Thursday, March 2, 2017

Rocket Attack USA - 1958

Hm.  I wonder why IMDb lists this movie as 1961, then down the page, shows a release date of 1958.  Wikipedia says 1958 also.  No information given about why this would be, and since it felt more to me like 1958 than 1961, I'm changing my entry title to 1958.

Ah, the Cold War.  A time when it seemed whoever had the better technology would decide a lot about the future of the human race.  When the Soviets launched the Sputnik into space as the first satellite, it sent shivers up the spine of many an American.  Someone somewhere thought, you know what we need is awareness.  We need to make Americans feel like they have to act, and they have to act now.  So, a little propaganda film called Rocket Attack USA was green lit, and now almost 60 years later we can look back on it and laugh, as it sits in obscurity on the Sci Fi Invasion boxset.

This movie is one of those simple narrative stories.  John is a secret agent who is sent to Russia to investigate what they're up to.  He has a far less exciting way to get there then than any competent thriller or nail biter, and pretty soon he's in the general area.  In the meantime, we have cutaways to the Russians as they plan the launching of an ICBM attack against the US.  The agent discovers that the Russian leader has an American girl he's banging on the side, and he gets information from her about the space program and the missile status.

Pretty soon, things are coming to a head.  John the spy decides he must go and see for himself.  He sneaks in, and gets spotted.  Perhaps then, it was his own fault when the Russians decide they can't wait, and proceed with their plans to launch the missile.

I was just trying to decide if it was progressive or not to have one of the main characters in the film be a prostitute.  She's the girl that's fucking the Russian man, although it's implied she may be doing it "just to do it" she is in general what the 50's would consider "an immoral person".  Having her front and center could be seen as progressive.  Similarly, they actually give the Russians screen time, and they also aren't pure evil, which goes quite against many other films of this era that I've seen.

Anyhow, all that aside, it's a pretty average flick.  There's a few badly done sequences, particularly one with a blind man who is trying to escape once the ICBM is launched towards the US.  I guess spoilers would be in line here, sorry.  They do launch the missile, and it's implied that the US is destroyed.  So in other words, we dead.  Why do I suddenly have the strong desire to watch some backwoods slasher instead of reviewing this movie?  It's a mystery to anyone.

This one can have 2 stars.

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