El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras [Planet of the Women Invaders]

(Estudios Américas-Prods. Corsa, 1965) Prod: Emilio Gómez Muriel; Dir: Alfredo B. Crevenna; Scr: Emilio Gómez Muriel, Alfredo Ruanova; Story: Alfredo Ruanova; Photo: Alfredo Uribe; Music: Antonio Díaz Conde; Prod Mgr: Daniel Bautista; Asst Dir: Fernando Durán; Film Ed: Raúl J. Casso; Art Dir: Arcadi Artis Gener; Camera Op: Roberto Jaramillo; Makeup: Antonio Ramírez; Dialog Rec: Consuelo J. Rendón; Music/Re-rec: Heinrich Henkel; Recording: Víctor Rojo; Union: STIC

CAST: Lorena Velázquez (Adastrea; Alburnia), Elizabeth Campbell (Martesia), Maura Monti (Eritrea), Guillermo Murray (Daniel Wolf), Adriana Roel (Silvia), Rogelio Guerra (Marcos Godoy), José Angel Espinosa "Ferrusquilla" (Taquito King), Raúl Ramírez (Toño), Ethel Carrillo (Desinea), Graciela Doring (kidnaped wife), Guillermo Alvarez Bianchi (kidnaped fat man), José Chávez Trowe (Beto), Enrique Ramírez (Ramón), Aaron Hernán (kidnaped husband), Mónica Miguel (Fitia), Felipe de Flores (teacher), "Picoro" (ring announcer)

NOTES: El planeta de las mujeres invasoras is a sequel of sorts to Gigantes planetarios, filmed with some of the same cast (in the same roles) immediately before this film. However, Planeta really owes more to films such as Queen of Outer Space, Abbott and Costello go to Mars, and the Flash Gordon serials--as well as to the television series "The Outer Limits"--since most of its plot elements were borrowed from these sources (although Maura Monti's character name was obviously borrowed from an atlas, since she is named after a region of North Africa). The film also strongly resembles 1966's Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs. la invasión de los marcianos, directed by Crevenna the following year, although the Santo film was more entertaining.

A flying saucer (a pretty good model) lands near an amusement park. Two attractive alien women leave the ship and enter a "space ride" which--coincidentally--looks exactly like their saucer. Dispatching the two operators of the ride with their ray guns, they substitute their ship for the fake one. The next night, a number of people board the ship, thinking it is part of the carnival: included in the passengers are a man (Aaron Hernán, who was similarly kidnaped by aliens the following year in Santo vs. la invasión de los Marcianos), his wife, and their young son; Marcos, a boxer and his friend Silvia; a fat man; and Toño, a crooked gambler whom Marcos has just double-crossed, and his two henchmen Beto and Ramón. The "ride" begins, but as it turns out, the flying saucer is real! The two women aliens tells their unwilling guests that they are being taken to the planet Sibila.

Meanwhile, Marcos' friend Taquito tells scientist Daniel Wolf what happened. Wolf uses a tracking device to follow the flight of the saucer to Sibila; a rocket is prepared so that they can follow.

Sibila is a planet of eternal daylight; the visitors must wear special visors (which look like clear welders' masks) or they will go blind within minutes. Ruling Sibila is the beautiful but evil Adastrea (Lorena Velázquez gets the full star treatment, with soft-focus photography in all of her closeups); she has a twin sister, Alburnia, who is good. When Ramón, one of Toño's men, is killed by the Sibilan guards, his body is used for an experiment. Similarly, when Beto tries to escape, goes blind in the sunlight, and is brought back, his body is used for Adastrea's evil plot: she wants to invade earth, but Sibilans can only breath Earth's atmosphere for a day, before they eventually collapse and die. Using Ramón and Beto's lungs, the women scientists create temporary adaptors.

Alburnia sends Fitia, one of her trusted aides, to earth with a message for Wolf. Eritrea and Martesia follow in another saucer. Fitia can't locate Wolf, and eventually dies as a result of breathing the earth's atmosphere for too long. She can't deliver her message to Wolf, but Wolf and Taquito blast off for Sibila anyway. Eritrea and Martesia stay on earth; they report to Adastrea that their adaptors worked only for a few days. The evil queen has the little boy examined in her lab--apparently, childrens' lungs are better suited for adaptors (the boy is spared, since Adastrea says, "why sacrifice just one when we need so many?"). She has a ray cannon that sends a beam to earth (bouncing it off a satellite) which kills only adults; they use it on the teachers at a school, and Martesia and Eritrea kidnap a bunch of children and take them to their saucer.

Wolf and Taquito arrive on Sibila and pretend to be escaped criminals who want to work with Adastrea. Toño, meanwhile, has really gone over to her side. The good earthlings help Alburnia switch places with Adastrea, thus gaining control of the ray cannon. Wolf uses it to blast Eritrea and Martesia on earth, freeing the children, then wipes out all of Adastrea's women soldiers (all ten or so, which apparently represents the entire population of Sibila). On their way to Wolf's spaceship to return to earth, Adastrea tries to regain the upper hand. Toño shoots Alburnia, but when she dies, her evil twin also perishes. Wolf and his friends blast off for home.

Planeta is generally cheap-looking, but the model spaceships (both the saucer and Wolf's pointy rocket) and miniature landscapes are fairly well done (a couple of shots of the saucer waiting in a "forest" on earth look like they were done in someone's flower bed, but the Sibila landscapes are OK and match the actual rocky exteriors). The plot, as noted above, is a shameless compendium of elements swiped from Hollywood B-films and serials, and doesn't even have a masked hero as a redeeming feature (how much more entertaining it would have been if this film had been combined with Santo y la invasión de los marcianos, since each picture has complementary faults and strengths). Elizabeth Campbell and Maura Monti are basically wasted, with most of the footage going to Velázquez, Guerra, Ramírez and "Ferrusquilla."

However, Planeta and Gigantes Planetarios are practically unique examples of the "space opera" in Mexican cinema, and as such should be given some credit for making the effort.

Posted 31 May 99 by dw45@umail.umd.edu