Flying Disc Man from Mars
Flying Disc Man from Mars is a 1950 Republic Pictures 12-chapter black-and-white science fiction adventure film serial, produced by Franklin Adreon, directed by Fred C. Brannon, that stars Walter Reed, Lois Collier, Gregory Gaye, James Craven, Harry Lauter, and Richard Irving. Disc Man is considered a weak example of the serial medium, even compared to other post-World War II serials.
|Flying Disc Man from Mars|
|Directed by||Fred C. Brannon|
|Produced by||Franklin Adreon|
|Written by||Ronald Davidson|
|Music by||Stanley Wilson|
|Distributed by||Republic Pictures|
|12 chapters / 167 minutes (serial)|
|Budget||$152,640 (negative cost: $157,439)|
Martian invader, Mota (Gregory Gaye), attempts to conquer the Earth as Mars is worried about its use of new atomic technology. They consider that it would be much safer, and beneficial for both Earth and Mars, if the Martians were in charge. Mota, having been shot down by an experimental ray gun, blackmails American scientist, and former Nazi, Dr. Bryant (James Craven) into assisting him and hires some criminals to be his henchmen.
Kent Fowler (Walter Reed), the private pilot who shot down Mota with Dr. Bryant's ray gun, gets caught up in these events while working security for atomic industrial sites.
Chapter titles & run times
- "Menace from Mars" (20 min)
- "The Volcano's Secret" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "Death Rides the Stratosphere" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "Execution by Fire" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "The Living Projectile" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "Perilous Mission" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "Descending Doom" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "Suicidal Sacrifice" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "The Funeral Pyre" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "Weapons of Hate" (13 min, 20 sec) - re-cap chapter
- "Disaster on the Highway" (13 min, 20 sec)
- "Volcanic Vengeance" (13 min, 20 sec)
- Walter Reed as Kent Fowler, pilot
- Lois Collier as Helen Hall
- Gregory Gaye as Mota, martian invader
- James Craven as Dr Bryant, scientist and secretly a former Nazi supporter
- Harry Lauter as Drake, one of Mota's henchmen
- Richard Irving as Ryan, one of Mota's henchmen
- Sandy Sanders as Steve, Kent's sidekick
- Michael Carr as Trent, disc-ship pilot-henchman
Flying Disc Man from Mars was budgeted at $152,640, although the final negative cost was $157,439 (a $4,799, or 3.1%, overspend). It was the most expensive Republic serial made in 1950.
Disc Man was filmed between August 21 and September 12, 1950 under several working titles: Atom Man from Mars, Disc Man from Mars, Disc Men of the Skies, Flying Planet Men, and Jet Man from Mars. The serial's production number was 1709.
This is a sequel to Republic's earlier serial The Purple Monster Strikes. The villain Mota reuses the Purple Monster costume from that serial.
The flying disc aircraft from Republic's King of the Mounties is reused for this serial (note that the Japanese rising sun logo is still visible). In some shots this flying wing footage is from Republic's Spy Smasher serial (used in chapter three of Disc Man), where the tail fin is missing (the flying wing was built for Spy Smasher, and the tail-fin with rising sun insignia was added for Republic's King of the Mounties serial).
Stock footage from several earlier Republic serials was reused to pad out Disc Man in order to lower its production costs. This includes the rocket crash from The Purple Monster Strikes, a car chase from Secret Service in Darkest Africa, and various scenes from G-Men vs. the Black Dragon.
All special effects in this serial were produced by the Lydecker brothers, the in-house duo who designed most of Republic's special effects.
A 75-minute feature film version, created by editing the serial footage together, was released on March 28, 1958 under the new title Missile Monsters. It was one of 14 feature films Republic made from their serials.
- Mathis 1995, pp. 3, 10, 122–123.
- Weiss and Goodgold 1973, p. 305.
- Cline 1984, p. 251.
- Stedman 1971, pp. 140–141.
- Harmon and Glut 1973, pp. 55–56.
- Cline, William C. ""Filmography". In the Nick of Time. New York: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
- Harmon, Jim and Donald F. Glut. "2. "We Come from 'Earth', Don't You Understand?". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. New York: Routledge Publishing, 1973. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
- Mathis, Jack. Valley of the Cliffhangers Supplement. South Barrington, Illinois: Jack Mathis Advertising, 1995. ISBN 0-9632878-1-8.
- Stedman, Raymond William. "5. Shazam and Good-by". Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971. ISBN 978-0-8061-0927-5.
- Weiss, Ken and Ed Goodgold. To be Continued ...: A Complete Guide to Motion Picture Serials. New York: Bonanza Books, 1973. ISBN 0-517-166259.