The Phantom Planet
|The Phantom Planet|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Marshall|
|Produced by||Fred Gebhardt|
|Screenplay by||William Telaak
Fred De Gorter
|Story by||Fred Gebhardt|
Francis X. Bushman
|Music by||Leith Stevens|
|Cinematography||Elwood J. Nicholson|
|Editing by||Hugo Grimaldi|
|Studio||Four Crown Productions Inc.|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Running time||90 minutes|
In the future world of 1980 the United States Air Force's Space Exploration Wing has bases on the moon and is on the eve of a mission to Mars. When one of their Pegasus spacecraft with two crew members aboard mysteriously disappears, Mars mission pilot Captain Frank Chapman and his navigator Lt. Ray Makonnen are sent to search for them in their own Pegasus craft.
During their search their ship receives minor damage from a meteor shower that both men go outside to repair. However, a small bullet sized particle pierces Chapman's suit that sends him into unconsciousness. Makonnen is able to repair Chapman's suit but as he opens the door to push Chapman inside he is fatally struck by a similar particle. Makonnen's last act before he is propelled into deep space is to close the door with Chapman safely inside the ship.
Chapman awakes to find Makonnen gone and unable to communicate with the lunar base. He leaves a diary message of the preceding events concluding that he is going to land on an asteroid that has somehow pulled his ship in to it.
Exiting his ship but still feeling the effects of his unconsciousness, he passes out and sees small humans about six inches in size approaching him. Once the visor of his helmet is opened, Chapman is able to breath but due to the planet's unusual atmosphere, he is also shrunk to six inches in size. He is placed on trial for attacking Herron, one of the small people. Sesom, the leader of Rheton, the name of the planetoid that Chapman has landed on, explains that though he will have all the rights of an inhabitant of Rheton, he can never leave and his ship has been sent back into space whilst he slept. Sesom explains that though his craft was brought safely down by their tractor beam the preceding craft wasn't and was destroyed with its crew in a crash.
Chapman meets two beautiful women Liara and the mute Zetha who welcome him and answer his many questions. Chapman decides to help the inhabitants of the planet battle an invading race of monsters known as the Solarites who come from a planet orbiting the sun.
- Dean Fredericks as Capt. Frank Chapman
- Coleen Gray as Liara
- Anthony Dexter as Herron
- Francis X. Bushman as Sessom
- Jimmy Weldon as Lt. Webb
- Dolores Faith as Zetha
- Richard Weber as Lt. Ray Makonnen
- Al Jarvis as Judge Eden
- Dick Haynes as Col. Lansfield
- Earl McDaniels as Capt. Leonard
- Mike Marshall as Lt. White
- Richard Kiel as The Solarite
- Merissa Mathes as Juro
Director William Marshall, a former actor, had previously made two films with Errol Flynn, Hello God and Adventures of Captain Fabian. His son Mike Marshall made his debut in the film. His screenwriter and co-producer Fred Gebhardt had previously produced and wrote 12 to the Moon a 1960 Columbia Pictures release. Star Dean Fredericks had just finished the lead in the Steve Canyon television series.
- The original cut of The Phantom Planet has had multiple "bargain bin" releases.
- The MST3K version of the film was released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Collection, Volume 8 DVD set.
- A colorized version was released by Legend Films.
The rock group Phantom Planet took their name from the film.