A 1956 Science Fiction Film
written, produced and directed by Cy Roth; rivals Lost Continent
and Star Trek: The Motion Picture
for sheer glaciality of pace
. Only the Mystery Science Theater 3000
treatment could make this snail watchable. On the other hand, it has lots of pretty ladies...
A team of American and British astronomers have made a startling discovery: the aptly named Thirteenth Moon Of Jupiter. Noting its Earth-like appearance, the group quickly arranges (after a lengthy drive through London's outskirts) and launches an expedition to explore this new world.
Said launch is about the only
thing that happens "quickly" in this thing.
The team — expedition leader Luther Blair, Captain Larson, and scientists Stanhope, Higgens and Anderson — have exciting adventures on their way to Jupiter, like dodging glowy popcorn puffs and shaving. Meanwhile, reporters and officers back on Earth sit around a radio speaker and listen for updates. Eventually, the expedition reaches the Thirteenth Moon where, unexpectedly, a voice on the radio provides landing instructions. Meanwhile, reporters and officers back on Earth sit around a radio speaker and listen for updates
The spaceship lands safely, and Team Jupiter change into their Air Force uniforms and have a stroll around the lush grassy fields of Jupiter's moon
for a while, until they stumble upon a Distressed Damsel
struggling with a skinny, bark-skinned man. They scare the beast off and the woman shows her gratitude by leading them to a hidden fortress. Blair and Larson go in after her, sending the others back to the ship under the presumption that rank hath its privileges. Meanwhile, reporters and officers back on Earth sit around a radio speaker and listen for updates.
The junior scientists return to the spaceship and report in, then sit around wondering what to do about their leaders. Meanwhile, reporters and officers... well, I think you get the idea
The girl, Hestia, introduces Blair and Larson to the man behind the voice: Prasus, ruler of "New Atlantis", a bevy of beautiful women and an old codger. The old guy lets flow with the backstory of how, when the continent of Atlantis
sank into the ocean centuries ago, the inhabitants came here to this moon to rebuild their society. But, you may notice, that all the inhabitants besides Prasus are women. And so Prasus "gives" his daughter Hestia to Luther Blair and serves the Earth men drugged wine while the Wild Women Of Jupiter dance the night away.
In other news, the junior scientists sit around wondering what to do about their leaders. Meanwhile...
Hestia begins to confide in Blair, telling him that he and the other men must stay in New Atlantis in order to kill "The Creature" (and, presumably, also so the ladies can procreate), and further notes that the walls of New Atlantis were erected specifically to keep out The Creature — so there's no way out. At the next meeting with Prasus, however, she switches Prasus' wine with Blair's drugged mug, and Prasus takes Blair's nap for him. Not that this little act of turncoat helps Blair escape at all; right back into his luxuriously appointed cell he goes.
After a long time, the junior scientists get as bored as the audience and decide to return to the fortress. Unable to find the front door, and unable to climb over the electrified wall, they instead tunnel under it. Hold that thought a moment...
Finally, Blair almost literally stumbles across a secret passageway out of his luxury suite and quickly meets back up with Larson, intent on taking Hestia and getting the heck out of Dodge. But something's going on downstairs: The Daughters Of Prasus have gathered in the
temple to prepare a ritual of atonement. You see, Hestia is not the eldest of the ladies and so should not have been married off first; she is to be sacrificed to the Sun God. (It should surprise exactly no one that the actual eldest daughter, Duessa, is the instigator here.) They manage to capture the junior scientists and Hestia, but discover Blair and Larson gone.
Meanwhile, The Creature has found its way into the compound using the scientists' tunnel. It gobbles up Prasus and then, attracted by the sound of underground dancing, arrives to disrupt the sacrifice. It (apparently) kills Duessa and is about to lay the smackdown on Hestia as well, but Blair and Larson arrive just in time, using grenades to knock the monster into the firepit.
And so all the plot threads are tied up neatly
. With Prasus dead, Hestia is now the New Ruler of New Atlantis. With The Creature dead, New Atlantis no longer needs an electrified wall to keep the world out. And with Team Jupiter returning home to tell everyone about this harem of Greek beauties, all the gals will soon get husbands. And Luther Blair is totally gonna get some. And everyone's happy. Well, except Duessa, because she's probably not gonna get any.
Whew! Quite a lengthy summary, for a film where not much happens.
For the Mystery Science Theater 3000
version, please go to the episode recap page
This film provides examples of:
- All Planets Are Earth-Like: Even if they're as far away from the sun as Jupiter. And Jupiter itself didn't become a sun until 2010.
- Atlantis: Well, New Atlantis, at any rate.
- Captain Obvious:
Prasus: Food and drink will provide the necessary sustenance!
- Distressed Damsel: Hestia, during the final sacrifice (seeing that she was the sacrifice).
- Dull Surprise: Duessa looks on as The Creature bears down on her.
- Expospeak Gag
Stanhope: Beautiful, gorgeous! A species of fauna that demands extensive research program.
Anderson: You mean different to all this [forest]?
Stanhope: My dear Anderson, 'fauna' — or in this case, 'fauni' — refers to the animals characteristic of the region.
Anderson: Who cares about animals?
Stanhope: Man (and woman) has sometimes been refered to as an animal.
Anderson: Oh, you mean people... [light bulb] GIRLS! Hey, why didn't you say so before!
- Homage: Duessa is actually named after a villainess in The Faerie Queene. Who knew there was so much culture in this movie?
- Hello, Nurse!: A secretary walks a long long catwalk (and we watch every minute of it) to come down and take a memo.
- Leitmotif: The Fire Maidens have Borodin's 'Polovtsian Dances'.
- Lost World: New Atlantis.
- Mr. Exposition:
Clarissa Prasus Explains It All.
- And what he doesn't tell us, Hestia does.
- Neutral Female: All the Atlantean girls.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Most prominently featuring Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from the opera Prince Igor. There's also a lot of ballet music.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Stirring, energetic music is often played during the exciting moments of the film. HINT: There are no exciting moments in this film.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: The Tempest in space, beating out Forbidden Planet by quite a few years.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: The Monster
- Science Marches On: This film predates the actual discovery of Jupiter's real 13th moon by a couple of decades. Dialog covers this by saying the moon is normally shrouded by "terrestrial fog". Of course, Jupiter has been found to have 67 moons.
- Schizo Tech: New Atlantis has all the trappings of ancient Greece, plus electricity.
- Space Is Noisy: Especially during the "dodging meteoroids" scene: "You know, I definitely hear a bowling alley."
- Stock Footage: Most of the footage of the spaceship is of a V2 rocket used for spaceships in many films.
- Subspace Ansible: Not mentioned in the film itself, but there's no other way to transmit real-time updates from Jupiter to Earth.
- Take Our Word for It:
- When the astronauts first exit their spaceship on Jupiter's moon, they use "remote control" (read: they all look upward at their ship) to close the hatch.
- Used again later when one character finds a hidden door out of his cell.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?/Non Cute: The Creature.