What’s the use of trying to save the world Lucy, if I’m going to be lost myself.

Known as “Space-Men” in Italy “Assignment: Outer Space” is an Italian science fiction movie done in 1960. Directed by Antonio Margheriti and staring Rik Van Nutter, Gabrielle Farinon, David Montresor, Archie Savage, and Alain Dijon

It is the year 2116. A reporter, Ray Peterson, from the Interplanetary Chronicle of New York is assigned to the space ship Bravo Zulu 88 to write a story about the “infra-radiation flux in Galaxy M12. They fly from Earth to an orbiting space station. Soon tensions arise due to, of course, a woman. The station commander George has the hots for Lucy, the station botanist and navigator, and so does Ray. Of course Lucy is attracted to both of them.

For some reason they are going to Mars. On the way they run into a Moonship that is in trouble. One man jumps from the ship to the surface of Mar’s moon Phobos. The space ship then crashes. They stop and pick up the man who jumped from the ship. Then instead of continuing on to Mars they are told to go to Venus. For some reason they have been ping ponging around the Solar System. Once on Venus they get new instructions.

Runaway spaceship Alpha Two enters the solar system. The ships photon generators are radiating enough heat to destroy the Earth. Attempts to stop the ship have failed twice resulting in the deaths of two crew members. Peterson uses space taxi B91 to board the runaway ship. His aim is to try to disarm the photon generators on the Alpha Two. Once on board he is instructed on how to disable the ships computers and shut down the ship’s power source. This results in disabling the emergency hatch thereby trapping Peterson on the Alpha Two.

The performances are flat. A lot of people thought it boring. I’m afraid I will have to agree. The music is sweeping and there is a bunch of stuff going on, but none of it makes much sense. And none of it is interesting. Although the rockets are pretty little plastic toys.

An interesting note. Having a black man (Archie Savage) in a position of prominence in 1960 is a nice aspect. One special note. I had heard that if you take a close look at the film you will find an anomaly. Just as the MS-13 Moonship is crashing into Phobos. The crash itself looks a little weird. Inserted is a clip of an explosion of a car blowing up. I ran my DVD in slow motion one frame at a time and yep. There is at least one frame of a car exploding. You can see the street the car is on and the fender of another car near by and even telephone poles in the background. It appears that whoever edited the film couldn’t find a stock clip of a space ship exploding so instead they inserted a clip of whatever they could find. Just that alone is worth the price of admission.

One other note, and this one is all in my head. The movie is told in flashback format from Peterson’s point of view so there is an announcer that explains what’s going on from time to time. You can tell that the voice of the announcer is not Van Nutter's. I know it can’t be true but I swear the voice sounds like William Shatner’s. There is no reason for it to be. It just sounds so much like him that I found it amusing.

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