosphere and, swifter than you can say "Jonathan Swift," is shrunk down to six-inch size; the same size as the other Lilliputian-like inhabitants of this world of Rheton, as it turns out. Silent-film star Francis X. Bushman, here in his late 70s, plays the leader of the Rheton folk, and gives Chapman a tour of their underground civilization. Soon enough, viewers are also treated to a duel between Chapman and a jealous Rhetonite--during which each tries to shove the other onto disintegrating gravity plates!--and a nifty space battle between the Rheton people and the Solarites. These latter aliens flounce around through space in ships that look like scraps of flaming paper, and physically look a bit like the Metalunan mutant from sci-fi champ "This Island Earth" (1955), although their precise appearance beggars my poor powers of description. Richard Kiel, 16 years pre-Jaws, plays one of these Solarites, and is completely unrecognizable. Anyway, this movie is shlocky and cheaply made, but the FX are quite good enough, the camera-work and elegant background music often conspire to produce an eerie, almost poetic feel, the actors play things straight and the dialogue is rarely laughable. For you sci-fi-loving horndogs out there, there are many miniskirted Rhetonite babes to gape at, as well. It's hard to defend a film this pulpy, fantastical and logic defying, but I must still say that I enjoyed watching it. The Maltin book deems this a "fascinatingly terrible movie," but I think the editors there are being way too mean-spirited. Oh...a really nice-looking print on this DVD here, too!
An error has occured. Please try again.