This science fiction film from 1964 played frequently on television when I was a kid in the early 1970s. Favorite movies from childhood tend to disappoint when seen through adult eyes, but I'm happy to report Robinson Crusoe on Mars (directed by Byron Haskin, the man who helmed Conquest of Space and The War of the Worlds) has aged very well. The title makes its DVD debut on Tuesday September 18, thanks to the prestigious Criterion Collection.
A two man expedition to Mars takes an unfortunate turn when a large meteor forces the crew to alter their course, bringing them within the planet's gravitational pull, and the two crewmen are forced to eject. Since Colonel Dan McReady (a pre-Batman Adam West) gets most of the screen time while aboard Mars Gravity Probe One, the audience is led to believe he will be the film's main character. McReady, however, dies when his escape vehicle crashes on the Martian surface, leaving Commander Christopher "Kit" Draper (Paul Mantee) marooned with only a monkey named Mona for companionship.