‘Stranger From Venus’ 1954

This film is due to be shown on Talking Pictures next week.

‘Stranger From Venus’ is one of the fore runners of the wave of excellent British science fiction films from Hammer Films thhat brought in now familiar names like Terrence Fisher and Val Guest

‘Stranger From Venus’ is not in the same league as some of the films to come, but it is quite an interesting one nonetheless

Patricia Neal had recently married Roald Dahl (with whom she settled in Buckinghamshire to raise a family) and she was offered this part in this British made Sci Fi film

Helmut Dantine
plays the mysterious stranger – Derek Bond is a Government official who alerts the Authorities that an alien has arrived.

The film was made at MGM British Studios at Boreham Wood and filmed in Black and White with a 1 hour 15 minutes running time so I am not sure if this would go out as a second feature

By 1954 the British had entered the science fiction market again after some trepidation, although it was still a genre reserved for cheap knock-offs. However, the hugely popular live TV-series The Quatermass Experiment (1953 ) had left the British public hungry for more. Hammer and small outfits like Gainsborough had started dabbling in the genre with mixed results.

Just like in Devil Girl from Mars, the lion’s part of the proceedings take place in a very British-seeming inn in the middle of nowhere. Young Susan North (Patricia Neal) drives home from a meeting with her friend, and is blinded by a light in the sky, which causes her to crash her car – seemingly to her death. Later the same evening a strange man appears at the inn. We know he is strange because he only drinks water and we just see the back of his head. And he assures Susan’s boyfriend, a government official called Arthur Walker (Derek Bond) that Ms. North is quite alright. And fair enough, she later walks into the inn – her wounds miraculously healed, and with no memory of who or what saved – or resurrected – her.

Turns out the strange visitor, played by Helmut Dantine, is actually a stranger from Venus, in possession of superhuman powers of healing, invulnerability and mind-reading. It turns out he is a scout for a Venusian mothership that has planned to land in ”Britain” to hold a conference with all world leaders to warn them about the dangers of mankind’s newfound discovery of nuclear weapons. He holds a minor conference around the pub table with some dignitaries from the ”British” authorities as a warm-up. He is most interested in working in the inn’s garden, which he finds enchanting.

Patricla Neal: An Unquiet Life, Neal and her husband, famed author Roald Dahl had just bought a summer house in Britain, and needed money to fix it up. Encouraged by Dahl, Neal took the part, as it would only be a couple of weeks’ work in the British summer.

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