Stranger from Venus

Stranger from Venus (a.k.a. Immediate Disaster and The Venusian in the United States) is a 1954 independently made British black-and-white science fiction film, produced by Burt Balaban (who also directed), Gene Martel, and Roy Rich, that stars Patricia Neal and Helmut Dantine.[1]

Stranger from Venus
DVD cover
Directed byBurt Balaban
Produced byBurt Balaban
Gene Martel
Roy Rich
Written byDesmond Leslie (story)
Hans Jacoby (writer)
StarringPatricia Neal and Helmut Dantine
Music byEric Spear
CinematographyKenneth Talbot
Edited byPeter R. Hunt
Production
company
Princess Pictures Inc
Release date
31 December 1954
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom, United States
LanguageEnglish

Plot

A flying saucer is seen in the sky above the British countryside by various eyewitnesses, including an American woman driving in her car. She crashes after being blinded by the craft's landing lights and deafened by its loud propulsion system. A stranger walks up to the car and sees that she is injured.

The stranger (Helmut Dantine) later enters a country inn very near where the sighting and accident took place. He is able to read people's thoughts, and when asked says he has no name. He also asserts that he is responsible for saving the life of Susan North (Patricia Neal), the car accident victim. She later walks into the inn a little dazed, but with her crash wounds nearly healed. After the mysterious stranger explains that he comes from the planet Venus, a guest at the inn, Arthur Walker (Derek Bond), a high-ranking government official (and Susan's fiancé), calls the war ministry. With permission, Dr Meinard (Cyril Luckham) examines the stranger from Venus and says that he has no detectable pulse. The area surrounding the inn is quickly cordoned-off by the government.

Journalist Charles Dixon (Kenneth Edwards) tries to learn more about the man from Venus. Dixon discovers that the stranger is able to speak multiple human languages, and that his people have learned quite a bit about humanity by listening to our radio broadcasts and viewing our television transmissions. He also explains how Venusians use 'magnetic brilliance' for their spaceship propulsion, supplied by the magnetic energy fields of the other planets as they revolve in their various orbits.

When governmental officials arrive at the inn, the man from Venus outlines his purpose for coming to Earth: to prepare the way for the arrival of his superiors, who have a dire warning for humanity's leaders. Humans are developing dangerous technologies without measuring their long term destructive consequences, such as nuclear explosions, creating very dangerous magnetic field effects that threaten Venus and the other planets in the solar system. Should fifty hydrogen bombs be exploded in the same general location during a future atomic war, they could alter the Earth's orbit, thereby affecting its gravitational field. This disruption would then affect the orbits and gravitational fields of all the other planets in the solar system. The stranger makes a promise that if Earth eliminates these dangers, Venus will share some of its higher scientific knowledge with our scientists. During the meeting, however, the man from Venus concludes that humanity is not yet ready to receive such advanced knowledge.

After his communication disc is stolen, which allows him to contact the approaching Venusian ship, the stranger quickly realizes that an interplanetary meeting of minds can never take place. He also learns that such a meeting will be turned into a trap by the British government, to seize the Venusian ship for its advanced space technology.

Should the government carry out this warlike action, the stranger assures Walker that an immediate retaliation from an orbiting Venusian mothership would terminate all life in Britain. Walker tries to warn the war ministry, without success, but he returns the stolen communication disc, and the stranger is able to warn away the approaching scout ship. An interplanetary conflict is avoided, but discussion with Earth's leaders has been derailed by the British government's short-sighted play for Venusian technology. The future now uncertain, and his peaceful mission a failure, the stranger from Venus says farewell to Susan North, the woman that he saved, and vanishes without a trace.

Cast

US theatrical and television releases

The film was released theatrically in the UK and in other countries under the title Stranger from Venus and Immediate Disaster. In the U.S. it was only released to television by Flamingo Telefilm out of New York City under the title Immediate Disaster. This was because of the possibility of legal action from 20th Century Fox. This was due to it being similar in plot to the earlier Patricia Neal film The Day the Earth Stood Still, which in 1954 was still in theatrical re-release.

The rights were sold to Wade Williams Distribution, and the film was made available theatrically under the title Stranger from Venus. It has been licensed for home use for several decades, both on VHS and DVD.

Home media

Stranger from Venus was released on VHS by Englewood Entertainment. On September 5, 2000, Image Entertainment released the film on Region 1 DVD.

See also

  • The Day the Earth Stood Still

References

Bibliography

  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009 (First Edition 1982). ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
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