Has anyone seen "Planet of Storms"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Arun Vajpey, Oct 13, 2002.

  1. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi everyone!
    Have any of you seen or know about a 1962 Russian Sci-fi film called "PLANET OF STORMS" (aka STORM PLANET)? It is mentioned on IMDB, but there are very few Western reviews. I understand that it is a very good film and so, I hope that it will be released on DVD someday. If anyone has seen or know about this film, please reply with a mini-review.
     
  2. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    I have! It's a favorite of mine. Known as Planeta Burg, or Planeta Bura in Russian (I've heard both) which, yes, translates into Planet of Storms.
    The story is pretty basic. Russian Cosmonauts travel to Venus and encounter danger and peril, and maybe...life? There also a subplot with their retrieval ship in orbit and the problems with it. I'm not doing a very good job of communicating the story, but it's very well done, with really great production design (esp. the "hover car" they travel in on the planet's surface and a great robot). It has a wonderfully haunting, mysterious ending.
    So much for my storytelling skills. Do you know the somewhat convoluted history of this film here in the states? Roger Corman and AIP bought the film and used the footage in not one, but TWO movies. Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet was the first, with additional scenes of Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue shot by Curtis Harrington and edited in with footage from Planeta Burg. The resultant movie was released to TV.
    The second movie using footage from it was Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women and utilizes new footage with Mamie Van Doren (!), shot by Peter Bogdanovich (under the Pseudonym Derek Thomas) (!!). I believe this was the version I saw on American TV as a kid.
    Not surprisingly, I remember nothing about the new, US shot scenes, but had vivid memories of the orig. ones. The most vivid was where two of the cosmonauts use the robot to transport them across a knee-deep river of lava, climbing onto him; one in each arm, as it were. About half way across, the robot stops and informs them that because it's sensors are reporting excessive weight inhibiting it's movement, it will now have to relieve itself of said weight, meaning one of the men! The robot begins attempting to extract one of the guys from his back, as the cosmonaut tries to hold on for dear life! It's a harrowing scene, and I loved it as a kid. Very suspenseful!
    Anyway, the only source I know of this great SF film is Sinister Cinema, a small video company here in the states. I have their VHS which is not bad, but the colors are faded. They claim the film cans of their print (their's IS from film and not just a boot) are addressed to Roger Corman and AIP, so this print was surely the one used to make the American versions.
    Sinister Cinema has started to put stuff out on DVD-R's, so it's possible they will eventually put this out. It's definitely worth getting, even on VHS.
    http://www.sinistercinema.com/
     
  3. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Arun Vajpey wrote:


    Quote:



    If anyone has seen or know about [Planet of Storms], please reply with a mini-review.





    Sorry, haven't seen it, so can't review. Have seen some of the footage, rights to which were apparently purchased by Roger Corman and re-used in such AIP "hits" as Queen/Planet of Blood (1966), Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965), and(?) Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968).

    You might want to check out the following, if you haven't already:

    (a) Hal Erickson's short synopsis at All-Movie Guide site. It probably doesn't tell you anything you don't already know.

    Note the original title Planeta Bur and its alternates:

    Cosmonauts on Venus
    Planet of Storms
    Planet of Tempests
    Storm Planet
    .

    (b) Daniel Tomek's Destination Moon - Planet of Storms comparative essay (for those who read Czech).

    (c) Russian sf fandom page "Historiia Fendom (Russian fantasy)" captures of this and other science-fiction films, such as The Amphibian-Man ( = Chelovek-Amfibiia) (1962), War of the Worlds (1953), Forbidden Planet (1956), Godzilla (1956), and outtakes from Buster Crabbe's 1930s "Flash Gordon" serials. Pictures #2, 10, 13 ---look for the date "1962"---are taken from Planeta Bur.

    Planeta Bur seems to be a much referenced, but little discussed film.
     
  4. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    The stuff in Queen of Blood is from a different Russian film, though not sure off hand which. It has the look of another production of "The Leningrad Studio of Popular Science Films" (which, according to The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film is who made Planeta Burg). It's weird scenes of an alien planet and a space flight of the alien civilization's. Seems like this alien planet sends a ship out to explore, but something goes wrong and imperils the crew; or somethin'. Really spectacular stuff; would love to see the orig. Russian film.
    Of course in Queen of Blood, we send a ship to rescue the crew member and she turns out to be a space vampiress (yikes!). I have no idea if this was at all similiar to the orig. Russian story line; I kinda' doubt it. Basil Rathbone is featured in both QoB and Voyage to a Prehistoric Planet. I think he managed to steer clear of Mamie Van Doran and the rest of her Planet of Prehistoric Women.
    I saw somewhere a interview that special FX guys Robert and Dennis Skotak did with the Russian guy who had done the FX for these films. He was living in a little Russian apt. and the Skotak bros. actually went over to Russia to meet him. Robt. Skotak was supposedly writing a book (similiar to his one on Ib Melchior) on this fella; I know he did a multi-issue article in Filmfax magazine on him. Wish I'd bought those issues now.
    I'm approaching the limits of my humble knowledge of Planeta Burg! Need to watch my tape again.
     
  5. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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  6. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Jim for the excellent review and info therein. Now I want to get this film more than ever! I'll try at that site you mention. Thanks again.
     

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