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Robinson Crusoe On Mars (Criterion) [Blu-Ray]

Paul Mantee , Victor Lundin , Byron Haskin    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product Description

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. Robinson Crusoe on Mars tells the story of U.S. astronaut Commander “Kit” Draper (Paul Mantee), who must fight for survival when his spaceship crash-lands on the barren waste of Mars, a pet monkey his only companion. But is he actually alone? Shot in vast Techniscope and blazing color, this is an imaginative and beloved marvel of classic science fiction.


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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sci-fi film of its era Jan. 21 2009
Format:DVD
Much like 'The Day The Earth Stood Still', this superb sci-fi movie was not truly appreciated until decades after it first came out.

Admittedly, liberties are taken with several fundamental laws of physics. But in every other way, this is a wonder-full classic film that takes itself just seriously enough, while retaining a sense of optimism and humour in the face of some pretty grim adversity. Credit for this is due to the atypical-for-the-genre muted performances by all (even the monkey!), the beautiful cinematrophic elements, and well-paced direction.

Everyone in front of and behind the camera was at their best on this film, the writing and dialogue (or lack of it for much of the film) are faceted and intelligent, and what got done with the tiny SFX budget is a miracle. I find myself getting totally involved, no matter how many times I've seen this film.

When all the news seems dark, and everyone is turning to hopeful optimism while confronting difficult times ahead, this film pays tribute to the human will, spirit and determination to overcome the obstacles life always brings with it.

This movie can be enjoyed by and is suitable for all family members.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "B" scifi w/ great special effects April 10 2011
By Marcia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Robinson Crusoe On Mars (Criterion) (Blu-Ray) Suprised Criterion remastered 'cause they usually only do art or cult films. Plot simplistic, science iffy, but for 1964 the colour is phenomenal. Watch it for the colur, not for the acting or the plot. Watch it if you like "B" scifi from the 50's and '60's. Do not buy it if you want an intricate storyline or great acting. I regret the purchase. Somehow it was better in the '60's when i was "stoned immaculate". Journey to the Center of the Earth w/ James Mason had equally great fantasy and colour, but it also had great acting and a more believable story. Rentthis one first.
DVD: restored hi-def digital transfer; uncompressed monoral sound.
Special Features: audio commentary w/ screenwriter Ib Melchior, actors Paul Manteee and Victor Lundin, oscar-winning special effects designer Robert Skotak, and excerpts from '79 interview w/ director Byron Haskin. Destination Mars, video featurette. Music video w/ Lundin's song. Stills gallery. Trailer. Plus booklet by Melchoir w/ glossary of alien dialect and facts about Mars from his original screenplay.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally available on DVD Oct. 4 2007
Format:DVD
item reviewed: Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), Criterion Collection DVD edition (2007)

This was a joy to find available once again. Criterion was also the last company to release RCOM on laserdisc in the early 1990s, but it has been out of print since then and very costly to buy used. We have been treated to a host of bonus features, including music, audio commentary, and a featurette on the making of the film. The widescreen aspect ratio restores the original film to its colorful glory.

If you enjoyed films like Marooned (1969) with its realism, or Enemy Mine (1985) with its tale of a man crashed on an inhospitable planet, then this will appeal to you.

Language: Eng. only, Eng. subtitles. No foreign-language options.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars courage in hopeless circumstances Sept. 13 2007
Format:DVD
An astronaut searches for food and water after an orbital mission to Mars crashes on the surface of the planet. Obviously low budget film rises above the B-grade norm with sympathetic main performance, good pace and signs of intelligence in the plot.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  251 reviews
151 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sci Fi gets the treatment! June 25 2007
By C. Cervenka - Published on Amazon.com
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!
95 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robinson Crusoe On Mars...On DVD!!! July 29 2007
By Alan Caylow - Published on Amazon.com
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!
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review of the Blu-Ray version...with some comments on the film Jan. 29 2011
By T. Hawkes - Published on Amazon.com
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.

I compared the Blu-Ray to the DVD using a Playstation3. The exceptional transfer to Blu-Ray does mean that you can see the small flaws in the optical effects (for example when the fireballs move across the screen or when the character "watches" movies of how to find water on another planet or when he's taking a swim in the underground pool Mona finds). That's a small price to pay, so to speak, for the wonderful look of the rest of the film. The skyline views of Mars are just magnificent--the dark, starry sky against the reddish atmosphere, the daytime shots....wow, in Blu-Ray the film's many wonderful vista shots are almost breathtaking. I know, I know. I sound breathless. I am. Bringing this movie to Blu-Ray so soon after the long-awaited DVD release is a real gift and, I think, a wonderful tribute to this wonderful old film. Of course, the price of both the DVD and Blu-Ray are high (they are, after all, Criterion products). But, if you're a fan of films like this one, you know the high price is justified. If you own the DVD version, buying the Blu-Ray will not be money wasted.

I will also mention that I own a high-end 60-inch rear projection set (Sony's KDS series which is no longer made) and a high-end 52-inch LCD set (Sony's XBR9 series). The film actually looks best on my projection set, but then I'm partial to most films on it rather than on LCD. Oh, and if anyone does review this Blu-Ray and tries to assert that it's not that much better than the DVD, then you can be sure he/she has an inferior TV that is incapable of showing the difference between the two (oh, if I had a nickel for every such review I have read on Amazon I'd be able to buy copies of this Blu-Ray dics for all my friends!).

In summary, if you are wondering whether to buy this film on Blu-Ray, I say the answer is YES. Buy it. Enjoy it. Show it to your family, friends, even the whole neighborhood. There's so much crap being produced nowadays (i.e., repetitive special effects instead of a good story or poor remakes or "reimaginings" like "The Day the Earth Stood Still"). I think it's refreshing to watch a good, old movie that was a valid, even valiant, effort to be a "scientifically-accurate" (with what was known about Mars at the time) adventure tale that was at least loosely based on the famous Dafoe novel. (I do like that "Friday" in this version comes from a more-advanced technology, not a less-advanced one like the novel.)

Oh, and if you want to buy--or even borrow--my LaserDisc, it's not for sale or to lend. <grin>

If you found this review to be helpful, or even amusing, please leave a comment. Thanks.
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! July 10 2007
By Kathy - Published on Amazon.com
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.

The soundtrack was mastered at 24-bit from a 35mm magnetic full coat master three track, and audio restoration tools were used to reduce clicks, pops, hiss, and crackle. The Dolby Digital 1.0 signal will be directed to the center channel on surround sound systems, but some viewers may prefer to switch to two-channel playback for a wider dispersal of the mono sound."

I'm a little disappointed that it appears that Adam West wasn't even interviewed for this release. But it's good to have this one on DVD at long last.

When you think of all the crap Paramount has released while this sat on the shelf....
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very cool and it's about time! July 8 2007
By Greg Horn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Been a long wait to see this DVD released, but it's great to know it's a Criterion release so it should be awesome! I love this movie, very hard script to keep the audience engaged with so few actors but it works. Very engaging story line, well done special effects and the overall feel of the movie make this a 5 star classic sci fi must see!
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