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Robinson Crusoe on Mars [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1964]

  • SKU: 8625927
  • Release Date: 09/18/2007
  • Rating: NR
While it wasn't a box-office success, Byron Haskin's 1964 sci-fi epic Robinson Crusoe On Mars has earned a cult following among genre fans over the years, thanks to its beautiful photography and production design as well as its understated wit and subtle intelligence, and in 1994 the Criterion Collection released the movie on laserdisc. Thirteen years later, Criterion has upgraded Robinson Crusoe On Mars to DVD, with some new bells and whistles added to flesh out the package. Robinson Crusoe On Mars has been given a new widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic play on 16x9 monitors. The transfer beautifully captures the richly saturated colors of Winton C. Hoch's camera work, as well as enough detail to reveal some minor flaws in the film's special effects. The disc retains the film's original monophonic sound mix in Dolby Digital Mono (which sounds splendid, especially the score by Van Cleave), while the dialogue is in English, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. The commentary track Criterion put together for the 1994 laserdisc edition has been resurrected for this DVD release; it features contributions from leading men Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin, the film's original production designer Al Nozaki, and Robert Skotak, a special effects man and fan of the film who explains how the movie's illusions were created. While Byron Haskin died in 1994, Criterion also allowed him to contribute to the commentary through excerpts from an American Film Institute interview conducted in 1979. Other bonus features include a new documentary, Destination: Mars, which compares the science seen in the film with what was known about Mars in 1964 and what is known today; the film's original theatrical trailer; a music video for the song "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" (written and performed by Victor Lundin), and a gallery of production photos and design sketches, including illustrations of creatures that don't appear in the finished film. Finally, eighty pages of excerpts from Ib Melchoir's original screenplay are included as a PDF file accessible on computers with DVD-ROM drives, and Robert Skotak contributes an entertaining essay to the disc's booklet. Fans of Sixties sci-fi will consider this an essential purchase, and anyone with an interest in this movie will be impressed with the commitment to quality Criterion has brought to this release.

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (6 out of 6)

    Special Features

    • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
    • Audio commentary featuring screenwriter Ib Melchior, actors Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin, production designer Al Nozaki, Oscar-winning special effects designer and Robinson Crusoe on Mars historian Robert Skotak, and excerpts from a 1979 audio interview with director Byron Haskin
    • Excerpts from Melchior's original screenplay
    • Destination: Mars, a new video featurette by Michael Lennick detailing the science and dreams behind Robinson Crusoe on Mars
    • New music video for Lundin's song "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"
    • Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos, production designs, and promotional material
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by filmmaker and space historian Michael Lennick, Melchior's "Brief Yargorian Dictionary" of original alien dialect, and a list of facts about Mars from his original screenplay


    Robinson Crusoe on Mars
    Spun from Daniel DeFoe's tale of the titular character, this sci-fi story involves a spaceship commander, Chris Draper (Paul Mantee) in a similar situation to the original Robinson Crusoe -- but rather than being stranded on an island, our hero is on a hostile planet. Draper, Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West), and a test monkey look as if they are going to collide with a meteor. Draper and the chimp are able to eject themselves from the vessel, but McReady is not so lucky. The two survivors safely land on Mars and figure out how to breathe, drink, and eat on the inhospitable planet. After some time, Draper crosses paths with a human, Friday, who has recently escaped slavery on an alien planet. As the two find a means of communication, they become friends. They soon work together to survive the incredible odds, including an alien attack and meteorological phenomena. Filmed on location in California's Death Valley, this impressive feature owes much to cinematographer Winton c. Hoch and special effects master Lawrence W. Butler. ~ Kristie Hassen, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Paul Mantee
      Paul Mantee - Cmdr. Christopher "Kit" Draper
    • Image coming soon
      Vic Lundin - Friday
    • Adam West
      Adam West - Col. Dan McReady

    Customer rating

    Rating 4.8 out of 5 stars with 6 reviews

    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Robinson Crusoe on Mars


      My father was a science fiction fan and he would take me to the theaters to see many new features of this type during the late fifties and the early sixties. Robinson Crusoe on Mars was one of the best science fiction movies I had ever seen at that time. there was only one earlier title that impressed me as much; and that was Forbidden Planet. The special effects were, also, very impressive for the time and the story line in this feature seemed very real, and very believable in many ways. In comparison to other movies of the period this one is still as impressive as it was when I was a boy. Most of the others of that period seem kind of corny, now that I'm a middle-aged man. I've been waiting for this movie to be released since the first VCR's came on the market. I can't describe how many letters and inquiries I've made, over many years, trying to find this movie. I believe that the reason this movie took so long to be released was because of shallow-minded critic's who drove people away from the box office because of their inaccurate and biased ratings. I have one thing to say to Criterion; and that is Thank you, very, very much for making my day and I would, also like to say shame on all those people who kept this "gem of a movie" from us for all of these years. I look forward to seeing the Criterion version as soon as it is released, and, perhaps comment further. Based on other Criterion movies in my collection, I am sure that they've done great job in restoring it to its original quality with a few bonuses to boot. This movie deserves to, finally, be displayed and available for purchase on store shelves along with all of the other new releases and not as some segregated special order item from some wherehouse or mail order business. A classic movie, such as this, should be respected for what it is and displayed for sale accordingly.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      It's about time it graduated from bootleg versions

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase

      If you like science fiction movies, and you want to see a realistic original pioneer of that genre, look to this movie for true inspiration! It was never officially released until recently, so it's great to see it as it appeared in movie theatres in the 1960's.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great Classic Sci Fi

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

      This is a fun movie to watch. It brings back memories of being a kid and loving it then also. This along with Forbidden Planet has to be two of my favorite sci fi movies of all time.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Welcome to Mars with a monkey


      I remember this movie from when I was a child. I loved it then and It's still great. The Restoration and the special Features were amazing

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Beautiful Color Scheme

      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      Very psychedelic scifi movie about a stranded astronaut. Trekies should love it!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great Classic movie

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      This is an old classic that is from the 60's. Good movie

      I would recommend this to a friend

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.