Queen of Outer Space

American astronauts are drawn by a mysterious force to the planet Venus, which they find to be inhabited only by beautiful women and their despotic queen.

“Vimmen cannot be happy vizout man!”

Thus spake Zsa Zsa Gabor, the most unlikely sci-fi heroine of the fifties. And I guess she’d know. Swanning around the Venutian landscape trailing yards of tulle – she has apparently learned nothing from Isadora Duncan’s grisly demise – its up to Zsa Zsa to save the earth from obliteration from what appears to be a ready-to-assemble treehouse.

If logic were the order of the day here it would be patently obvious from this that we’re all a-goner. Happily, logic has nothing to do with it; the Venus La Gabor inhabits bears no resemblance to anything in our solar system.

Not for the first time in movie history – I’m thinking “Fire Maidens from Outer Space” here – Venus turns out to be the province of buxom, slightly past their prime showgirls, and there’s nary a man in sight. Why? Well, once upon a time the men folk started a nuclear war which caused many of the women, including the planet’s ruler, to suffer hideous facial scars. Suitably stung, the men were banished to a nearby satellite; meanwhile the queen wears a stupid mask and the women evidently pass their time doing their hair. In each coif there’s never a strand out of place, and somewhere on Venus somebody’s doing a roaring trade on fire-engine red lipstick.

Things get sticky when a whole lot of Earth astronauts land on Venus, bringing with them the sets and props for “Forbidden Planet”. (Even Anne Francis’ gowns get a second outing from the #2 Venus babe. No hand me downs for Zsa Zsa though!) The women are at first hostile, but the natural order is restored when Zsa Zsa takes the helm, and long before the fadeout all is goo eyes and closed mouth kissing. The men are asserting their superiority, the women are all “dames”, no doubt scuttling back to the kitchen, and those who showed even the smallest trace of backbone – ie the baddies – are all safely dead.

Its hard to say whether Zsa Zsa thought this was her big break or whether she knew how hilarious the whole thing is. At any rate she dominates the proceedings, which is no mean feat seeing as she has some of the silliest sets, dialogue and special effects to compete with. People who claim that Marilyn Monroe was never given a chance to extend her dramatic range might consider taking up Zsa Zsa’s cause as well. I can see her now in a 1956 remake of “Mildred Pierce” in bright, bright Technicolor.

For the time being, enjoy what’s on offer. “I hate zat qveen!” snaps our star.

Ah, but how the queens love you Zsa Zsa.