I caught this one on Turner Classics on New Year's Day as part of their all day sci-fi programming of flicks from the 1950's. Unlike another offering, "The 27th Day", I had heard of "Red Planet Mars" before, but didn't know that it's subject matter tied America's fascination with Martian invasions together with the threat of Communism. The film has more than it's share of twists with a head scratcher or two among them, and what had me fascinated was the way it all seemed possible (within the context of the story) as the movie unfolded. However by the time it's all over, you've got to wonder why the outcome had to leave a couple of innocent kids orphans, and why above all that was made to look like a good thing.
Growing up in the 1950's recalls vivid memories of all the 'duck and cover' drills in parochial school, and the film rekindled those kinds of recollections of the 'red scare' days. Hearing the Soviet General state "We will build our world on the ruins of the West" brought to mind the image of Nikita Kruschev's 'We Will Bury You' rant at the United Nations a decade later. The movie even throws in a Nazi connection to the Soviets to further it's right wing paranoia theme. What comes off somewhat goofy is the Man of MarsMan of Nazareth counterpoint to the enemies of freedom threat. It's about at this point where I can see uncommitted viewers dropping out.
Yet if you're willing to go the distance, "Red Planet Mars" can be a fascinating look at a period in the country's history, even if bewildering at times. The movie even takes a stab at a clever ending, as the final scene offers it's hope for humanity with the words "The Beginning".
One other thought bears mentioning, and only because of my timing in catching the movie. Seeing it on New Year's Day, one was already inundated with TV images of Gerald Ford who passed away on December 26th. In a somewhat unlikely coincidence, the character of The President in the movie, portrayed by Willis Bouchey, seemed to bear an unusually uncanny resemblance to the 38th President.
Review by classicsoncall from the Internet Movie Database.