Italian Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Antonio Margheriti|
|Music by||Lelio Luttazzi|
Space-Men (a.k.a. Assignment: Outer Space) is a 1960 Italian science fiction film directed by Antonio Margheriti. The film stars Rik Van Nutter and co-stars Gabriella Farinon, David Montresor, Archie Savage, and Alain Dijon.
Space-Men's storyline recounts a mission in the 22nd century aboard a space station. The mission involves a risky effort by its crew to redirect a malfunctioning spaceship that threatens to destroy the Earth.
In 2116 Interplanetary Chronicle of New York reporter Ray Peterson (Rik Van Nutter), launched in Bravo Zulu 88, joins the crew of an orbiting space station. Peterson is assigned to write a story about the infra-radiation flux in Galaxy M12. While on the space station, tension mounts between Peterson and the station commander (David Montresor). The commander believes the reporter is in the way, calling him a "leech", but has orders to leave him alone. A complication arises when Lucy (Gabriella Farinon), the station botanist and navigator, is attracted to both the commanding officer and Peterson.
When errant spaceship Spaceship Alpha Two enters the solar system, as it approaches closer to the Earth, its photon generators radiate enough heat to destroy the planet. In efforts to intercept Alpha Two, Sullivan (Franco Fantasia), a crew member, sacrifices himself in a futile attempt, and space station pilot Al (Archie Savage) also fails in an aborted attempt to shoot the spaceship with a missile.
With the two crew members dying in their attempt to destroy Alpha Two, Peterson decides to use Space Taxi B91 to fly to the spaceship. His goal is to enter the spaceship and disarm the generators. When inside, he is directed to disable the computers that run the spaceship and shut down all power sources, but finds that he is trapped inside when the emergency hatch is also disabled. [Note 1]
Despite orders from the "High Command", not to intervene, The commander and his assistant undertake a dangerous mission to intercept the out-of-control spaceship and rescue Peterson. Reaching the reporter as he is slumps to the floor, the rescuers bring back him back to the space station. With the stricken spaceship redirected away from the Earth, Peterson wins Lucy's affection and the commander's respect.
- Rik Van Nutter as Ray Peterson (IZ41)
- Gabriella Farinon as Lucy (Y13) (credited as Gaby Farinon in Assignment: Outer Space)
- David Montresor as George the Commander
- Archie Savage as Al (X15)
- Alain Dijon as Archie (Y16)
- Franco Fantasia as Sullivan
- Joe Pollini as King 116
- David Maran as Davis
- José Néstor as Venus Commander
- Anita Todesco as Venus Control
- Aldo Pini as Jacson
Director Antonio Margheriti had read science fiction comic books since a young age, and when he was offered to direct a science fiction film, he immediately seized the opportunity. Space-Men was his first full directoral effort, with Margheriti going on to direct 55 films.
Space-Men was made from a script written by Margheriti and Ennio De Concini. The film was shot at the same time director Mario Bava was filming Black Sunday on a sound stage the next door. Margheriti took over the studio work with miniatures that were featured in the outer space segments.
In Phil Hardy's book Science Fiction: Complete Film Source Book (1984), Space-Men was described as "... not one of Margheriti's best, the narrative line is unclear and jerky" while also noting that "its visual splendours are ample compensation." 
- List of films in the public domain
- List of science fiction films of the 1960s
- List of Italian films of 1960
- The film describes automatic functions on the spaceships being controlled by an "electric brain" or "electronic brain", using both terms interchangeably.
- "Space Men" (Italian). Archivo del cinema Italiano. Retrieved: 4 August 2015.
- ""Assignment: Outer Space."". American Film Institute. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
- Hardy 1984, p. 203.
- Fischer 2011, p. 423.
- Paul 2004, p. 159.
- Lucas, Tim. " Commentary by Tim Lucas (time: 4:38)." Blu-ray: 'Assignment: Outer Space' FCD756, Arrow Films, 2013.
- Fischer, Dennis. Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895-1998. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2011. ISBN 0786485051.
- Hardy, Phil (ed.). Science Fiction: The Complete Film Sourcebook. New York: Morrow, 1984. ISBN 0-688-00842-9.
- Paul, Louis. Italian Horror Film Directors. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7864-8749-3.