Retro SciFi Film of the Week…

Space-Men (1957)
(aka, Assignment: Outer Space)

This is an Italian-made sci-fi by Antonio Margheriti, who was a very prolific filmmaker. He was able to produce a lot of low-budget films very quickly, including this one which was his first film. I think most of the voice actors (who dubbed the English version) were actually pretty good in this film given the material. And there was a ton of special effects in this one, too.

This film seems to have a lot more science fact errors in it then the typical 50s science fiction film. I’ve put a few in this unauthorized trailer –- convert hydrogen into oxygen to make air; going to Globular Cluster M12 in a chemical rocket, rocket engines at “full RPM”; and of course lots of sounds in space. At one point they are at Mars and they get a call from HQ saying, “Hey, while your out there, stop by Venus, too.” (paraphrased)

I think the title of this film, “Space-Men” comes from a line in the movie about a woman who is on the spaceship (I’ve included it in the trailer). The English-dubbed version of the film that was released in the US had the title, “Assignment: Outer Space”.

For a low budget film, they really put a lot of effort into the props and special effects and sets. Actually, some of the sets are pretty well designed and the special effects were not bad for a low-budget 50s sci-fi. (It was actually shot in 1960, but it’s basically a 50s sci-fi.)

If you've never seen an Italian sci-fi this one’s a classic.

Accessible video description:
Old faded color film; A guy in a control tower talking about a space mission to the Globular Cluster M12, then a rocket blasts off with the movie’s opening title, Assignment: Outer Space and shows the surface of a planet and it shows the rocket again and it shows a guy in zero-g trying to maneuver and it shows some people in space near a space ship and then it shows the guy in a spacesuit floating through the void of space and a hose being hooked up to the back of a rocket that is floating in space then a guy playing around with a bunch of oscilloscopes and other guys floating around through space and a fiery meteor, not a meteorite, goes buzzing by; then some guy in a cockpit says he doesn't know what's going on; then another guy wants to commit suicide by jumping off of the spaceship and he jumps out and it shows a fake dummy falling down to the surface of Mars as the guy screams when he’s falling in space; and some other guys talk about going down to get the guy and they go down and pick him up and he's still alive for some reason; and then back to the guy who is in zero-g pretending to be floating around he's actually walking on the ground but he's moving very slowly and acting like he's floating but it actually looks pretty real considering; then the guy and some other people are standing around talking about some destructive thing; then there's a rocket that's trying to land at “full RPMs” (closed captioning says “four RPMs”) and the rocket lands but it tips over a little bit, 9 degrees and it sounds like a tree falling; then a man and a woman are talking about going 90,000 mph; then a guy's talking about the next solar system revolution; then a woman in a cockpit wearing a helmet says that they're very close now; then a man is talking to a woman who's in some sort of laboratory with plants that are turning hydrogen into oxygen; then a guy in a spaceship is talking about the Earth turning into boiling mud; then several astronauts in a cockpit and a guy’s talking about 16 gammas when he meant to say 16 G's; then there's an atomic spaceship with chemical exhaust coming out the back of it; then a bad actor talking about crashing into a Mars satellite; then a guy in a cockpit with a woman, the guys says nobody knows what they're talking about; then a man walks into a room and it shows him looking at a person's legs under a table but you can’t see the person and the person walks out and turns out that it's a woman astronaut, which apparently is shocking in 1950s; then a man is coming out of a suspended hibernation tank in a spaceship, cut to an o-scope and cut back to the guy standing up very slowly out of his hibernation tank; then it shows a rocket separating from its first stage and then the second stage separating from it and the surface of some planet; then a guy in a spacesuit is floating through space very slowly with fake stars in the background and all of the stars are blinking dim and bright synchronously; fade to black.

This film was produced in 1960, not 1957 as shown in the title...

Space-Men (1960)
(aka, Assignment: Outer Space)

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