Blu-Ray Review: Queen Of Outer Space (1957).

Directed by Edward Bernds
Screenplay by Charles Beaumont
From a story by Ben Hecht
Cinematography: William P. Whitley
Music by Marlin Skiles
Film Editor: William Austin

Cast: Zsa Zsa Gabor (Talleah), Eric Fleming (Capt. Neal Patterson), Dave Willock (Lt. Mike Cruze), Laurie Mitchell (Queen Yllana), Lisa Davis (Motiya), Paul Birch (Prof. Konrad), Patrick Waltz (Lt. Larry Turner), Barbara Darrow (Kaeel), Marilyn Buferd (Odeena), Lynn Cartwright

__________

Some movies are labelled art, others are considered simply entertainment. A select few can actually be both, while unfortunately, some are neither. While film critics and scholars like to decide what falls into which category, we all get to call ’em as they see ’em. For me, Queen Of Outer Space (1958) — which is a real hoot, is a helluva lot better movie than, say, The English Patient (1996).

A team of astronauts, led by Eric Fleming of Rawhide, is drawn to Venus, where they find the planet populated by beautiful women in miniskirts with ray guns — except for a few who wear masks to cover ghastly radiation burns. Zsa Zsa Gabor plays a Venusian scientist — and the only human on the planet with a Hungarian accent. All that, plus a giant rubber spider.

It all started with a 10-page story idea (called Queen Of The Universe) by the great screenwriter Ben Hecht. It had been sitting around Allied Artists for a few years when Ben Schwalb, who was producing The Bowery Boys movies, ended up with it. He handed it off to writer Charles Beaumont. Beaumont’s script was then fiddled with by Ellwood Ullman, who’d written for The Three Stooges. Edward Bernds, another Stooge veteran, directed — just as he’d done with AA’s previous sci-fi picture, World Without End (1956).

Don’t let the DeLuxe color and CinemaScope fool you — Queen Of Outer Space is a pretty cheap affair. You might recognize the spacemen’s uniforms and some of the ladies’ costumes from Forbidden Planet (1956). There are models, sets and footage from World Without End (1956) — which featured rocket footage lifted from Flight To Mars (1951). And the rubber spider is the same one seen in World Without End (1956).

Bud and Lou with Mari Blanchard

Of course, others had boldly gone after the planet-of-women plot-line before. Take a look at Abbott & Costello Go To Mars (1953, above), Cat-Women Of The Moon (1953) and Fire Maidens From Outer Space (1955). But with Queen Of Outer Space, they got the mix of chicks, chills and cheese just right. (Okay, I’m stretching it a bit with the chills part.)

Speaking of just right, the Warner Archive Blu-Ray is a great example of bringing an old movie to high-definition. It’s sharp as a tack, with the color dialed in perfectly. This is maybe the best-looking DeLuxe color I’ve seen on Blu-Ray — and a big improvement over the nice-looking DVD. The audio is clean. And the commentary from that DVD has been retained.

For some of us, and we know who we are, owning this is an absolute necessity. For others, it’s a complete waste of time, money and pixels. If you’re in the former group, you won’t be disappointed.

One last thing: In some lucky cities, Queen Of Outer Space was paired with Howard W. Koch’s Frankenstein 1970 (1958). Those were the days.

31 Comments

Filed under 1958, Abbott & Costello, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Edward Bernds, Monogram/Allied Artists, Warner Archive

31 responses to “Blu-Ray Review: Queen Of Outer Space (1957).

  1. john k

    Your’e on fire here Toby…Love that English Patient comparison.

    I don’t know, that Walter, he accuses me of going AWOL and then does
    the same thing himself!
    Funnily enough over at the current thread at Colin’s I name dropped
    both WORLD WITHOUT END and QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE-
    Iv’e seen the former in high def and have only heard good about the latter.
    I did state,how cool it would be to see Allied Artists Westerns to be given
    these fantastic restorations,namely WICHITA and OREGON PASSAGE.
    I don’t know how I managed to turn Colin’s FACE OF A FUGITIVE into
    a “Lippert Fest” but I did it anyway.
    Edward Bernds was brought into the mix especially regarding his
    RegalScope titles and I understand his RETURN OF THE FLY was not
    the picture either Bernds or Vincent Price had intended to make.
    Another blog I really like is Mike’s Take On The Movies..sometimes I
    even wonder if Mike and Toby are in fact the same person!
    Mike has just reviewed Bernds THE BOWERY BOYS MEET THE
    MONSTERS and has just returned from a festival attended by
    FRANKENSTEIN 1970’s Charlotte Austin. Now you know my previous
    comment is not quiet so silly.
    Concerning all things Lippert am I right in thinking that Toby got to meet
    Margia Dean and Maury Dexter.

    Like

    • I did not get to meet Margia Dean. Got to know Maury long-distance while helping him put his memoirs together. We talked many times, and he was a really nice man. He kindly answered my millions of questions about the Regalscope days and House Of The Damned.

      Like

      • john k

        Thanks,Toby,
        I seem to recall some way back that you were going to interview
        Margia. I should have mentioned over at Colin’s that much of
        what I said was obtained from that wonderful Lippert book that
        you turned me on to!

        Like

      • walter

        Toby, did Margia Dean have anything to say about working with Jock Mahoney in director/writer/producer Eddie Romero’s MORO WITCH DOCTOR(1964)? I know that she did’t like working with him. The movie was sold to Robert L. Lippert who arranged for it to be released in November 1964, by 20th Century Fox in a 61-minute version. It was originally 90-minutes.

        Like

      • Our interview never took place, which is a huge shame. She’s in so many movies I love. Would love to find a decent copy of Stagecoach To Fury.

        Like

      • john k

        Hi Walter…..Welcome Back!
        I read that regarding Margia and Jock as well.
        furthermore she had no time for Scott Brady who she
        found crude and offensive.

        Like

  2. john k

    I used to like things in the not too distant past when there was far more
    “cross pollination” certainly between the various “Blog Meisters”
    Toby and Colin were regulars on each others blogs and that engaging
    and knowledgeable twosome Laura and Kristina used to comment on
    a regular basis.
    All that has now changed,everyone is just so darned busy,agendas,
    workloads,commentaries and life in general.
    Retired “old geezers” like myself seem to overlook all this but on a
    more positive note at least Walter has managed to bring Blake Lucas back
    into the mix.
    At least the H8 continues on it’s “down market” trend and that’s a good thing
    as far as I’m concerned.
    I’m not qualified to add to anything that’s already been said on say
    THE BIG SLEEP or THE SEARCHERS; Sam Katzman or Robert L
    Lippert are far more in my comfort zone.
    I’ve often stated that my personal all time favourite director is Don Siegel
    and now I’m beginning to wonder if,in fact INVASION OF THE BODY
    SNATCHERS was indeed just a movie.
    “Mind Snatchers” if the state of things in the UK is anything to go by.
    I know things in America are far from perfect but the P.C. obsessed UK
    gets worse day by day.
    A UK University “official” wants an historic WW1 mural painted over because
    only “white” faces are depicted on the mural.
    One things for sure…her timings spot on!
    When all is said and done in today’s UK I need to watch QUEEN OF OUTER
    SPACE just to regain what’s left of my sanity.

    Like

    • Couldn’t agree with you more — I’m on a “blog diet” to try to focus on my new job, a stack of commentaries and that One-Eyed Jacks book.

      Speaking of Siegel and Body Snatchers, that new Blu-Ray from Olive is the best I’ve ever seen the movie look. It’s terrific. And to think that we’re getting it and The Thing in hi-def within a couple months of each other, with stuff like Queen Of Outer Space and The Cyclops tossed in the middle, is like a dream come true.

      If only the video floodgates were this wide open with Westerns!

      Like

    • walter

      John K, I agree that we should, and do, shine more light on the small and middle features, because so much as been written about, as you say, THE BIG SLEEP(1946) and THE SEARCHERS(1956).

      QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE is just simple “Fun” entertainment that gives us a break from all the “gewgaw” we see today.

      Like

      • What I found with 50s Westerns was that most people know the core of the genre but have never heard of the other stuff. And, naturally, the more obscure stuff is where so much of the gold lies. That, in a nutshell, is the basic idea behind my blogs.

        The movies of today make me realize just how out of touch I am with much of our popular culture. I don’t bother with them anymore, figuring the ones I need to see I’ll bump into somehow. In the meantime, more stuff like Queen Of Outer Space!

        Like

  3. john k

    Thanks,Toby,
    I seem to recall some way back that you were going to interview
    Margia. I should have mentioned over at Colin’s that much of
    what I said was obtained from that wonderful Lippert book that
    you turned me on to!

    Like

    • That is an excellent book. If someone happens upon this, it’s Talk’s Cheap, Action’s Expensive by Mark Thomas McGee. Highly recommended/

      An additional benefit of working with Mr. Dexter was the cool points I scored with my daughter — since he was the assistant director on about half the episodes of Little House On The Prairie!

      Like

  4. walter

    Talk about “guilty pleasures” to the inth degree. QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE from the producer of THE BOWERY BOYS and the director of THE THREE STOOGES and BLONDIE. What can go high-brow right, or low-brow wrong with this “doozy” of a picture! I like the reference to THE ENGLISH PATIENT.

    QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE is hands down a “Classic of Low Art.” Also, if you liked this one don’t miss CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON(1953).

    Like

  5. walter

    John K, Margia Dean did think Scott Brady’s brother, Lawrence Tierney, was a nice guy. She also liked her co-star, in AMBUSH AT CIMARRON PASS(1958), Clint Eastwood. Margia Dean is 96-years-old and still with us.

    Like

  6. Bert Greene

    Well, let’s say Lawrence Tierney was a ‘peculiar’ guy. I ran into him, and chatted with him once for about ten or fifteen minutes in a hotel lobby in downtown Hollywood, back around 1990 or so. By the time it was over, I was convinced I’d been talking with a guy who was truly mentally deranged.

    Like

    • walter

      Bert Greene, you actually met and talked with Lawrence Tierney. I’m sure that was an experience. Do you remember what you talked about? I’ve read that he was a terror to work with. He somewhat, reminds me of my Grand Uncle Bob P________ the gunslinger. Uncle Bob would carry a single barrel shotgun with him everywhere he went.

      Like

      • Bert Greene

        Yeah, Walter, of all the old-time movie folks I’ve encountered over the years (upwards of 200 or so), I can’t deny that Tierney was the oddest. I could sort of tell he had a screw loose from the start. Oh, he was all warm and friendly for a while, and then changed on a dime. He asked me where I was from, and I told him Texas. He got all excited and said he was about to head out there himself to film a western. He pulled out a piece of scrap-paper, asking me for my address, as he proposed staying at my place during filming. I paused for a split-second, because the whole thing was absurd. Texas is a big state, and who knows where this supposed western (which sounded highly squirrelly to begin with) was to be filmed… and this guy wants my address, to stay at my place, after just meeting him fifteen minutes earlier? Huh?

        In my dumbfounded split-second pause, he suddenly got all angry and belligerent, shouting “what? you think I’m some kind of f*ggot, try to make moves on you?” and such, loudly cursing me out, making a scene and storming away. It was all rather surreal. The guy seemed really cracked in the head. Not that I took any offense. In fact, the whole encounter was so goofy and bizarre, I almost immediately found humor in it. I still kind of laugh to myself every time I see his face pop up in an old movie on TCM. I even bought the Warner ‘mod’ of “Bodyguard” (1948), a minor but fun little RKO b-film I’ve always liked. But yep, the dude was seriously nutso.

        Like

  7. Jerry Entract

    I seem to remember reading that Lawrence Tierney was one scary fellow.

    Toby, I really ‘felt’ your comment above about feeling so out-of-touch with so much of modern culture (I use that word advisedly!). Couple of nights ago, wife and I made a rare visit to the cinema to give a try to a film called “A SIMPLE FAVOUR” that I had thought sounded interesting. Boy! was I wrong! We left after 30 mins, couldn’t take any more of the dreadful thing. Many others there seemed to think it was great. I guess it just must be me (and my wife)!!

    Like

  8. walter

    Bert Greene, what a great story and thanks so very much for sharing it with us. I like your attitude toward the meeting with Tierney.

    Like

  9. Bert Greene

    By the way, that’s interesting news that John mentions, about Charlotte Austin attending a festival/convention. I always thought she’d be an interesting guest to hear from. She did a most enjoyable commentary track with Tom Weaver on VCI’s dvd of “The Bride and the Beast” (1958). Now that was a pretty wacky film, to put it mildly. But anyway, Austin is of course the daughter of Gene Austin, who was such a popular singer in the mid-to-late-1920s, with hits like “My Blue Heaven” and “The Lonesome Road.” I still run across his old 78’s all the time in flea-markets and estate sales. They were obviously huge sellers in their day. Interestingly, by the late-1930s, when Gene Austin’s career had dimmed considerably, the low-low-budget Colony Pictures (one of those states’ rights outfits) starred him in a b-western, “Songs and Saddles” (1938). It’s not a very sterling example of the genre, however. Although, it might be marginally better than some of Colony’s other rinky-tink b-western endeavors for Rex Bell and Ken Maynard. I think the producers were really trying to consciously copy the Gene Autry pattern for Austin’s solo effort. Anyway, as I recall, Colony also produced those two “Shadow” films with Rod La Rocque, releasing them, however, through Grand National.

    Like

    • walter

      Bert, always some very interesting information. SONGS AND SADDLES is pretty standard material, but I think it is worth a watch for Gene Austin’s 5 songs. I thought “Song of the Saddle” was humorous fun.

      States Rights Exchanges(distributors), which you mentioned in reference to Colony Pictures, is quite a story of how thousands of little theaters located in small towns across the USA’s hinterlands, as well as neighborhood movie houses in cities and large population centers obtained poverty row movies, for the most part. Those were the days.

      Like

  10. john k

    Bert,
    Thanks,so much for the background on Charlotte-I really enjoyed her
    commentary on the FRANKENSTEIN 1970 DVD and the way that she
    dubbed director Howard W Koch “The Velvet Whip” always very precise
    about what he wanted,but in the nicest possible way.
    Now with Walter and Bert regular contributors the H8 is going
    “gangbusters”
    It’s always so lovely to hear of veteran B Movie actresses still attending
    conventions and Q & A sessions. A pal of mine recently attended one
    at the UK’s Film Museum with Veronica Hurst best known for her two
    American Allied Artists pictures THE MAZE and ROYAL AFRICAN RIFLES
    what I wouldn’t give for the latter,restored in widescreen.
    Mara Corday is still with us and her friend Clint Eastwood gave her a
    financial boost with roles in THE GAUNTLET,PINK CADILLAC,
    SUDDEN IMPACT and THE ROOKIE.
    There seem to be additional quotes from Mara over at imdb since I last
    looked. I recall her takes on Audie Murphy and Kirk Douglas but there are
    a couple of real put downs for tragic Susan Cabot and (sorry Toby)
    Fred F Sears..

    Like

    • walter

      John K, it is always lovely to read about the veteran B Movie actresses Q & A sessions at conventions. Lisa Davis, who is still with us, has lot’s of stories to tell, especially about working with Zsa Zsa on QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE. Davis portrayed Motiya a Venusian girl rebel who wanted to free her people from tyranny under the Queen. She also got to wear the Anne Francis gold mini skirt from FORBIDDEN PLANET(1956). She is down right amazed at the current popularity of the movie. She attended, as a special guest, the famous San Francisco Castro Theatre’s tribute to the movie in 2005. When Davis arrived at the Castro Theatre, there was a line of people around the block to see the movie. The movie had been shown all day and the “major” screening was that night with her interview and Q & A before the showing. In her words, “I was amazed at the turnout, and they were crazy about this picture!”

      Besides Lisa Davis, I know that Barbara Darrow and Kathy Marlowe, are still with us, and probably some of the others are also.

      Like

  11. john k

    To backtrack on previous comments,and to expand on Toby’s credo on
    why he hosts his much admired blogs I thought I would add that my main
    reason to contribute at the two Toby’s and elsewhere is to express my
    admiration for my own favourite “unheralded” film-makers.
    I’m talking about cats like George Sherman,Lesley Selander,Paul Landres,
    Harmon Jones,Nathan Juran,Harold Schuster ,Joseph Kane , Kurt
    Neumann, and Charles Haas among others.

    The problem with these guys was before the MOD era most of their
    work were impossible to find,to buy commercially.
    Then Warner Archive opened the floodgates,and for a while we had that
    impressive Sony/Columbia MOD series now sadly axed.
    To add to all this we suddenly started getting,in high-def,no less, such
    unheralded gems as A DAY OF FURY,STAR IN THE DUST,MAN FROM
    BITTER RIDGE,RED SUNDOWN and RAW EDGE from Germany.
    All of a sudden this was a game changer we could buy and own these films
    in highly watchable quality. I was pleased,at the time when Blake Lucas,
    when we were talking,commented that my input had made him check out
    Selander,a bit further than previously.
    Of the directors I have mentioned only Harold Schuster seems to have
    missed the boat especially as his best Allied Artists pictures are not owned
    by Warners,therefore gems like JACK SLADE,FINGER MAN and DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE remain “lost” as far as decent watchable
    versions go.
    All of this was good for the second string Western stars like Barry Sullivan,
    Jock Mahoney,Rod Cameron,George Montgomery and Rory Calhoun.
    Warners stellar work on the Allied Artists titles that they own has been
    a revelation I only wish that they owned the whole lot.

    Like

    • walter

      John K, I really like your list of favorite “unheralded” film-makers. I would like to add some others of mine. R.G. Springsteen, Gordon Douglas, Allen Miner, Phil Karlson, and Paul Wendkos among others.

      Also, a plug for Harold Schuster’s THE RETURN OF JACK SLADE(1955), with John Ericson, Mari Blanchard, Neville Brand, and Angie Dickinson’s debut. It is another good Allied Artists release.

      Like

    • Jerry Entract

      I like your thinking, John, and it is a great pleasure for me personally because, as you know, a number of the names you list are special unheralded favourites of mine too. I continue to learn and appreciate on these great blogsites.

      Like

      • john k

        Mighty fine,Jerry to see you more or less a regular at the H8
        Loved your “Italian Red” comment over at Jeff Arnold’s

        Like

  12. john k

    Walter,
    I have only seen THE RETURN OF JACK SLADE as a horrible 4×3
    pan & scan the film was a quickie attempt to cash in on the box office
    success of JACK SLADE. The film has nothing to do with the original
    but Schuster,nevertheless makes the film as quirky and interesting as
    possible. I’d buy a restored Blu Ray of this film in a heartbeat.
    So little of Schuster’s best work is unavailable and that’s a shame.
    Two other missing Schuster’s SECURITY RISK and PORT OF HELL,
    the latter a model B movie with Dane Clark and Wayne Morris on top form.
    I omitted Douglas and Karlson from my list as I feel they have more
    mainstream acceptance-many of their best movies are out there to buy.
    Karlson’s GUNMAN’S WALK is one of the greatest of 50’s Westerns
    if Heflin’s performance at the end of this film does not move you,nothing will.
    A masterclass in character acting from Ray Teal as one of the most
    slimy characters in any Western…you can actually see the cogs tick in
    Teal’s mind as he conducts his dodgy deals.
    Even James Darren is superb in this masterpiece.
    I remember,many years back discussing Gordon Douglas and Ray
    Enright with Stephen Woolley (the same) Stephen had just finished a
    marathon Randolph Scott binge watch. I said then, that I considered Gordon
    Douglas the poor man’s Raoul Walsh,Stephen chipped in that they both
    seemed to like those “muscular” type of film projects; I was younger and
    even stupider in those days so never mind.
    Two of my favourite Douglas films THE DOOLINS OF OKLAHOMA-
    top drawer Randolph Scott and BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN a
    superb Noir that should be far more well known.
    Enright should have been included in my list and I almost included
    Springsteen but withdrew him at the last minute,for some reason.
    The same goes for Edward Ludwig sometimes there is no rhyme or
    reason to my thought process.

    Like

  13. john k

    This just in……………
    Germany’s Koch Media have just announced on Blu Ray
    Jack Arnold’s MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS the last of his classic
    Universal Sci Fi/Monster Movies and the only one (Worldwide) not
    available in high-def.
    Koch have included in the package an Arnold interview I don’t know
    at this time if this is new material or duplicates material from previous
    German releases.
    At least we now know a high-def master of this film exists,so for American
    fans hopefully a Kino Lorber version will follow-Toby’s always wanted to
    do a horror movie commentary so this would be a great one to get the
    ball rolling.

    Like

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