Writers: Aleksandr Kazantsev, Pavel Klushantsev
Stars: Vladimir Yemelyanov, Georgi Zhzhyonov, Gennadi Vernov
Working from a dullish source - a novel by the Soviet sci-fi eminence Aleksandr Kazantsev - director Klushantsev overpowers the party-line dialogue with excellent effects.
Upon arrival to Venus, cosmonauts find furious volcanoes and sundry prehistoric beasts (a cackling, swooping pterodactyl is most memorable).
One of the movers and shakers of the sci-fi genre, Soviet filmmaker Pavel Klushantsev is often referred to as the “Godfather of Star Wars”.
The director of the 1958 film “Road to the Stars” and 1962’s “Planet of Storms” prompted Stanley Kubrick to shoot “2001: Space Odyssey”, which subsequently inspired Georges Lucas to create his famous fantasy space opera.
Lucas believed the secret to film is that it is an illusion – a flight of fancy. As a special-effects pioneer, Klushantsev had the talent of turning illusions into powerful works of cinematic art, cutting through time and space with unparalleled creativity, authenticity and style.
Klushantsev created a number of breakthrough special effects – according to film buffs, around 300 techniques – and shooting methods, including the so-called “fluorescent shooting” which enabled him to film objects “hanging in the air” in a film studio, by using special paint and light, creating an optical illusion of virtual realities of outer space.
The revolutionary Soviet filmmaker managed to hide routine “auxiliary means” like wires, ropes and props, from viewers’ eyes, gaining sought-after authenticity. Even half a century later, the energy of his mind and power of imagination still speak for themselves. Veteran of arthouse film distribution in Russia Anton Mazurov described Klushantsev as “a visionary who has inspired and influenced many.” “His films served as learning and training aids to a number of filmmakers – Francis Ford Coppola among others – who reedited them. All Americans have drawn upon Klushantsev’s films for their future sci-fi epics.”
One of his most famous sci-fi adventures “Planet of Storms” revolved around three Soviet spaceships on their way to Venus. One of them is destroyed, but the other two successfully land on the planet. Before the cosmonauts reunite, they come to grips with scary monsters, a volcanic eruption, and alien life full of fears. The iconic Soviet film served as a “creative playground” for Peter Bogdanovich's 1968 “Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women” and Curtis Harrington's “Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet”.