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Robinson Crusoe on Mars (The Criterion Collection)


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Robinson Crusoe on Mars (The Criterion Collection) + The Time Machine + War Of The Worlds, The (1953)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin, Adam West, The Woolly Monkey
  • Directors: Byron Haskin
  • Writers: Daniel Defoe, Ib Melchior, John C. Higgins
  • Producers: Aubrey Schenck, Edwin F. Zabel
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2007
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000SFJ4K4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,893 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Robinson Crusoe on Mars (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Special-effects wunderkind and genre master Byron Haskin (The War of the Worlds, The Outer Limits) won a place in the hearts of fantasy-film lovers everywhere with this gorgeously designed journey into the unknown. When his spaceship crash-lands on the barren wastelands of Mars, U.S. astronaut Commander "Kit" Draper (Paul Mantee) must fight for survival, with a pet monkey seemingly his only companion. But is he alone? Shot in vast Techniscope and blazing Technicolor, Robinson Crusoe on Mars is an imaginative and beloved techni-marvel of classic science fiction.

Amazon.com

Although it is a thoughtful and surprisingly nonexploitative movie, the title Robinson Crusoe on Mars might conjure up unholy echoes of cross-pollinated genre movies such as Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Well, don't worry. This 1964 space epic is in fact an adaptation of the classic Daniel Defoe novel, and it plays fair by logic and science. After his spaceship crash-lands on Mars, astronaut Paul Mantee must figure out how to survive on the hostile planet (shot mostly in Death Valley), aided only by a monkey from his ship. Director Byron (The War of the Worlds) Haskin's sober approach brings a refreshing emphasis to issues of survival--how many space travel movies have you seen where the traveler tests the air of a distant planet and discovers that, by George, he can breathe just fine? Not this one. Mantee's desperate methods of tracking his air flow and experimenting with methods of breathing are painstakingly explored, and seem like exactly the kind of problems a real planetary voyager would encounter. The second half of the picture cleverly blends Defoe's plot with sci-fi conventions, and the movie never does "dumb down."

The Criterion Collection's DVD of Robinson Crusoe on Mars is a handsome treatment of a minor classic. A commentary track stitches together comments from a variety of participants, including Mantee, Haskin (in a 1979 interview), and original screenwriter Ib Melchior (disagreements between Haskin and Melchoir are included). A featurette, Destination--Mars gives some of the "science fact" behind the movie, and excerpts from Melchoir's original treatment show suggest changes made. And a "music video" puts movie clips alongside a song written and performed by co-star Victor Lundin, a number he developed for his appearances at sci-fi conventions. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

The special effects were very good for the time.
Mjr58
I've seen this movie many times over the years; watching yet again was still enjoyable as ever.
P. Houle
This is one of the best early science fiction movies ever made.
Dee Richards

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 160 people found the following review helpful By C. Cervenka on June 25, 2007
Format: DVD
Robinson Crusoe On Mars is one of those films that makes you long for yester-year.

For those who love the older science fiction films with their wide eyed view of the future of science and space, or those who just love a good solo adventure into the wild, this is one of the more well made films from the Sci Fi 60s (the film also has an appearance from the soon-to-be TV Batman, Adam West). With a wonderful imagining of Mars and some War Of The Worlds like space ships (no wonder as Worlds Byron Haskin helmed this as well) this film is a great addition to any movie buffs library. If you like Forbbiden Planet, this will be right up your alley.

Criterion had offered this on Laserdisc and has been an expensive re-sell on Ebay over the years (between $100 and $200). But now you can own a much better transfer of the film with a few extra features! I have been awaiting this DVD release from them for a long time so this is my Criterion disc of the year!
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99 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Alan Caylow on July 29, 2007
Format: DVD
I must echo my fellow reviewers on this one: "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" on DVD....FINALLY!!! This has been a longtime favorite movie of mine. I used to watch it all the time on TV as a kid, and I still love it now. As the title suggests, this 1964 sci-fi classic is the "Robinson Crusoe" story set on Mars, with the tale of one astronaut's survival on an alien world. Like "2001," "Forbidden Planet," "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "Solaris" (the original "Solaris," NOT the god-awful remake with George Clooney), "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" is an *intelligent* sci-fi movie. It's well-written, beautifully shot, expertly directed by Byron Haskin, and acted quite strongly by a very effective trio of actors: Paul Mantee as the stranded astronaut, Victor Lundin as the alien whom our hero names Friday, and Adam West (of "Batman" fame) as a fellow astronaut (even though West's role is basically a cameo). And the movie also features THE most adorable little monkey in the history of cinema, Mona. I'm absolutely delighted to see this sci-fi classic get the DVD treatment at last. And the fact that it's being put out by Criterion is even better! (They also did a marvelous job with "Solaris" too, I must admit.) "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" is one of the sci-fi greats, a very special movie that anyone, even non sci-fi fans, can enjoy. I can't wait to get it!
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By T. Hawkes on January 29, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I am writing this review to tell everyone just how good this film looks on Blu-Ray. As far as I can see today, there are no other reviews here for the Blu-Ray version of the film (I saw just one review from a guy who seems to think the aspect ratio on Blu-Ray is wrong....it's not....in fact it looks more accurate than the DVD in terms of the anamorphic transfer).

Before I give a few details, I feel I have to say that I just love this film. The 5-star rating is for the film. I also give the Blu-Ray top marks (4+) considering the source material. I have enjoyed this movie since I was a kid and saw it on TV in the late 1960s and 70s. So, naturally, I have a rather soft spot in my heart for the film itself. The day I found it on LaserDisc (about 1990 I think) was a happy day indeed. I bought the DVD when it was released a few years and I was happy with it, too. The Criterion material is almost the same on each three versions (not exactly the same, but I won't recount the details here because if you want to see this move in all its glory, then you will want the Blu-Ray regardless of its lack of a few extras that were on the LaserDisc).

The really good news is that this film has never looked so good! I bet it even looks better than it did when it was projected in theatres over 47 years ago. Yes, the film stock is a bit grainy (just as it was in the DVD format) due to the film stock used in 1963. The picture is much clearer, brighter, and has far better color fidelity than the DVD. The transfer of this old film onto this modern high-resolution format (1080p/24) is rather amazing, I must say. I will even admit that seeing it look this good brought a lump to my throat when I thought of all the times I watched it on a small black and white TV.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Kathy on July 10, 2007
Format: DVD
Information on this disc straight from Criterion's website

Special Features:

- New, restored high-definition digital transfer

- Audio commentary featuring screenwriter Ib Melchior, actors Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin, production designer Al Nozaki, Oscar-winning special effects designer and Robinson Crusoe on Mars historian Robert Skotak, and excerpts from a 1979 audio interview with director Byron Haskin

- Destination: Mars, a new video featurette by Michael Lennick detailing the science behind Robinson Crusoe on Mars

- Excerpts from Melchior's original screenplay

- New music video for Victor Lundin's song "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"

- Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos, production designs, and promotional material

- Theatrical trailer

- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by filmmaker and space historian Michael Lennick, Melchior's "Brief Yargorian Dictionary" of original alien dialect, and a list of facts about Mars from his original screenplay

The Transfer:

"Robinson Crusoe on Mars is presented in its original Techniscope aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Black bars at the top and bottom of the screen are normal for this format. This new high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit 4K Datacine from the 35mm 2-perforation A/B interpositive struck from the original negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, and scratches were removed using the MTI Digital Restoration System. To maintain optimal image quality through the compression process, the picture on this dual-layer DVD-9 was encoded at the highest-possible bit rate for the quantity of material included.
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