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  Fire Maidens of Outer Space Dancing QueensBuy this film here.
Year: 1956
Director: Cy Roth
Stars: Anthony Dexter, Susan Shaw, Paul Carpenter, Jacqueline Curtis, Harry Fowler, Sydney Tafler, Rodney Diak, Maya Koumani, Owen Berry, Richard Walter, Norma Arnould, Jan Holden, Sylvia Burrows, Shane Cordell, Ann Elsden, Sonia Martin
Genre: Trash, Science Fiction
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: A passenger aeroplane takes off from New Mexico, then arrives in New York City, but it’s actually heading for the United Kingdom and taking one man there, Luther Blair (Anthony Dexter), who is to work with the British space expedition in a cross-Atlantic endeavour to the thirteenth moon of Jupiter. On arrival in the rural location, he meets the commander of the mission, and talking loudly to hear themselves over the sound of traffic, they discuss their plans in the observatory, with the possibility that as this moon is so Earthlike as far as they can tell from this distance, could there be life on this satellite? The commander then calls in his secretary, who walks along a platform, down the stairs, opens a small gate, walks through, closes it, opens another gate…

…walks through that, closes the gate, pulls up a chair, and sits poised with her shorthand pad to write down what the commander says. Ten seconds later having recorded this message, she stands up, replaces the chair, opens the second gate, walks through, closes it, opens – well, you get the idea. It turns out this was not mere padding out of a flimsy storyline that was running low on action, for the commander watches this secretary intently as she makes her journey then when she is finally out of earshot he leers to Blair that he wonders if there’s any life on the thirteenth moon of Jupiter that looks like her. Then it dawns on you: we were meant to be ogling this conservatively dressed, spectacles-sporting lady.

Naturally, these days you would have to be insane or immeasurably desperate for female company to get any kind of sexual thrill out of such a scene, but this was merely the beginning for director Cy Roth, who was apparently under the mistaken impression that his tale of outer space females carried a considerable erotic charge. This was part of a cycle of nineteen-fifties science fiction would-be epics that featured male astronaut crews encountering communities of nubile maidens amongst the stars, and even with the low standards of them, it had to be somewhere near the worst of the lot; Britain could be proud of leading the way in that field. Talking of fields, that’s where our intrepid explorers land, looking suspiciously like a patch of English woodland. Which is what it was.

After a journey that has seen their stock footage of a Nazi V-2 rocket – sorry, their fancy, ultra-futuristic spaceship travel through an asteroid storm, and then worse than that the crewmen have to amuse themselves in the boredom of getting from A to B which they do by lounging around on their bunks and occasionally checking the control panel, they manage to do what they have been waiting some time for. Light up a round of cigarettes, of course, but after smoking the coffin nails down to the filters they have to face getting some work done, and what do you know out here on this moon exists the lost civilisation of Atlantis? The feminine contingent, at least, as there are but two males, one an old geezer who supposedly rules the place, and another some black clad beast man who resembles a rampant mime artist.

What these ladies really like to do is dance, not cutting a rug to some of that rock ‘n’ roll that had been rumoured from across the Pond, but strains of tasteful classical pieces: they’re the substitute for any hanky-panky the lustful Earthmen might be yearning for, and also for almost anything that might pass for an action sequence. As the Fire Maidens capture our local boys, drugging them, tying them up and whatnot, you have to assume they represented some romantic ideal for somebody, possibly Mr Roth who was responsible for directing, producing and writing this farrago, so he must have been pleased with the way it turned out even if hardly anyone else was. One supposes all that dancing was the best the Maidens, all fraightfully posh English gels, could do for entertainment, their own rather than ours, but in spite of the movie’s camp classic reputation it was something of a chore to sit through to get to the occasional hilarity. Bad movie buffs wouldn’t care, it was worth sitting through the dull bits to note the dirty feet of the Maidens (must have been a dusty studio floor) or titter at these supposed hardnosed scientists reduced to lascivious morons all in the name of progress.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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