Friday, November 8, 2013
ZSA ZSA THE MAGNIFICIENT -- QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE
"How would you like to drag that one to the high school prom?" - Dialogue from Queen of Outer Space
Say what you will, Zsa Zsa Gabor was one hot space gal in the otherwise boffo B-Movie, QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE.
Believe it or not, the 1958 out of orbit clunker came with a bit of a pedigree: the screenplay was by writing genius, Charles Beaumont, from a 10-page science-fiction satire story idea by another genius of journalism, Ben Hecht. On the other hand, the film was visually a patchwork of recycled (or copied) props, sets, and stock footage from other films such as FORBIDDEN PLANET and WORLD WITHOUT END. The working title was Hecht's -- QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE, but was changed because the producers thought it would sound too much like a beauty pageant title and not enough like the quality science fiction film they envisioned.
The film is one of those cinematic curiosities that makes one wonder how it ever got produced. The basic premise is that of a planet of women, run by a Queen Bitch, with a capital "B" -- to go along with the grade of the movie, of course. This concept had become a little road-weary already, but when you could produce a conga-line of leggy chicks from one end of the screen to the other, what the hell!
Lobby card set and publicity stills:
The poster shown here is from a group of movie posters offered by Heritage Auctions.
Queen of Outer Space (Allied Artists, 1958). Silk Screen Poster (30" X 40").
Zsa Zsa Gabor is nothing less than stunning on the terrific large format poster. Eric Fleming stars as the captain of a manned mission to Venus. Once there, they discover the planet is inhabited by incredibly beautiful women. Unfortunately, the population is run by a man-hating queen (Laurie Mitchell) who fears Fleming and his crew are spies, leading to her want to destroy them and their home planet. Only with the help of a group led by Zsa Zsa are the astronauts able to escape and save Earth. Not to be missed by fans of 1950s science fiction, the poster shows some edge wear, smudging, stains in the left border, a tear in the left and upper borders, a National Screen and printer's union stamp in the lower border, and creases. Printed using a silk-screen process, the paints are more fragile than standard printing inks. Rolled, Fine+. Estimate: $800 - $1,200.
Here is a page from the famed Frankenstein TV Guide feature in CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN #24 that reviews (or rather, rips apart) the even then beleaguered film.
Bodacious, buxom, and beautiful, Joi Lansing had an uncredited role in the film as the "blonde girlfriend". As a result of her notoriety in QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE, she landed other roles in important films like HILLBILLYS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE and BIGFOOT. No joy there, I'm afraid.