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Flying Disc Man from Mars (1950) - Blu-ray Review

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Flying Disc Man From Mars - Blu-ray Review

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3 beersWhile considered a rather weak film serial when compared to other flicks of the era, Flying Disc Man from Mars – a 12-part science fiction offering from Republic – is a solid example of just how silly and fun the format was for moviegoers.  Olive Films, who released The Invisible Monster about a month ago, return to the serial and offer another 12-part serial from 1950 with this release on blu-ray.

There’s nothing serious about this attempt to cash in on the growing interest in visitors from space and yet seeing Walter Reed bail out of any and every vehicle he is in at the end of each episode certainly becomes addictive.  Ludicrous, I know.  Just go with it because the cliffhangers ARE the main course.  You know Reed survives but how he survives is the real magic…he’s usually unscathed. 

Starring Reed, Lois Collier, Gregory Gaye, James Craven, and Harry Lauter, Flying Disc Man from Mars is what happens when Martians decide to crash land right smack in the middle of Earth’s humanity party over a proliferation of atomic power abuse.  Thwarted at every turn by Reed, the invaders finally give up their Nazi-themed partnership and return to the skies. 

Under director Fred C. Brannon’s guide and producer Franklin Adreon’s dime, the serial operates as its own beast with plenty of fists flying and as a sequel to 1946’s The Purple Monster Strikes.  If you suspect that the concept of invaders from Mars is the serial’s high-water mark, you’d be correct.  Much of Flying Disc Man from Mars is science fiction distraction and, yes, routine.   That’s the serial format at work.  There’s a cliffhanger every 10 or 12 minutes, credits roll, and we soldier on to the next chapter.  Once this routine is established, there’s little more to appreciate than the science fiction concept that started the entire ordeal. 

Written by Ronald Davidson and scored by Stanley Wilson, Flying Disc Man from Mars is orchestrated nonsense but it’s never a meandering mess of plot points and cliffhangers.  Of course, as I stated earlier, it is the hair-raising cliffhangers that seal the deal on this one earning a favorable score.  Full of tension and mounting walls of suspense, they are the best part of this space-aged serial.  Coming in at a close second is Craven as the scientist turned rogue as his character embarks on a sudden career of evil after being inspired by the lead Martian and it plays out beautifully for him; this is easily his best role. 

The serial market is virtually untapped in the HD world and, while the quality of serials are sometimes wafer thin, hope springs eternal that more serials on blu-ray will follow.

Flying Disc Man From Mars - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated
Runtime:
136 mins
Director
: Fred C. Brannon
Writer:
Ronald Davidson
Cast: 
Walter Reed, Lois Collier, Gregory Gaye
Genre
: Fantasy | Sci-fi
Tagline: 
ELECTRIFYING SERIAL ENTERTAINMENT!
Memorable Movie Quote: "You know, I've never flown one of these things before."
Distributor:
Repiblic Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 25, 1950
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 27, 2015
Synopsis: A single-handed hero sets himself against Martians trying to assume control of Earth.

Flying Disc Man From Mars - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 27, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
 English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

The serial is presented with a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer using an aspect ratio of 1.69:1.  The black-and-white serial is surprisingly clean given the age of the film, without any over-processing lending the picture an artificial appearance.  Certainly, despite the clarity of the presentation, the film is still allowed to breathe and retains a level of grain that ensures an authentic and credible appearance.  Even dark scenes are rarely problematic, with the blacks proving extremely solid.  The audio is presented in Linear PCM 2.0 mono track.  

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None

 

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