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The far future - in other words, 1975: A quartet of astronauts (Roger
Gentry, Vic McGee, Jerry Rannov, Eve Bernhardt) crashland on Mars - which
accidently makes them the first humans to ever to set foot on the planet.
And puts them into a predicament immediately, since their spacesuits only
hold a limited supply of oxygen, there might be a rescue shuttle on Mars
but they only have a vague idea where (if at all), and there might be all
kinds of threats - yes, including a volcano, right between them and their
Reaching what was supposed to be the rescue shuttle, our heroes
discover it's only a Martian probe from years ago ... but they also find a
gold brick road that leads them to a seemingly deserted Martian city -
that's actually filled with oxygen and cobwebs (?). The city's full of
columns, which upon closer inspection turn out to be cryo-chambers (or
something similar) of the Martians. Eventually, our astronauts manage to
communicate with the collective consciousness of the Martians (John
Carradine), which tells them the city they are in is a place frozen in
time, and the Martians will only allow them to leave if they can make time
work again - in other words, they have to re-attach an orb to a giant
pendulum to make it swing again, and then leave the place in a hurry as it
might evaporate. Of course they succeed and ultimately wake up in their
spaceship again, still orbiting Mars ...
The premise of Wizard
of Mars sounds really cool: 4 astronauts caught on an unworldly planet
with weird aliens, an alien consciousness played by John Carradine, all
rounded up by a plot reminiscent of The
Wizard of Oz - sounds like a surefire winner, right? Only it
isn't, it's actually a very boring film that totally lacks narrative
buildup, any scenes that involve any actual tension, it moves along at the
awfully slow, the characters are no more than (unfunny) caricatures, and
not all that well played at that, and while John Carradine at least puts
in a decent performance (as was to be expected), his one scene (a
monologue) seems to drag on forever without really moving the story along.